But the final -- 22-13, which became that wide only after the Nittany Lions used a massive fourth-quarter drive to score their only touchdown of the day -- was closer than most expected.
The good news was that PSU finally got its rushing game out of neutral and star tailback Evan Royster back on track, rookie QB Rob Bolden posted strong numbers and avoided big turnovers, the defense stiffened after some poor play early, and place-kicker Collin Wagner was good on 5 of 6 attempts.
The bad news was that the Lions struggled to dispatch an opponent with virtually no passing game, the defense looked lost at times and there were a host of red-zone errors that prevented the team from piling up the points.
Here is the lowdown on what went down:
MAN OF THE HOUR: Royster pounded out 187 yards on 26 carries, which tied a career high. He was obviously part of the reason the Temple defense finally broke toward the end of the game.
CLOSE SECOND: Wagner tied a PSU record with five field goals, which was the extent of the Nittany Lions' scoring until late in the fourth quarter. He missed a sixth attempt -- from 32 yards -- in the fourth quarter.
CLOSE THIRD: Though he did not start, linebacker Nate Stupar tied for the team lead with seven tackles. He also had an interception (which he returned 31 yards) and a sack.
TURNING POINT: Up 15-13, PSU was pinned at its own 4-yard line when Justin Brown unwisely fielded Jeff Wathne's 57-yard punt. Bolden had two monster third-down conversion passes -- one to Graham Zug from the PSU 8 and the other to Brown from the PSU 41 -- to spark the drive that led to State's first (and only) touchdown.
SOLID STRATEGY: Penn State feeding the ball to Royster to finally shake the cobwebs out of the running game. The Lions will have to be able to run the ball if they hope to be successful in the Big Ten.
NUMBERS GAME: State was 4 of 5 on red-zone chances. But only one of the conversions was a touchdown.
BUSINESS AS USUAL: The loss was Temple's 28th straight to Penn State.
SPECIAL DELIVERY: We already mentioned Wagner. So here we'll go with kickoff man Anthony Fera, who averaged 69 yards on seven attempts and had three more touchbacks.
BAD LUCK: Starting right tackle Lou Eliades left the game in the second half with what was believed to be a torn ACL. If tests show that to be the case, the fifth-year senior's college career is over.
WHAT'S UP WITH?
The red zone becoming the dead zone for the PSU offense.
The sloppy play of the Nittany Lion defense through the first quarter and a half. Poor tackling was not the issue. Being caught out of position was, especially with the linebackers.
Temple's awful passing game. Chester Stewart completed 8 of 19 passes for 46 yards and three interceptions. PSU had more yards in interception returns (50 on three picks).
HIT SQUAD: In the third quarter, Lion defensive end Pete Massaro nailed Owl running back Matt Brown behind the line. Brown went flying backward, and Mike Mauti pounced on him at the Temple 20-yard line to force a punt.
HIDDEN HERO: Brett Brackett had five catches for 62 yards and helped keep several drives alive in the first half.
LOST IN THE SHUFFLE: Sophomore Jordan Hill is looking an awful lot like Penn State's best defensive tackle. He was only credited with two tackles. But he sure seemed to be a disruptive force off the bench.
DID YOU NOTICE?
Eliades was replaced by senior Chima Okoli, who played defensive tackle up until the spring.
Redshirt freshman wideout Shawney Kersey was not with the team. He is reportedly contemplating a transfer, but a source said nothing was final as of Saturday afternoon.
Injured slot receiver Curtis Drake (broken leg) was on the field in shorts and his jersey before the game. He jogged a bit and was throwing the football around.
UNANSWERED QUESTION: Are the Nittany Lions ready for Big Ten play, which starts this week at Iowa?