Temple running back Matt Brown gave teammate Bernard Pierce the business after Pierce finished the scoring in Saturday’s 42-14 win over visiting Army with a 49-yard touchdown run.
That touchdown came with 5:11 left and both Brown and Pierce received the rest of the afternoon off.
Not that Brown enjoyed the time off.
Pierce ended with 157 yards rushing and three touchdowns on 21 carries. Brown made the most his eight carries, rushing for 133 yards and two touchdowns.
After Pierce’s final touchdown, Brown feigned anger.
“We go back and forth and I thought I was going to have more yards today and then he broke that big run and I was like, ‘coach put me back in,’ ” Brown said, clearly laughing at the thought. “But it is good competition and it brings the best out of both of us.”
Last week when Pierce missed Temple’s 24-21 win over Miami of Ohio with head and hamstring injuries, Brown stepped in and rushed for 123 yards and a touchdown on 24 carries.
And it’s a sure bet that Brown let Pierce know about his effort. And Pierce likely responded that his friend shouldn’t get used to having more yards.
“It’s really motivating,” Pierce said. “Everybody says we complement each other.”
Just as Brown stated, Pierce said the two talented running backs bring out the best in each other.
“We go back and forth,” Pierce said.
Both players are potential game-breakers. While Pierce scored on a 49-ayrd run, Brown had a 52-yard score.
Against Army, Brown was in the starting lineup and scored the game’s first touchdown on a 22-yard run. Pierce came in the second series and scored on an 11-yard run.
They are different runners with similar results. Pierce is 6-0 and 218-pounds, able to run over or around a defender. Brown is 5-5 and 170-pounds, and a blur in the open field.
What they share in common is a high level of competitiveness.
Both will do anything to get to the end zone because they both have such a high will to win.
“Me and Matt are always going back and forth,” Pierce said.
And also up and down – as in up and down the field, through defenses.
Pierce has now rushed for 1,220 yards (5.2 average) and 22 touchdowns.
Brown has rushed for 835 yards (6.4 average) and five touchdowns.
It’s a potent combination, and as one running back reaches a high level, the other aspires to go even higher.