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Despite loss, Temple plays 'amazing' game

Friday, December 29, 2006 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 11:00 a.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 22, 2008

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Missouri tailback Tony Temple breaks off several Oregon State tackles to reach the endzone for a touchdown. Temple ended the game with 194 total rushing yards. (LYLE WHITWORTH/Missourian )

EL PASO, Texas - Tony Temple said he thinks any running back could have played the game that he did on Saturday in Missouri’s loss to Oregon State in the Sun Bowl.

Missouri’s junior running back might be wrong. Temple ran for a career-high 194 rushing yards on 20 carries, which is the second most by a running back in the 73-year history of the Sun Bowl. Temple passed the previous bowl record of 197 by Louisiana State’s Charles Alexander in 1997 on an 8-yard run in the fourth quarter, but on his next rush Temple lost four yards and the record. He was named the most valuable player of the game by CBS, which broadcast the game, before Oregon State came from behind to win the game and the announcers switched their pick to Beaver’s quarterback Matt Moore.

“I’m just doing what I’m supposed to do,” Temple said. “I’m not worried about the awards and the accolades. The main thing that is important to me is that my team gets the win. I tried my best, our team tried our best to get this W and it just didn’t work out today.”

Temple scored two of the Tigers’ five touchdowns that included a 20-yard rush where quarterback Chase Daniel made a key block and a 65-yard rush where he waited for his offensive lineman to create a hole before he exploded and outran Oregon State’s defense.

“He’s the catalyst of the team,” Daniel, who called Temple’s game “amazing” said. “Once he gets going the whole offense works.”

Temple finished the season with 1,063 yards on 193 carries.

GOING PRO?: Martin Rucker, Missouri’s star junior tight end, might be playing in the NFL in the of the NCAA next year. “I’m sending in my letter,” Rucker said, meaning he is declaring himself for the NFL Draft on May 18 through 20 in New York.

“If I’m projected to go second round or higher, I’m leaving,” Rucker said. “If not, I’m coming back.” Rucker said earlier this week that he was weighing his options for the draft, but did not specify under what circumstances he would leave.

TRICK PLAYS: The Tigers used some unusual formations against Oregon State. Jared Perry, a freshman wide receiver, rushed off two direct snaps early in the game and Missouri used Chase Coffman and Tommy Saunders as quarterbacks.

“We just tried to attack,” coach Gary Pinkel said. “We wanted to do some different formations and things you have time to when you have a bowl game.”

The most successful of the trick plays was Chase Coffman’s 29-yard touchdown pass to Tommy Saunders on a first down and 10 with 11:14 left in the third quarter. Daniel threw a quick screen pass to Coffman, who then threw the ball to Saunders. The play was Coffman’s first collegiate pass and Saunders’ longest reception.

“It was a real fun play and he made a great play,” Coffman said. Rucker said using the trick plays make Missouri extra hard to stop. “We are very dangerous because we have so many weapons,” Rucker said. “It’s hard to us whenever we are not pulling out the tricks. Then once you add those in there we are almost unstoppable.”

The Tigers also attempted an on-side kick to start the second half, but officials ruled kicker Adam Crossett illegally touched the ball before it traveled the required 10 yards.

TIGER AWARDS: Though Missouri lost the Sun Bowl, kicker Jeff Wolfert and defensive end Xzavie Jackson still left the game with trophies.

Wolfert won the John H. Folmer most valuable special teams player award, while Jackson won the Jimmy Rogers Jr. most valuable lineman award.

“We didn’t get the W so it really don’t matter,” Jackson said.

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