Staff Predictions: Penn State vs Temple
Penn State returns to Beaver Stadium for a rematch of last year’s stunning week one upset at the hands of the upstart Owls. The Lions will try and regain some of the momentum it lost after a crushing loss to Pitt. It’s safe to say that while the score might be close, our staff sees a bounce-back performance from the Nittany Lions this weekend.
Robbie Rockwell: Penn State 42, Temple 10 (season record 0-0)
Coming off a close loss to Pitt where the offense put up 39 points, Penn State regroups against an easier Temple defense and puts up 42. The Penn State defense looks to avenge last years shocking loss and improve off last week’s performance surrendering only 10 points to the Owls. Penn State needs a big win to recover and they’ll get it against Temple.
Joe Pickard: Penn State 32, Temple 17 (season record 0-0)
Penn State needs a major win this week, and wants it bad vs. a Temple team that beat us last year. Penn State will undoubtedly start slow, like we do every game. A key to winning this game will be the run game. Temple lost to Army earlier this season, which only threw the ball five times the whole game. Look for Saquon Barkley to have a big game. This isn’t the same Temple team as last year, after losing key seniors such as Tyler Matakevich and many other on defense, Penn State should have more time in the pocket and not allow McSorley to get sacked when Temple rushes two, as happened to Hackenberg. Penn State has home field advantage under the Stripe Out and should be a good game for the Nittany Lions to make a statement, coming off last week’s heartbreaker.
Steve Connelly: Penn State 31, Temple 21 (season record 1-1)
Penn State is coming into this game with a point to prove after its loss last week to Pitt. The Nittany Lions will also come into hoping to avenge the upset against Temple last year. Expect the offense to click well again this week. Aside from a few costly turnovers, Penn State’s offense has been tough to shut down. With injuries on defense, that will be the major question for Penn State coming in. Jahad Thomas was the force behind Temple’s win last year, but his status is also uncertain for the Owls this weekend.
Anthony Colucci: Penn State 36, Temple 17 (season record 0-0)
With the loss to Pitt last week being the second consecutive in-state matchup that Penn State has dropped dating back to last year’s miserable season opening 27-10 loss to Temple, Saturday is a must-win for James Franklin’s coaching regime. Both he and his program have something to prove to the state, especially on the day that Joe Paterno, a favorite target of Pitt and Temple fans alike, is being honored. Facing an Owls defense that allowed Army’s fullback to run for 121 yards, the Nittany Lions will once again rely heavily on running back Saquon Barkley, who scored all of their touchdowns last week against Pitt and is second in the nation in total scores with six.
Considering that Penn State has started each of its first two games relatively slow and that Saturday is the only noteworthy game on Temple’s schedule, expect the two teams to play relatively evenly in the first half but Barkley to take control as the game progresses. The funky point total for Penn State is assuming that Franklin makes at least one ballsy play call that doesn’t pan out as expected. If ballsy is too critical, make it audacious or intrepid
David Abruzzese: Penn State 39, Temple 31 (season record 1-0)
Penn State returns home after a heartbreaking loss on the road at Pitt. We learned a lot about this team, but the overarching theme is that it can score. Quickly. Putting up points shouldn’t be an issue for the Lions, but preventing Temple from doing the same might be an issue. We don’t know if linebacker Jason Cabinda will play or not, but if he’s out, the Lions will lean on its young defensive line for support against the run. Owls quarterback Phillip Walker went 15-20 for 143 yards and a rushing touchdown in last season’s week one stunner. He displayed the ability to make plays in a variety of ways, and he’ll do much of the same on Saturday. Penn State doesn’t want to enter a shootout, but if that’s the case, the defense will be tasked with coming up when it’s called upon.
I believe Penn State leaves victorious thanks to another stellar performance by Saquon Barkley. I fully expect Trace McSorley to further the momentum generated against Pitt and play a more mistake-free game. Unfortunately, we could be looking at another nail-biter.
Ethan Kasales: Penn State 37, Temple 24 (season record 1-1)
Although Temple is far from what it was last year when the Nittany Lions stumbled out of the gates at Lincoln Financial Field, I’m not sold that Saturday’s Stripe Out is enough to solidify an easy win. Penn State’s young front seven was exposed in the first half last weekend before building momentum as the shootout wore on. DeAndre Thompkins should continue to elevate his game as the redshirt sophomore is coming off a tremendous showing in relief of Saeed Blacknall. Defensive coordinator Brent Pry will need sophomore linebacker Manny Bowen on the field a lot this season, so expect him to receive plenty of run against the Owls.
Dylan Coughlin: Penn State 38, Temple 27 (season record 0-0)
Following last week’s crushing loss to Pitt, Penn State cannot afford to drop two in a row to in-state rivals. These are the type of games where you can really tell what a team is made of. After fighting back last week and having a chance to win late only to come up short, it can be demoralizing. I can see this game turning into a shootout with the way Penn State has been on both offense and defense this year. The front seven will be tested yet again in the run game, especially if Jahad Thomas is a go for the Owls. Penn State just needs to keep feeding the ball to Saquon Barkley and attack Temple’s run defense. I believe the offense takes another step forward building cohesion in the new system en route to another 30+ point performance and a win Saturday.
Lexi Shimkonis: Penn State 34, Temple 27 (season record 2-0)
It’s the best kind of day, a Friday before a home football game. State College will come alive throughout the day as alumni and fans of both Penn State and uber-local Temple pour into Happy Valley for tomorrow’s game. I won’t comment on how much of a rivalry this game is, but I think both teams are excited and a win for either program would be bragging rights, if not just for stake as the better (but not best) Pennsylvania school, mainly between students. The Nittany Lions will be fired up after last week’s loss to Pitt and even last year’s loss to Temple, and I think that’s going to translate to a win. I’m hoping Penn State has learned it can’t get going late, so I expect them to score early on the ground and keep the momentum rolling from there, with a lot of this falling on Saquon Barkley’s muscular shoulders. And though people are always mad online, I don’t expect there to be any problems during or due to the Paterno commemoration, at least not in the stadium…but, just to be safe, don’t check Twitter and don’t read the comments.