TEMPLE: Game Breakdown

The good, the bad and the ugly from Penn State's workmanlike victory over the Owls at Beaver Stadium Saturday.

Temple arrived at Beaver Stadium Saturday looking to knock off in-state rival Penn State for the first time since 1941. With the Nittany Lions feeling the sting of NCAA sanctions and the Owls stepping up in class to re-join the Big East, it seemed like the long run of futility just might end.

After all, in the last two games in the series, the Nittany Lions had to scramble to win.

But any thoughts of Temple staking a claim as the best college football team in Pennsylvania were dispatched in machinelike fashion by Bill O'Brien's squad. The Lions (2-2) used an effective passing game and grind-it-out running attack to beat the Owl defense into submission. The PSU defense clamped down when it had to, holding Temple (1-2) to two field goals and a meaningless end-of-the game touchdown.

The final was 24-13 and it didn't really seem that close.

Here is our take on the game.

MEN OF THE HOUR: With pure TBs Bill Belton (ankle), Derek Day (shoulder) and Curtis Dukes (thigh) all nursing injuries, power backs Michael Zordich and Zach Zwinak took over. They combined for 33 carries for 171 yards, and both averaged five yards per carry or better.

They also caught five passes for 51 yards. It brought memories of Manoa and Smith, and Milne and Witman.

CLOSE SECOND: WR Allen Robinson had another big game, with five catches for 82 yards and the game's first score.

CLOSE THIRD: LB Michael Mauti is playing like an All-American. He had nine more tackles and forced a fumble Saturday.

TURNING POINT: Penn State blew several scoring chances in the first half, and as such led only 7-3 as the clock clicked down toward intermission. Given a short field with 1:10 left, QB Matt McGloin hit back-to-back passes to TE Kyle Carter and then scored on a 1-yard run to give the Lions a 14-3 lead going into the break.

SOLID STRATEGY: Penn State ran the ball 42 times. And it did so in punishing style. You could see the toll it took on the Owl defense as the game progressed.

NUMBERS GAME: As well as PSU ran the ball, gaining 184 yards and its first two rushing TDs of the season, the Lions actually passed for 318 yards.

BUSINESS AS USUAL: McGloin had another strong game, hitting on 24 of 36 passes for 318 yards and a score. His one interception (only his second of the season) should have been caught by WR Brandon Moseby-Felder.

BUSINESS AS USUAL II: DT Jordan Hill had seven tackles and a sack. And he forced a fumble. In four games, Hill has one interception, one fumble recovery and one forced fumble.

SPECIAL DELIVERY: Walk-on Jesse Della Valle had three punt returns for 45 yards, including a nice 29-yarder.


• Those officials. The Big Ten crew had what can only be considered a very bad day.

• The Penn State student section using a profanity-laced chant against Temple before the game. Way to put a positive face on the university on a day when a “Blue Out” was supposed to be honoring the victims of child sex abuse.

• P Alex Butterworth. Right when K Sam Ficken seemed to be getting his act together, Butterworth had a tough game. He averaged 30.4 yards on five attempts, including a … gulp … 15-yarder in the fourth quarter.

HIT SQUAD: Backup LB Mike Hull made a great play on Temple QB Chris Coyer in the second quarter. As Coyer rolled left, Hull went with him. The LB squared up the QB and dumped him for an eight-yard sack.

HIDDEN HEROES: DE C.J. Olanyian started in place of the injured Sean Stanley (back) and had four tackles and a batted pass.

LOST IN THE SHUFFLE: The PSU offensive line did not allow a sack.


• What PSU was doing on third down. On many such plays, S Malcolm Willis and MLB Glenn Carson would leave the field. CB Adrian Amos moved over to S. Da'Quan Davis came in at corner. And Hull took over at MLB.

• Ty Howle replaced Miles Dieffenbach at left guard and Eric Shrive replaced Adam Gress at right tackle on Penn State's second offensive series. Howle and Shrive rotated in and out throughout the game. Nice way to build depth up front.

• Howle, back from a chest injury, took over as LS on placements.

• Several key players did not dress due to injury. They included: DE Pete Massaro (knee/shoulder), LB Nyeem Watman (knee) and Stanley.

• Three previously injured players (Belton, Day and OT Donovan Smith) dressed but did not play. Belton fielded punts and caught passes in pregame but did not take any handoffs. Smith worked with the third team O-line in pregame.

• Dukes saw action on special teams but did not get any carries.

• A rainbow popped up above the East stands in the fourth quarter.

UNANSWERED QUESTION: How badly do the Nittany Lions want to face Illinois in Champaign next week after the Illini staff's post-sanction actions in the summer?


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