Temple In Ruins

The Nittany Lions took care of business, defeating the Temple Owls 24-13.  Stormy weathered threatened the day, but never materialized beyond a light drizzle now and then.  In fact, the westering sun came out late in the second quarter as Penn State wisely used its time outs to get the ball back and score a touchdown as time ticked away.  A rainbow appeared over the south deck and the Lions were walking on sunshine.  For Temple, there was no pot of gold to be found.

Attendance was down–93,680–and I don’t know whether that is due to fading interest by the fans, the threat of wet weather, or a lack of enthusiasm for playing an opponent who has not beaten Penn State in 71 years.  I applaud those fans that joined me in supporting this team and the players who chose to stay.

In fact, I couldn’t even give tickets away this week, and one of my tickets went to an old friend of mine from Williamsport . . . who also happens to be a Temple fan.  I recommended he wear blue . . .to fit in.  He did not.  He wore a red Temple shirt, but he called it cherry.  I didn’t know he was an interior decorator or a hair stylist, if you know what I mean.  Men call it red.  Women call it cherry.  Let’s just leave it at that.

But his son wore Penn State gear, embarrassed by his father.  His dad said this was payback for when he took him to a Phillies game wearing a Mets shirt.



“I will not harm you friends of Lions Den, but I cannot deny 100,000 of our fans fresh meat”

At least he brought a jacket.  A Flyers jacket.  I’m a Penguins fan.  I’d rather see the Temple shirt.

Anyway, the hapless Owls were unable to mount any significant threat against the Lions.  Matt McGloin put together a career high 318 yards passing, scoring two touchdowns on sneaks, and even Sam Ficken, the Ficken Foot of Fate, kicked in with a 31-yard field goal late in the fourth.

While the kicking game is still shaky–the punting was actually worse than the place kicking this week–this team is showing improvement offensively and defensively each week.  Whether this will translate into being competitive in the conference remains to be seen, but aside from the Huskers, there doesn’t appear to be a game left that the Lions couldn’t win.

I am a little concerned about the number of penalties.  The late hits out of bounds were borderline at best, at least without the benefit of slow motion replay.  But let’s be honest . . .if you need replay to be sure, then it was a call that could have gone either way.  And no–the refs don’t always flag those so don’t even try to use that lame justification.

Penn State had 9 penalties for 100 yards.  An entire football field of basically offense for Temple, moving the ball the other way.  And that doesn’t take into account the loss of yardage on a couple of those plays which was significant.  A Penn State fan complaining about the refs?  Some things never change!

O’Brien has made his way down the roster and has nothing but Z names left at running back, but Zordich is playing his heart out and Zwinak led the team with 95 yards and a 5.2 yards per carry average.

BY THE NUMBERS:

Penn State won time of possession 36:52 to 23:08.  The Lions out gained Temple 491 yards to 237.  On the ground, the Owls were held to 113 yards.  The Owls were 3 of 12 on third down conversions while PSU was 8 of 15.  McGloin threw one pick, the only turn over in the game.

INTANGIBLES:

The drum major stuck both flips.

Temple won the toss and deferred.

Win #2 for O’Brien.  407 more to go.

THE BIG (TEN) PICTURE:

Let’s start with the BIG losers:

Iowa lost to Central Michigan 32-31.

ND defeated Denard Robinson 13-6.

Illinois fell to La Tech 52-24.

Among those teams in the conference that won . . .

Ohio State beat UAB 29-15.

Wisconsin defeated UTEP 37-26.

Nebraska made mashed potatoes of Idaho State 73-7.

The Spartans slapped EMU silly, 23-7.

The Gophers squeezed the Orangemen 17-10.

Northwestern tromped South Dakota 38-7.

Purdue and Indiana were both off.  Do you think there might be something going on between them?

SHEDDING TEARS:

1.  Clemson fans–tomahawk chopped 49-37.
2.  Oklahoma lost to Kansas State 24-19.  Justin Brown .  More schadenfreude, baby.
3.  La-Monroe–nearly upset Baylor after defeating Arkansas in OT and losing to Auburn in OT.
4.  Speaking of Arkansas, they lost to Rutgers.  Razorbacks are 1-3.  Thank God for Jacksonville St.!

LOOKING AHEAD:

Penn State will start Big Ten play on the road against Illinois.

The season to date for Illinois . . .

W Western Michigan 24-7
L  Arizona State 45-14
W Charleston Southern 44-0
L  La Tech 52-24.

So basically they have two wins against unimpressive teams, and any team with a pulse has resulted in a rather lopsided loss.  Does Penn State have a pulse?  Of course we do.  It’s a kicker we lack.  And depth at running back.  And our secondary.

I think this is a very winnable game for Penn State, even on the road.  A two-game win streak with some confidence against a team that was just taken out to the woodshed by an unranked team from Louisiana that is not located in Monroe, should spell a victory for the Blue and White.  But I have been wrong before.

GO STATE!   BEAT ILLINI!

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Filed under analysis, Big Ten, football, NCAA, Penn State, recap, statistics, Temple

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