Penn State-Temple Game Breakdown

The good (not much), the bad (quite a bit) and the ugly (even more) from Penn State's lackluster loss to the Owls.

 PHILADELPHIA — Judging by the singing, hooting and hollering coming from the Temple locker room here Saturday night, you would have thought the Owls had won some sort of championship.

Instead, it was a 27-10 victory over a team that hasn’t been ranked since 2011. So the temptation was to suggest the Temple players and coaches act like they’d been there before.

Then the realization set in: they hadn’t.

The Owls had not beaten Penn State since … drum roll, please … 1941. So when Matt Rhule’s team beat his alma mater, the celebration that followed really was understandable.

“After the game, I said it’s not about Penn State, it’s about us,” Rhule said.

Yeah, right. It was all about beating the Nittany Lions.

On Penn State’s side of things, well, it was all about falling apart. The Lions led 10-0 early before a key injury hit and — completely unrelated — the offensive line reverted to the lousy form it showed in 2014.

Here is our take on things.

MAN OF THE HOUR: Philly area native Carl Nassib showed up for the Lions. The DE had a career-high 10 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss and a sack.

CLOSE SECOND: KR Koa Farmer probably got more work that he expected. But he ran hard. He brought five back for 135 yards and plowed over one would-be tackler.

CLOSE THIRD: True freshman WR Brandon Polk showed his speed by rushing for 50 yards on a pair of jet sweeps.

TURNING POINT: The Lions led 10-0 when starting MLB Nyeem Wartman-White went down with a season-ending knee injury in the second quarter. The defense was not the same with backup Gary Wooten in there. As bad as the offense was, that was pretty much it.

SOLID STRATEGY: Rhule blitzed PSU QB Christian Hackenberg often, and the junior was sacked an incredible 10 times. The Lion coaching staff has to be called on the carpet for failing to adjust, especially offensive coordinator John Donovan and O-line coach Herb Hand.

NUMBERS GAME: Temple held a 36:15-23:45 advantage in time of possession.

BUSINESS AS USUAL: Hard to believe, but the supposedly improved PSU O-line looked even worse than last year’s version.

SPECIAL DELIVERY: Farmer seemed like a natural back there on kickoffs, even though he has spent part of his time at PSU playing LB.


• From the hindsight is 20/20 department, why was Wartman-White — arguably THE most important player on the defense because he called the plays and made-pre snap adjustments — one of only two position starters on the punt coverage team. He was blocking on that unit when his knee gave way.

• TB Akeel Lynch getting only 10 carries. He averaged 7.8 yard per attempt. Granted, one was a 42-yard score.

• WR DaeSean Hamilton barely being targeted. He had one catch for five yards.

• WR Geno Lewis dropping a pair of balls early.

HIT SQUAD: Lion S Jordan Lucas upended Temple WR Adonis Jennings early in the fourth quarter.

HIDDEN HEROS: Penn State’s medical and training staffs, which had to deal with a rash of injuries. Wooten and LB Brandon Bell were also knocked out of the game.

LOST IN THE SHUFFLE: Bell had seven tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss and a sack before leaving the game. He should be back for Buffalo next week.


• Projected starting corner Grant Haley sat with an unspecified injury and was replaced by a rotation of true freshman John Reid and sophomore Christian Campbell. Reid had five tackles, Campbell three. Haley should be back next week, too.

• Beside Reid and Polk, true frosh RB Saquon Barkley, LB Jake Cooper and LB Manny Bowen all played. The staff hoped to redshirt Cooper and Bowen but played them once the rash of injuries hit the LB corps.

• New kicker Joey Julius only had one FG attempt. He nailed a 34-yarder.

UNANSWERED QUESTION: Is Penn State really THAT bad?

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