Game Preview: Temple
Temple Owls: 3-0
Series Record: 35-3-1 (PSU)
Head Coach: Al Golden (5th year)
Players to Watch: RB Bernard Pierce, DE Adrian Robinson, LB Elijah Joseph, QB Chester Stewart
Saturday’s 3:30 p.m. kickoff will mark the 40th meeting between in-state rivals Temple and Penn State in a series that has been dominated by the Nittany Lions. However, Temple is fresh off a 2009 bowl bid (the first since 1979) and has won its opening three games behind the strong running of Hesiman-hopeful Bernard Pierce.
Pierce, a Doak Walker Award candidate, amassed three touchdowns on 301 yards rushing in 2010 and has Owl fans riding a wave of excitement. Pierce will be the biggest challenge Penn State’s defense has faced since the punishing Alabama running back, Trent Richardson.
Temple has not beat the Nittany Lions since 1941, but many believe this is the Owl’s year to end the Lions’ winning streak. Penn State safety Andrew Daily raved about quarterback Chester Stewart because of the versatility he brings to Temple’s offense. Stewart has yet to throw an interception in 2010 and will look to improve on his 510 yards and two touchdowns against a Penn State secondary who is allowing close to 200 yards per game.
The Owls will go into Beaver Stadium Saturday with the hopes of sacking freshman quarterback Rob Bolden for the first time of his brief career (Penn State is the only team in the nation that has not allowed a quarterback sack.) Defensive end Adrian Robinson, who returned a fumble for the go-ahead touchdown against UConn last week, will lead the way after accumulating 13 sacks in 2009.
Linebacker Elijah “Peanut” Joseph will also lead the defense with his team-high 19 tackles in 2010.
Look for Temple to be extra aggressive early in the running game to test Penn State’s defense, which had tackling issues against Kent State. The QB, Stewart, will also be relied on to stretch the field and connect with his favorite target, Michael Campbell, multiple times.
The buzz surrounds Temple this week, and the fans in southeastern Pennsylvania feel this could be a breakout year for Al Golden and the Owls. Is Temple a 3-0 team that can compete with the Big Ten and other BCS conferences? Or are they in for another Penn State beating?
Make your predictions!