Penn State-Temple Preview
Penn State is looking to rebound from a 27-11 drubbing at the hands of Alabama this Saturday when they take on the Temple Owls. The Nittany Lions head to Lincoln Financial Field, the home of the Philadelphia Eagles (and technically the home field of Temple), where they will be greeted with a crowd more like that of Beaver Stadium than that of a true road test. As Ryan Beckler wrote earlier this week, it has been a while since Penn State last lost to Temple.
Team: Temple Owls
Head Coach: Steve Addazio (2-0 record; first season)
Series History: Penn State leads 36-3-1
Players to look for: RB Bernard Pierce, QB Mike Gerardi, DB Kevin Kroboth
Prediction: Penn State 24-17
While Penn State is coming off a crushing loss, Temple is riding high after two wins and a combined score of 83-10. Albeit, those wins came against Villanova and Akron, but the scorelines are impressive, regardless of the competition.
The Temple football program has been gradually improving for several years now, and the Owls gave the Nittany Lions trouble last season. Penn State had to come from behind in the 2010 contest to win 22-13. One of Temple’s key players, Pierce, got injured in that game, hurting Temple’s offense immensely and hindering their chances of pulling off the upset.
Pierce leads a Temple running game that is ranked fifteenth nationally at 272.5 yards per game. However, Temple has not faced a quality defense yet. That running average should come down against a Penn State defense that will be fired up to prove itself after a tough game against Alabama.
The Owls are limiting teams to just 82 yards per game rushing thusfar this season, but are giving up 190 yards per game through the air. Look for a balanced attack from the Nittany Lions, who will want to establish the run game and gain some consistency in the air. Silas Redd should return to a prominent role for the Nittany Lions this week after being shut down a week ago by the Crimson Tide.
Overall, this game will be a challenge for Penn State. The defense should be solid, but there are too many questions remaining on the offensive side of the ball, not the least of which is the quarterback situation. A majority of fans are calling for Rob Bolden to start and play the entire game, but Joe Paterno has publicly refused to commit to either Bolden or Matt McGloin. It also remains to be seen whether the wide receivers will start making catches this season. A failure to do so will nullify the successes of either quarterback for Penn State.
Even if both quarterbacks play, Penn State should win this game. However, Temple will put a scare into the Penn State crowd in Philadelphia. The Nittany Lions pull this one out 24-17.