Ayers' Interception Rescues UCLA From Upset
by CFP Staff
December 29, 2009
Akeem Ayers intercepted a pass at the Temple 2-yard line and returned it for the go-ahead score with 6:01 left to propel UCLA to a 30-21 comeback win in the EagleBank Bowl.
Ayers' interception, and subsequent 2-point conversion, gave UCLA its first lead of the game at 28-21. Temple's next possession ended with a safety when the snap sailed out of the endzone.
Temple started off hot, staking out a 21-7 lead in the 2nd quarter. But the Owls lost all offensive momentum after Bernard Pierce, the nation's No. 9 running back in yards per game, left with an apparent shoulder injury in the 3nd quarter and never returned.
Statistically, the Owls finished with more first downs (17-13) and more rushing yards (124-92). Pierce had 53 yards and a touchdown in the first half.
Lou Groza Award-winner Kai Forbath kicked field goals of 42 and 40 yards and Kevin Prince threw 2 TD passes.
The victory averted a losing season for UCLA (7-6).
Temple finished 9-4 to end a string of 18 consecutive losing seasons. The Owls were appearing in just their third bowl game in history and first since the 1979 Garden State Bowl. Temple's only other bowl appearance followed the 1934 regular season in the inaugural Sugar Bowl.