Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Penn State-Temple preview

Temple (3-0) vs. No. 23 Penn State (2-1)
When: Saturday, 3:37 p.m.
TV/Radio: Big Ten Network; ESPN-AM 1250
Line: Penn State by 13 1/2.
Series Record: Penn State leads 35-3-1.
Last Meeting: 2009, Penn State won, 31-6.
What's at Stake: Off to their best start since 1979, the surging Owls can get a measure of their rebuilding progress against in-state rival Penn State. The Nittany Lions have one final tuneup before Big Ten play and hope to stay free of injuries and build running game momentum. An unlikely Temple win would boost coach Al Golden’s resume and send Penn State fans into message-board hysterics.
Key Matchup: RB Bernard Pierce vs. Penn State defense. Temple is touting Pierce as a Heisman Trophy candidate, and there’s no better stage to prove his worth than against the Nittany Lions at Beaver Stadium. If Pierce and the Owls’ experienced offensive line can wear down a defense plagued by missed tackles at times, Temple might — might — have a chance to keep things close.
Players to Watch: Temple: DE Adrian Robinson led the Mid-American Conference last season with 13 sacks. He has one sack so far this year, but did force a fumble and returned it for a touchdown last week against Connecticut. Penn State’s offensive line hasn’t allowed true freshman QB Rob Bolden to get sacked.
Penn State: RB Evan Royster. While pass blocking may be a strength, the front five has been inconsistent on the run. Royster has just 110 yards on 31 carries, with the senior splitting more time than fans expected with backups Stephfon Green and Silas Redd. Coach Joe Paterno says Royster is fine, and that he isn’t worried about his production.
Facts & Figures: Royster’s slow start has him inching away at the school career rushing record, 371 yards behind Hall of Famer Curt Warner (3,398 between 1979-82). ... Golden played tight end for Paterno at Penn State from 1987-91, while Owls defensive coordinator Mark D’Onofrio played linebacker. They were Penn State captains together their senior season in Happy Valley. ... Penn State has outscored Temple 154-9 since Golden took over the Owls in 2006. ... Penn State has eight turnovers, though the defense has forced just two — a pair of interceptions.


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