Temple football had its biggest chance yet to beat Penn State. Decades of Temple football teams have lost to Penn State, but this year’s Temple football program had a real shot. The Owls started 3-0, while the Nittany Lions are still finding their ground with a freshman quarterback. If the Owls were ever going to snap decades of futility against the Nittany Lions, this would be the year, and it looked that way for much of the game. Yet the Temple football dream was finally popped by Penn State, as the Nittany Lions powered their way to a 22-13 escape.
The tone was set early on, as the Nittany Lions could only get a field goal on their opening drive, while the Owls got a touchdown from star Bernard Pierce. Another Nittany Lions field goal made it 7-6, but Pierce then scored again, although an extra point was not converted.
With the Temple football team up 13-6 against Penn State after a quarter, it was already their biggest performance against the hosts in year. It had been decades since the Owls beat the Nittany Lions, but fortunes finally looked to turn around. Every time the Nittany Lions threatened, the Owls held them to just a field goal.
However, although the Owls maintained the lead, they didn’t do anything to increase it. Pierce went out in the third quarter with a right ankle injury, leaving Temple football without their biggest weapon against Penn State. From then on in, it appeared to be a matter of time before the Nittany Lions took control.
At long last, it was the rushing attack that powered the hosts to the win. Evan Royster rushed for 187 yards, and Michael Zordich finally got the Nittany Lions first touchdown, after five field goals. Although Temple football battled Penn State harder than usual, it was still not enough, as the 22-13 loss was the same old story.
The Owls dropped to 3-1, but technically took another step forward in their rise up the ranks. Since being a Big East doormat, the Owls have become a MAC power, and could very well be the conference favorite. A win today would have been the culmination of Al Golden’s rebuilding process, yet they did not have enough for the full 60 minutes.
While Temple football fans are disappointed but optimistic, Penn State football fans have more cause for concern. The Nittany Lions grew to take control on statistics, yet they could not punch the ball in until the very end. These kinds of results won’t help them against Big Ten competition, especially against Iowa next week.
After today’s near miss, Temple football will return to the MAC and try to build on their promise, while Penn State may have a harder slog ahead. Their poor performance against Alabama, and their scare against Temple, has not inspired confidence for the Big Ten season.
Canada.com- “Penn State escapes with win over Temple”
SI.com- “Temple RB Pierce injured against Penn St”
NBC Sports- “No. 23 Penn St survives scare from Temple”