In anticipation of Penn State playing against USC in the Rose Bowl on New Year’s Day, I’ve decided to use the twelve days leading up to the gridiron clash to review the incredible season the Nittany Lions have had. One game per day, with analysis you won’t find anywhere else.
GAME 4: Penn State Nittany Lions versus The Temple Owls
September 20th, 2008
The Game Scenario
‘The Game Scenario’ is my best attempt at re-creating the ambiance of the game from the fan’s point of view. Keeping in mind that this section is likely to be subjective from my point of view, I will include a game preview or relevant article that was published before the game.
After three games where Penn State outscored opponents 166-37, many were wondering if the Temple Owls would stand a chance.
The Nittany Lions had not yet faced the adversity that Head Coach Joe Paterno kept citing as the best indicator of a truly great team, but the team’s sucess on a national level (8th-best offense statistically) made any counter-hyping attempts futile. The Owls, who were coming off a heartbreaking last-second loss to Buffalo, seemed to be heading in an opposite direction.
While the team was warned not to look ahead to next week’s Big Ten opener against Illinois, the fans were all but counting this game as a win in advance – they had seen enough of the 2008 squad to not just like, but love their chances against Penn State alumnus Al Golden’s team.
Anecdotal Quote of The Game
I’ve chosen to add the most memorable quote from the game, along with a short explanation, to add a little character to this series. Keep in mind that these occurred during a football game, in the notoriously rowdy (and often inebriated) student section. These are far from being nuggets of wisdom.
“God, my balls are HOT.” – Penn State student Brad Einstein, who made the poor choice of wearing jeans to the game.
I’ll admit, this is probably the worst anecdotal quote yet, but this is the most remarkable personal aspect of the game I could remember. But it does bring up the fact that Beaver Stadium has a fantastic meteorological range during the season. It may seem like a simple pleasure, but while the SEC misses out on the rough-and-tumble blizzard games, and northern schools wish for unseasonably warm, summer-esque bouts to which Happy Valley is treated semi-annually, we’re taking it for granted. Either that, or we’re too busy lamenting the temperature of our testitcles to enjoy it.
To be fair – I was very glad I took the weather forecast before choosing my outfit that morning.
Stat of The Game
While I could do a thorough recounting of the game, the reality is that game summaries are available all over the internet. Instead, I’ll use one of these existing sources for one stat that really speaks for itself. Sadly, I won’t let it speak it for itself, and offer a short explanation as well.
Temple Rushing Total – 16
While many can argue that this pathetic ground performance by the Owls can be attributed to the fact that Temple’s top rusher, quarterback Adam DiMichele, was injured on the fifth play of the game. But injuries alone can’t be used as an excuse for a 0.6 yards per carry team average. With Penn State’s buzzworthy offense dominating headlines, the Lions defense looked just as good (if not better) even without Sean Lee, Jerome Hayes, Maurice Evans, and Abe Koroma. I find that impressive no mater who they’re playing.
LOLPSU of The Game
If you have spent enough time on the Internet, it’s likely you’ve become familiar with LOLCats. LOLPSU is no different – with the exception of Penn Staters replacing the cats. Not as a adorable, but more relevant for our purposes.
Credit for the idea of combining sports with the internet meme is due to Grimey of LOLJocks.
Temple Coach Al Golden “had a bad day, the cameras don’t lie.”
Three Obscure Facts
‘Three Obscure Facts’ is your chance to pick up information to lord over people that watch the Rose Bowl with you. It’s you’re secret to making it seem like you’re a better fan than them!
1. Penn State’s current win streak over Temple is 26 games. The all-time series stands at 33-3-1. I’m sure this loss didn’t hurt any less than the other 32.
2. Many people are aware that comedian Bill Cosby is a Temple graduate (especially after a particularly bizarre televised game intro on ESPN), but a much smaller number know he was a running back for the Owls.
3. The Nittany Lions actually had five fumbles against the Owls (with only one lost). Combine that with Darryl Clark’s early interception, and it’s easy to see why Joe Paterno was less than pleased with the team’s performance despite the blowout score.
Penn State 45, Temple 3
Can you still call it winning ugly if you beat your opponent by six touchdowns? Joe Pa said he “thought it was a very, very sloppy performance,” though some could argue he was just preturbed he couldn’t spend the entire game on the field. No matter how you saw the surging Nittany Lions’ domination of an overmatched Owls team, they were 4-0 for only the second time since 2000.