Temple’s first bowl game in 30 years was ruined by the Bruins.
Akeem Ayers returned an interception 2 yards for a go-ahead touchdown in the fourth quarter and UCLA shut down Temple in the second half for a 30-21 victory Tuesday in the EagleBank Bowl at Washington, D.C.
The Bruins (7-6) rallied from a 21-7 first-half deficit to finish with a winning record for the first time since 2006. That mini-slump by UCLA pales in comparison to the decades of futility endured by the Owls (9-4), whose only previous bowl appearances in school history were the inaugural Sugar Bowl in 1935 and the Garden State Bowl in 1979.
UCLA braved the freezing temperatures and a wind chill in the teens to overcome a sluggish start. Kevin Prince completed 16 of 31 passes for 221 yards with two touchdowns and one interception.
The Bruins had pulled within 21-20 before Ayers stepped in front of Vaughn Charlton’s screen pass and strolled into the end zone with 6:01 to play.
The Bruins got a two-point conversion, then added two more when Temple snapped the ball over its punter’s head and out of the end zone for a safety with 4:29 remaining.
Temple sputtered in the second half minus star running back, Bernard Pierce. The freshman, who ran for more than 1,300 yards and scored 15 TDs despite missing most of the last two games with an injured shoulder, was hurt again.
Champs Sports Bowl
(24) Wisconsin 20, (14) Miami 14: All that Miami speed was no match for the big, bad Badgers.
John Clay had 121 yards rushing and two touchdowns, powering the Badgers (10-3) past the Hurricanes (9-4) at Orlando, Fla.
Scott Tolzien threw for 260 yards, and Montee Ball added 61 yards rushing for a Wisconsin team touted as too big and too slow.
Jacory Harris struggled before throwing a touchdown pass to Thearon Collier with 1:22 remaining for the Hurricanes, who then recovered the onside kick. But Harris threw incomplete on fourth down to end Miami’s hopes.