Penn State took a sledgehammer to Temple Saturday afternoon in a 30-13 victory over the Owls. Temple was looking for a win over the Nittany Lions for the first time since the 1940s. The win would remain elusive after the Owls' defense was clobbered by Penn State running backs Akeel Lynch and Bill Belton, who combined for 222 yards on the ground. Temple's offense did them few favors, getting out-gained 366-248, and enduring a stretch that saw 5 of 6 second half drives end with turnovers.
Penn State started the game with a few of solid drives, one which ended in a turnover, and two more that ended with field goals. It was a strong effort from the Temple defense, that seemed to have Penn State in check on anything that wasn't an off-tackle run.
Temple relied on what has been their strength all season: takeaways. The only 3 points they scored in the first half came following a Bill Belton fumble inside Penn State territory. The offense managed only 2 first downs and 49 total yards on 21 plays.
Temple's offense started the second half by gaining nearly as many yards on that drive (48) as they had in the entire first half. Unfortunately that drive was capped by Alex Jones missing a 42 yard field goal, which disappeared into the central Pennsylvania wilderness.
Jones was redeemed on Temple's next drive, where he converted on a 25 yard field goal following a Tyler Matakevich interception and return deep into Penn State territory. Matakevich's pick came at a time when it looked like the Nittany Lions might be on their way to breaking the Owls' backs. That moment was on its way anyway.
However, with the game tied at 6, the Penn State offense kicked into gear. A 37 yard run by Bill Belton was followed by a 38 yarder to the promised land from Akeel Lynch. Walker responded with an interception deep in Temple territory, and Penn State punched it in again to make it 20-6.
To his credit, Walker responded well. He lobbed a 75 yard touchdown to Jalen Fitzpatrick to cut Penn State's lead to 7. Unfortunately for the Owls, that wouldn't hold long. Temple's next three drives ended with P.J. Walker turnovers. The first two were picks, with Grant Haley taking the second to the house. The third was a fumbled snap on third down at the Temple 23.
Penn State converted a field goal after the fumble, giving them a 30-13 lead with just over 10 minutes remaining in the game, which would carry until game's end.
Eligible after the win, Penn State will likely appear in a bowl game for the first time since they met Case Keenum and Houston in the 2012 TicketCity Bowl. They will finish their regular season with games against Illinois and Michigan State.
Following the loss, Temple heads back to Philadelphia for a bye, and continues the quest for elusive bowl- eligibility in a November 29th meeting with Tommy Tuberville and the Cincinnati Bearcats.