With 12:47 remaining in the fourth quarter and Penn State leading 15-13, the Nittany Lions were pinned inside their own 5-yard line after a 57-yard punt by Temple's Jeff Wanthe. Although they had performed well all day, the Penn State offense had not scored a touchdown. They understood that had to change.
We knew what we had to do, wide receiver Graham Zug said. We knew we had to run the clock down, go a long way, and put points on the board -- that's what we did.
The first crucial play of the drive came on a third-and-6 from the Penn State 8-yard line, when quarterback Rob Bolden hit Zug for a 19-yard reception down the PSU sideline.
Three plays later, Penn State was faced with another third down, this time from its own 41-yard line. Again, offensive coordinator Jay Paterno called his freshman quarterback's number.
We wanted to find out if we had a quarterback, Paterno said. It worked out well.
Bolden dropped back to pass and found Justin Brown for a 27-yard completion, but not before he was walloped by the oncoming pass rush. The young quarterback's poise under pressure impressed everyone around him.
With a guy bearing down his neck he made a big-time throw, Paterno said. That's when you know you have a quarterback.
He showed a lot of poise for a freshman quarterback, wide receiver Derek Moye said. Zug added, He was calm, focused and composed. I wasn't surprised that the coaching staff trusted him on third down in our territory.
From there the ground game took over.
Running back Evan Royster capped off his 187-yard performance by breaking off a 17-yard run that brought the ball to the Temple 15-yard line.
Penn State's offense had stalled in Temple territory all day. In seven trips inside the Owls 30-yard line, the Nittany Lions had no touchdowns, emerging from their previous trips with only five field goals.
They were not to be denied again.
Fullback Michael Zordich ran over a tired and defeated Temple defense, capping the 12-play, 96-yard drive with a one-yard run into the end zone.
In just 5:59, the Penn State offense had redeemed itself for its earlier struggles.
The fact we had a go that far and converting on third downs and Bolden making throws when it mattered most, it's something we really need to continue, Royster said.
Bolden's third-down conversions impressed Royster the most.
It's hard to say he's really been tested like that and its big ups to him for being able to take a team down the field like that as a freshman, Royster said. They gave him a couple shots down field and he capitalized.
Head coach Joe Paterno agreed with his star running back's assessment.
I said to (Bolden before the game),'Just forget you're only 12-years old,' Paterno said laughing. Something like this was good for him. It was good for him to have a clutch drive.