Unheralded QB Coyer comes up big for Owls
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - Chris Coyer was the forgotten one. Perhaps it was because the Temple quarterback suffered a game-ending injury to his throwing shoulder (left) in the regular-season finale. Maybe it was because Wyoming was focused on trying to stop tailbacks Bernard Pierce and Matt Brown.
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - Chris Coyer was the forgotten one.
Perhaps it was because the Temple quarterback suffered a game-ending injury to his throwing shoulder (left) in the regular-season finale. Maybe it was because Wyoming was focused on trying to stop tailbacks Bernard Pierce and Matt Brown.
Whatever the reason, the Cowboys didn't appear to have a suitable game plan for Coyer. And it hurt them in Saturday's New Mexico Bowl at University Stadium.
"That quarterback made some great decisions," Wyoming linebacker Brian Hendricks said after the Owls' 37-15 victory. "He was a great athlete today. He made the plays necessary to win."
That's why Coyer was voted the game's most outstanding offensive performer.
He took over after Pierce ran for two early touchdowns.
Showing no signs of the shoulder injury, the redshirt sophomore completed 8 of 12 passes for 169 yards and a touchdown. He also carried the ball 12 times for 71 yards.
"Well, obviously, he did a great job in directing our offense, throwing the ball, running the ball," Temple coach Steve Addazio said. "It gives us such an element that becomes much more difficult to defend.
"Option football is our game, and Chris handles that well."
A chunk of Coyer's passing yards came on two plays.
With the Cowboys loading the box, the 6-foot-3, 225-pounder zipped a 40-yarder to tight end Evan Rodriguez to the Wyoming 11-yard line. Three plays later, Pierce scored the game's first touchdown from 1 yard out.
"That was kind of a scheme pass for us," Coyer said. "We had been kind of scheming it throughout this period leading up to the game. And we thought that play in particular would be able to work early on them, and thankfully it did."
His long completion late in the second quarter basically took away any hope the Cowboys had.
Wyoming closed the gap to 21-7 on quarterback Brett Smith's 21-yard touchdown pass to Josh Doctson on a fourth-and-third play 37 seconds before intermission.
Following the play, Addazio planned to run out the clock for the rest of the half. But after Joe Jones returned the ensuing kickoff to Temple's 39-yard line, he decided to take a shot at the end zone.
It turned out to be a great decision.
On the first play from scrimmage, Coyer and wideout Rod Streater connected on a 61-yard touchdown was the equivalent of landing a knockout punch.
"They made those kind of plays," Hendricks said. "Really impressive. That quarterback made a lot of plays."