Despite being hampered by penalties all afternoon, Penn State defeated Temple once again on Saturday 24-13. Temple quarterback Chris Coyer was shaky all day, throwing for only 124 yards with a 50% completion rate. Meanwhile, Penn State’s Matt McGloin made all the plays he needed to in the passing game in addition to running for two touchdowns. The Lions led the game 24-6 until a late fourth quarter Temple drive resulted in the Owls scoring their only touchdown of the game.
This weekend’s Penn State win wasn’t the most exciting thing in the world, but victories can’t be taken for granted these days. Here’s what you should know about the Lions’ triumph:
Penn State committed nine penalties, resulting in 100 penalty yards
Ouch. That’s over 10 yards per penalty, so you know a bunch of them had to be major infractions. I’m not one to complain about officiating (that often), but I feel like Penn State got hit with a bunch of fringe calls that allowed Temple to stay in the game for longer than it should have. On one drive in the second quarter, Penn State had a big gain in Temple territory called back because of an off-the-ball offensive pass interference call. On the next play, the Lions appeared to gain most of the yardage back only to get hit by a dubious holding penalty. Instead of moving inside the opponent’s 20-yard line, Penn State was pushed back past midfield and forced to punt.
Early in the third quarter, Temple was able to get great field position because of a supposed late hit on a punt return that looked perfectly clean. Later in the third, kicker Sam Ficken got flagged for a late hit out of bounds when he barely got a piece of Temple kick returner Matt Brown. There was a specific point when I felt Penn State got away with illegal contact on a Coyer throw to the endzone, but when you add everything up, it seemed the Lions got the short end of the stick regarding the penalties that were called.
Matt McGloin threw for a career-high 318 passing yards
Yeah, I was also surprised that 318 was a career high for McGloin. Last season, his totals were low across the board because of the old administration’s insistence that the fans suffer through a handful of Bolden throws each game. In 2010, I remembered McGloin having big games against Michigan and Northwestern, but he only threw for 250 and 225 yards, respectively, in each of those games. Turns out that McGloin threw for 315 yards in the win over Indiana that season, which was his previous career high.
McGloin looked pretty sharp all afternoon. He used a lot of crossing routes to extend drives and spread the ball around better than he has done in his previous starts this season. Favorite targets Allen Robinson and Kyle Carter caught five balls each, while Mike Zordich, Alex Kenney, Matt Lehman and Brandon Moseby-Felder all caught between two and four passes each. The biggest play of the game for McGloin came on a 4th and 5 from the Temple 41-yard line late in the first quarter. He patiently waited for Robinson to lose his man and then hit the sophomore wide receiver 15 yards down the field just as a defender closed in for the sack. Robinson evaded a pair of defenders to reach the endzone and give Penn State a 7-0 lead.
Curtis Dukes didn’t play in the game
A part of the reason why McGloin threw for so many yards is because Penn State’s halfback combo of Mike Zordich and Zach Zwinak did not possess much breakaway speed. After the game, head coach Bill O’Brien said that Dukes had a thigh injury and that he was only going to see the field if the other backs weren’t effective. That turned out not to be the case, as Zordich and Zwinak combined for 169 yards rushing and just over 5.0 yards per carry. Not bad for the fourth and fifth guys on the depth chart.
Temple head coach Steve Addazio’s poor clock management at the end of the first half was a gift for PSU
Nothing drives me up a wall faster than ultra conservative play calling, so I suppose it’s a good thing I’m not a Temple fan (although the pre-O’Brien era at Penn State was rife with this as well). With Temple backed up on its own seven-yard line with 1:46 remaining in the half, Addazio decided to run the ball into the pile and go into the half down 7-3. The problem with that was that Penn State had all three time outs remaining and did not allow much time to run off the clock.
After three fruitless runs and a poor punt by Brandon McManus, Penn State took over at the Temple 35-yard line with over a minute remaining. It only took three play for the Lions to reach the endzone and instead of a 7-3 halftime score it was 14-3. Who knows what would have happened if Addazio took a chance and tried to advance on that final drive? Even a pick six would have only been equally as bad a result as what actually happened to the Owls at the end of the half.
Sam Ficken made all of his kicks
It’s not much, but it’s worth mentioning because I’m guessing at least one more Penn State football game this season will come down to Ficken’s leg. The sophomore made all three of his extra points as well as a 21-yard chippy that put the game out of reach in the fourth quarter.
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