UCLA vs. TEMPLE
What: EagleBank Bowl
When: Today, 4:30 p.m.
Where: RFK Stadium, Washington
Radio: WPHT (1210-AM)
Records: UCLA 6-6, Temple 9-3
History: This is the first meeting
UCLA update: The Bruins, under second-year coach Rick Neuheisel, are playing in first bowl since a 17-16 loss to BYU in the 2007 Las Vegas Bowl . . . They opened with three wins, then had another three-game winning streak broken by Southern Cal (28-7) in regular-season finale . . . They had two road wins, at Tennessee and Washington State. They also lost to Stanford, Cal, Oregon, Arizona and Oregon State, all of which were in the Top 25 at some point . . . Defense has been strong, particularly against the run. The offense has has its issues . . . Kicker Kai Forbath has made 26 of 29 field goals. Each miss was from 50 yards or beyond.
Temple update: The Owls won nine straight before an 18-point loss at Ohio for the MAC East championship . . . Running back Bernard Pierce, who missed the last two games, is ready. He has rushed for over 1,300 yards. His backup, 5-5 Matt Brown, did just about as well when he had to replace him . . . The Owls haven't been to a bowl since 1979. Before that, you had to go back to 1935 . . . They've played in RFK once before, a 38-16 loss to "visiting" Virginia Tech on Nov. 11, 1995 . . . James Nixon and Delano Green have been very productive in the return game . . . The Owls beat one team that finished with a winning record. And Navy was playing without its record-setting starting quarterback.
Three things UCLA must do
1. Play as if it really want to be here, which isn't always the case in these spots. Especially for teams traveling long distances and going from warm to cold. A little motivation never hurts.
2. Take Temple out of its running game and force Owls to throw the ball, which hasn't necessarily been a strength.
3. Generate some offense, which will keep Temple's offense on the sidline. If possible, try to do whatever it was that Ohio did so successfully.
Three things Temple must do
1. Don't play tentatively. Act as if it has been bowling recently. It can make a difference.
2. Get Pierce and Brown going early. The Owls offensive line was the team's MVP for a reason. It can wear the other guys down.
3. Play from ahead. The Owls are not at their best when they're playing catch-up. But if they can dictate the terms of engagement, that field will start looking downhill.