Temple: Game Breakdown

The good, the bad and more than a little ugly from Penn State's shutout of the Owls in Philadelphia Saturday.

PHILADELPHIA — Penn State eased past Temple at Lincoln Financial Field Saturday, overcoming sloppy play early to emerge with a 31-0 win. With the non-conference victory, the Nittany Lions improved to 8-3 on the season and bolstered their case for a New Year's Day bowl.

The Owls fells to 3-7.

Read on for the good, the bad and the ugly from the afternoon in Philly.

MAN OF THE HOUR: Penn State senior tailback Rodney Kinlaw carried 27 times for 168 yards and one score, and in the process went over the 1,000-yard mark for the season. He is only the 11th PSU player to go over a grand in a year. Nice job of persevering.

CLOSE SECOND: Lion wideout Derrick Williams has his second straight big game, with seven catches for 104 yards. Speaking of which…

TURNING POINT: Williams' spectacular 52-yard grab over Jaiquawn Jarrett was a highlight-reel moment. It was State's longest pass play of the season and was a tone-setter on a drive where the Lions took a 14-0 lead.

SOLID STRATEGY: State relied heavily on the run at the end of the third quarter and for most of the fourth to put the game out of reach. We wonder why the Lions took so long to do it, though?

NUMBERS GAME: Penn State outgained Temple on the ground, 202-4.

BUSINESS AS USUAL: Quarterback Anthony Morelli had a couple more turnovers (an interception and a fumble at the Temple 1-yard line). But overall, he put together another good game, connecting on 22 off 33 passes for 260 yards and three TDs.

SPECIAL DELIVERY: Temple punter Jeff Wathne averaged only 36.8 yards on six boots. But only one of those kicks was returned.

WHAT'S UP WITH?

• Penn State passing on eight straight plays midway through the third quarter with a 17-0 lead. The eighth of those passes by Morelli was intercepted by defensive end Morris Blueford. On their next series, the Lions began with a handoff to Kinlaw, who ripped off a 28-yard run.

• The Owls being unable to hold onto the ball when they had a chance to make a game of it. Tight end Kevin Armstrong dropped what seemed to be a sure TD off a fake field goal in the second quarter. Later in the quarter, Temple botched a double-reverse handoff for a fumble (WR Bruce Francis was blamed) at the Lion 10-yard line.

• The Lions not playing backup QB Darryl Clark until the final 3:07 of the game. Would have been nice to see him get a few snaps when PSU had the 24-0 lead.

HIT SQUAD: PSU's Bani Gbadyu lit up Travis Shelton when the latter returned a kickoff in the second half. Overall, PSU's kick coverage was much better in this game than it had been in recent games.

TOUGH GUY: Lion defensive tackle Chris Baker muscled his way to a pair of sacks.

HIDDEN HERO: Another solid showing by the Nittany Lion offensive line.

LOST IN THE SHUFFLE: Receiver Jordan Norwood had only two catches in the game, but they both went for first-quarter touchdowns.

YOUTH MOVEMENT: Stefen Wisniewski took over for Mike Lucian at right guard in the fourth quarter.

DID YOU NOTICE?

• Redshirt freshman tailback Evan Royster twisted an ankle in the first half and was limited to one carry for five yards in the game. Brent Carter replaced Kinlaw in mop-up time. Head coach Joe Paterno said he is not sure if Royster will be available for the regular-season finale at Michigan State next weekend.

A.J. Wallace started at cornerback (opposite Justin King) for the second straight game. Former starter Lydell Sargeant was stationed at nickel back for the second straight week.

• Penn State went with twin punt return men — Williams and Anthony Scirrotto — on several occasions during the game.

• The field at the Linc was a mess, with bare patches and divots everywhere. It is incredible to think an NFL team plays at this facility.

• The crowd of 69,029 was the largest ever to see a Temple home game. The previous high at the Linc was 30,368, against Navy earlier this year. The previous high at the old Veterans Stadium was 66,592, against — you guessed it — Penn State in 1988.

• The unusually large crowd may have explained why traffic was such a mess before the game.

UNANSWERED QUESTION: Will the Lions play with a tad more passion in the regular-season finale at Michigan State?

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