The Nittany Lions once again had a defense that showed up and kept them in the game, but the offense sputtered along, relying on the two-QB strategy once again. Only when the game was in the closing moments did the offense show some signs of life.
Given how Penn State played against Temple, it seems only fitting to start with the lows of this one.
The Low Five
Flat Tired: Fans are no doubt weary of the flat style of play Penn State consistently comes out with on the noon kickoffs. The problem is that on the whole the Lions never really shook out of it on offense. Although they mounted drives with Rob Bolden and Matt McGloin, neither showed enough consistency to aid the offense, although each managed to lead the team to touchdowns. But the longer this battle goes on the worse it gets for the team.
In the Gut: Having the tying field goal bounce off the upright was a fitting summary of this team. Penn State is now one of six on field goals this season. Enough said.
Mental Lapses: Penn State shot themselves in the foot time and again, negating some big plays and giving Temple a boost. They ended the day with seven penalties for 73 yards. What is most disturbing is that you have guys like Chaz Powell who are supposed to provide leadership and are getting personal foul penalties due to a lack of control.
Clock Work: With under a minute left before the half with three timeouts, with Temple giving the ball back to PSU, the coaching staff opted to take them in to the locker room. Another head-scratching sign that the coaches aren't sure what their strategy is when it comes to simple game management.
Tackle Box: The defense deserves a lot of credit in this one - more on that later. However, between the arm tackling and bumper tackling techniques seen across the defense at times it is amazing they were able to dig in an hold up this Temple offense. I suspect the guys will see extra tackling drills this week in practice.
Grounded: It's baffling how Temple's QB was able to ground the ball on three separate occasions with nary a call. Toss in some missed calls on taunts, a questionable spot for PSU on the Redd fourth-down carry and that final last measurement that was only about two yards off from being close and this ref crew had a rough outing.
Unanswered Calls: The play-calling throughout this game had it's "what are they thinking?" moments. The run game in particularly lacked imagination with an "up the gut" approach all day.
Not So Special: Special Teams have not lived up to their name with the kicking woes and return game issues. This was a big factor in PSU having a rough time in this one.
Heartbreak: I may be a sap, but this is the closest Temple has come to beating Penn State in quite a long time and yet they still fell shot, moving Paterno to 28-0 all-time against the Owls. So, I feel a little bad for them in this one, but I'll get over it.
The High Five
All Guts: On fourth and two with the game on the line with just over four minutes left, Penn State took some BIG risks and put the game on Bolden's shoulders. They managed to get a big first down to Moye and then with fourth and one inside the five yard line they managed to punch the first down with Brandon Beachum en route to the winning Michael Zordich touchdown.
All Heart: After all the talk of a lack of turnovers, the defense dug in and handed the offense three (two interceptions and a fumble) in the fourth quarters, two of which the offense squandered. But the defense refused to quit and really deserve the credit for this victory.
Inside Job: Devon Still and Jordan Hill played a huge roll in containing the run attack of Bernard Pierce. All week they heard about the devastating attack Pierce would bring as the nation's sixth best runner, but the defense corked him up with 17 carries and 44 yards (2.6 YPC).
Redd Rider: With all the Pierce hype, it was Silas Redd who led all rushers with 16 carries of 86 yards and a touchdown. He averaged 5.8 YPC, but more importantly fought hard inside where the coaches insisted on running him most of the day.
Loud and Proud: The Blue Band sounded fantastic for this game and and really got the Penn State fans riled up for a much needed boost for the players. So tip of the hat to the Blue Band in this one.