MUNCIE -- Coming off last weekend’s lackluster performance, Temple sure looked like a Mid-American Conference contender Saturday.
Thanks to Bernard Pierce’s record-setting performance and championship-caliber defense, the Owls defeated Ball State, 42-0, here at Schuemann Stadium to get their swagger back.
The dominant conference-game showing was a way for Temple (4-2, 2-1 MAC) to erase last week’s 23-point setback to Toledo. The Owls also ruined homecoming festivities for the Cardinals (3-3, 1-1). There were less than 100 people in Ball State’s student section late in the third quarter.
Pierce should remember this game for a long time. And it’s not just because he and Temple backup Matt Brown both rushed over 100 yards.
The 6-foot, 218-pound junior tailback had 30 carries for 121 yards and three touchdowns to become Temple’s career rushing touchdown leader with 41. Paul Palmer held the previous school record (39) since 1986.
Pierce scored on runs of 2, 4 and 1 yards on consecutive first-half drives.
The record-setter came on his 4-yarder with 8 minutes, 5 seconds left in the second quarter to give Temple a 21-0 cushion.
Pierce’s 15 touchdowns are one shy of the school single-season record (16) he set two seasons ago. His 42 overall career touchdowns are one shy of Palmer’s school record (43).
Brown had 114 yards and a score on 15 carries.
Defensively, Owls sacked Ball State quarterback Keith Wenning twice. The sophomore was only sacked a total of four times in the Cardinals’ first five games. Temple also intercepted two passes and recovered a fumble.
The Owls also recorded their first shutout since beating Akron, 30-0, on Oct. 30, 2010.