Penn State Escapes Temple With a 14-10 Win
In front of a split crowd in Philadelphia, Penn State narrowly escaped with a 14-10 victory thanks to a strong defensive effort and a fourth quarter touchdown drive. Poor special teams and numerous penalties hampered the Nittany Lions in the victory.
“The defense is gonna keep us in a lot of games this year,” quarterback Matt McGloin said. “I’m real happy with the way we finished the game. We came together as a unit.”
The penalties hurt Penn State from the onset, as a pass interference call and a personal foul for grabbing the facemask gave Temple 30 free yards on its first drive. That drive resulted in a touchdown for the Owls, who had hopes of beating the Nittany Lions for the first time in 70 years.
After Temple’s opening drive of 82 yards, the Penn State defense would give up just 115 yards more in the rest of the game. It was up to the offense to manufacture enough points to win the game. However, the going was not easy. It took Penn State until 4:57 left in the second quarter to get on the board, when Silas Redd broke a 17 yard run to level the game at seven.
Holding penalties hurt the offense as the game wore on. In all, Penn State was penalized seven times for 69 yards. The Nittany Lions also continued to struggle in the kicking game against Temple. Evan Lewis missed field goals from 45 and 36 yards, while Sam Ficken had a 49-yard attempt blocked. Punter Anthony Fera also had a punt blocked in the game.
“We got to improve our kicking, obviously…Some days we kick really well. Other days…no. I wish I had the answer to that baby. Even the blocked punt, the kid took too long to kick the ball. He got the ball, took a look at it to make sure it was a football, then he kicked it,” Joe Paterno said.
The defense was the saving grace for Penn State. Time and time again, the defense came up big with a stop. The Nittany Lions held Temple’s best player, running back Bernard Pierce, to just 50 yards rushing. The Nittany Lions also forced three fumbles, recovering one, and had two timely interceptions to keep the team in the game. A Mike Mauti interception with 8:42 left in the game led to the game-winning drive for Penn State.
“It was big for us today. It’s something that Joe is always harping on–that we need to get more turnovers to help our offense out,” defensive tackle Devon Still said. “Our offense was struggling today, so we were just trying to do whatever we could to get the ball back into their hands.”
The ball was getting back into the offense’s hands, but it was not always clear who would be running the offense. For a third week in a row, Penn State used a two-quarterback system. Rob Bolden got the start and played the entire first quarter. The two quarterbacks split time in the second half. Bolden finished 9-17 for 92 yards and one interception, while McGloin went 13-19 for 124 yards.
Assistant coach Jay Paterno said that both quarterbacks played well. Once again, both Joe and Jay Paterno were noncommittal as to what the system would be for next week’s game against Eastern Michigan. For now, the coaches are just happy that the Nittany Lions were able to pull out a win against a tough Temple squad.
“I tried to tell people that that was as good a Temple team as I have ever seen,” Joe Paterno said. “They are doing a heck of a job coaching…I think they are on the verge of being a dominant team, particularly in [the MAC].”