Temple hoping Pierce can play against Army

Posted: September 28, 2010

Temple football coach Al Golden doesn't like to divulge much about injuries. Neither does he use them as a crutch.

He knows his team had a chance to finally beat Penn State (3-1) on Saturday, even though it had to play without tailback Bernard Pierce for the final quarter-and-a-half.

When Pierce went out with an injury to his right ankle, the Owls led 13-9. They would lose, 22-13.

"We had a lot of guys who went in with a belief," Golden said yesterday, on the weekly Mid-American Conference call. "But maybe we had some who didn't quite believe we could [really] win."

Still, the Owls (3-1) are off to their best start since 1987. That season, they didn't win another game. This team probably has a better chance of not losing again. This week the Owls are at Army, which is 3-1 for the first time in 14 years, which is also the last time it finished with a winning record. The Cadets have beaten North Texas at home and Eastern Michigan and Duke on the road. Their loss was to visiting Hawaii on Sept. 11, by three.

Pierce's status is yet to be determined.

"When it happened, they [put a cast on it]," Golden said. "And they'll leave it like that until they're finished with all the tests. They're doing more MRIs and X-rays, all that stuff [yesterday]. Then we'll know better. We remain hopeful that he'll be ready. It looks like Bernard will be a game-time deal."

The Owls have won without him before. But he does make a difference when he's out there.

Golden's biggest concern this week might be making sure his guys don't have any emotional letdown. Temple has beaten Army the last 2 years, by 28 and 14.

"It's one of the toughest teams we'll play," Golden said. "I think the good news is, the kids understand what kind of preparation it takes to get ready for Army. It's a blessing here. We can't [feel sorry for ourselves]. We have to get up and get dusted off. If you're not prepared mentally to play Army, they can really take you apart. Obviously, there's some things we have to improve."

Like only being able to move the chains once, out of 11 third downs.

"Nothing's more important than the quarterback [Chester Stewart, who was intercepted twice]," Golden said. "But a lot of things go into it. We have to run better routes, and protect better . . . Two elements didn't work [on one of those picks]. He was hit while he was throwing. He had a wide-open receiver. It didn't happen, unfortunately.

"I think the game plan was right on. We wanted to be in third-and-manageable. We did that a lot. You have to stay out of those [bad] situations in an environment like that. But you can't convert one and think you're going to win."

Even at Michie Stadium, where the capacity is some 67,000 less than Beaver Stadium.

Owls' Jarrett honored

Temple senior defensive back Jaiquawn Jarrett was named Mid-American Conference Defensive Player of the Week honor for the East Division. Jarrett led all defenders with 11 tackles in the 22-13 loss at Penn State. *

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