Temple dominated Penn State, 27-10, for its first win over PSU since Oct. 18, 1941. (AP)
Thank you to Pattisonave.com for offering me this opportunity to blog about Temple Football and also to Eric Christensen for his excellent Temple Pre-Season Preview as well as his one on Penn State about which he will be blogging in the future. TBH this one today is a tough one for me to report on as I have been a PSU fan all my life w/ friends and family being Alums and having seen my share of games there, but I have also taken some classes @ Temple so I have some allegiance to them as well. I always have a hard time figuring out to root for in this matchup.
Now on to the game today between Matt Ruhl‘s Temple Owls, and James Franklin‘s Penn State Nittany Lions @ sold out Lincoln Financial Field, only the 2nd time the Owls have filled the Philadelphia Eagles home field w/ the last being against these same Nittany Lions back in ’07.
Coming into this one w/ a betting line of 6 1/2 to 7 favoring Penn State, this promised to be a closely fought battle, and it lived up to that billing into the 2nd half, where it took a surprisingly decidedly different direction.
After a 3, + a penalty, and out by Temple ended w/ a booming 60 yrd punt by Alex Starzyk, PSU scored 1st on an 8 play, 53 yard drive, featuring a 33 yd run by Brandon Polk, which eventually stalled leading to a 34 yd FG by Joey Julius.
After yet another 3 and out by Temple, a 42 yd scamper by PSU’s Akeel Lynch capped off a 6 play 75 yard TD drive.
A 6 yard sack of Christian Hackenberg by Temple’s Jarred Alwan helped the Temple defense to finally stop the PSU offense, after a 3rd 3 and out by their thus far ineffective O.
Temple finally got their intitial 1st down just as the 1st quarter ran out, when on 3rd and 4 Owls QB P. J. Walker found John Christopher for a 13 yard gain, but that drive also fizzled out just shy of midfield .
After getting good field position following a defensive stand that featured 2 sacks by Haason Reddick – one shared by Stephaun Marshall – Temple proceded to give it right back on a fumble by Walker. Temple was one of the best in the country at creating turnovers last year, but none so far for them, but the D did step up again w/ another sack of Hackenberg, this time by Tyler Matakevich which switched the momentum back their way.
On the ensuing drive which started from the shadow of their own end zone, the Owls eventually found a way to adjust to the PSU defense. 12 plays and 93 yards later they got their 1st TD. Key plays in the drive were two 10+ yard passes in a row to red-shirt freshman WR Ventell Bryant, but the most important play was a perfectly executed 31 yard draw play on 3rd and 10 to Jahad Thomas that got them down to the PSU 2. 3 plays, and a TO by both teams, later, a wide open Thomas scores on a nice pitch by Walker.
The 1st half came to an end w/ no further scoring.
The 2nd half opened w/ back and forth possessions until Temple tied it up on a 40 yd FG w/ 6:23 left in the 3rd qtr, by Austin Jones, to finish off a 7 play 57 yard drive. The most interesting play was a little trickeration by Temple on a reverse, morphing into a pass to the wide open QB Walker, by red-shirt Senior WR John Christopher for 25 yards.
To mix sports metaphors the Temple D threw a shut down inning cemented by a thundering 10 yd sack of Hackenberg by Matakevich on 3rd down – his 2nd and the team’s 5th of the day.
After punting back to Penn State, Hackenberg is picked off by Temple Lineman Sharif Finch, who rumbles 26 yards down to the PSU 2. Two plays later P. J. Walker called his own # and gave Temple a lead it would never relinquish, 17-10, w/ 1:00 left in the period.
Temple pitched another SDI also ending w/ a sack, this time by red-shirt Junior Nate L. Smith.
Temple increased their lead to 24-10 after that on a 24 yd TD run by Jahad Thomas darting through a seemingly tired Nittany Lion defense. Thomas had all 3 carries, including a tough 6 yard gain on 3rd and 4 earlier in the drive that lasted 5 plays, 49 yards. he finished the game w/ 135 yds on 29 carries and 2 TDs.
The Owls added another FG w/ 5:41 left in the game on a 6 play 25 yard drive.
Matt Ioannidis finally got on the score sheet w/ his 1st sack and the team’s 8th the next possession.
A lot of extra security as befits an NFL Team stadium, keeps them off the field but the Cherry Clad Temple Owl fans continued to celebrate in their seats, the biggest win in modern Temple Football History.
Temple ended the game w/ 10 sacks, an AAC record, Matakevich leading the way w/ 3.
Temple coach Matt Ruhl is a State College, PA native and a former Nittany Lion Linebacker (94-97)
Last win for Temple over a “power 5 conference” team was 1942 over Kansas per the ESPN broadcast.
This series is now 39-4-1 in favor of Penn State The last win by Temple was in 1941, a 14-0 shut out. I remember it well 😉
Up next for Temple is their American Athletic Conference opener on the road on 9/12 @ 8:00 PM against the Cincinnati Bearcats 2014 conference co champions.