Start time: Saturday, September 17, 12pm EST
Location: Beaver Stadium, University Park, PA
Betting line: Penn State -9.0
All-time series: Penn State leads 39-4-1
Last meeting: Temple 27 Penn State 10
Temple had one of the biggest wins in program history last season, beating Penn State for the first time since 1941. The Owls were lead by their defense that sacked PSU QB Christian Hackenberg and held the Nittany Lions to just 10 points. But that was last season and Temple has lost many of those star players on defense and has struggled so far this year. Sure they were able to beat up on FCS Stony Brook last week and shut them out but the Owls were dominated by Army in the season opener. The defense knew that Army was going run the ball and they still could not stop it.
Granted the rush defense did look much better against Stony Brook, holding the Seawolves to only 49 yards on 34 carries. The main concern for Temple is QB Phillip Walker who has struggled in both games. He threw three interceptions against Army and one against Stony Brook while only completing 46.9 percent of his passes. Walker has thrown for 292 and three touchdown over those two as well.
Missing Jahad Thomas has also hurt the Owls in the rushing attack. Last year Thomas was the leader of the offense rushing for 1262 yards and 17 touchdowns but has suffered from injuries early on this season and it looks as if he may miss this game also.
Ryquell Armstead has handling the run game with Thomas out, he has struggled to get going this year with on 125 yards over two games. Temple has shuffled some other players into the backfield but Armstead is the only player with more than 50 rushing yards.
First year starting QB Trace McSorely and the Nittany Lions go from one rival to another following a loss to Pitt last Saturday. McSorely has played pretty well so far this season, passing for 541 yards and three touchdowns. He also has one interception that ended up costing Penn State the game against Pitt when his pass was picked off in the endzone.
The true star of the Penn State offense is Saquon Barkley who rushed for 1076 yards last season and seven touchdowns. Through two games this year Barkley has 190 yards rushing and five touchdowns. His yards per carry are down from last year but could look to have a breakout game against this Temple rush defense.
Penn State is honoring former coach Joe Paterno before the game, it will the 50th Anniversary of his first game and first win as head coach. I asked Aaron Yorke from Block Shoe Diaries about his thoughts on the events.: '"Penn State can do whatever it wants regarding Joe Paterno, because the all-time great coach means more to that university than to the rest of the world. Outside of Penn State, Paterno is a horrible person who ignored many signs that his defensive coordinator was a child abuser. In State College, however, his contributions to Penn State and the surrounding community are better appreciated. Maybe that comparison is a little exaggerated, but mentioning Paterno's name is still a great way to bring out strong opinions and controversy in the media. That's why it was a national story when Penn State announced that is was honoring him two weeks ago."
“Whether Penn State is right or wrong in honoring the late coach is going to be unknown for as long as we don't know how right or wrong Paterno was in his involvement with the Sandusky scandal, and that could be a very long time. However, I think the way Penn State has gone about celebrating Paterno is as tasteful as it can be. On the 50th anniversary of his first game as head coach, the ceremony will focus on Paterno's contributions to academics and student-athletes. Mike Irwin and John Runnells, two members of Paterno's 1966 team, will be on hand for the celebration and the coin toss. And then the 2016 Nittany Lions will play a game against Temple. The ceremony will be as big a deal as the mainstream media wants it to be, so I'm hoping that the game stays out of the headlines unless Saquon Barkley rushes for six touchdowns.” Yorke also added.
Temple does not want to get into a high scoring game like Penn State had with Pitt last week. The Owls will need to the ball to control the clock and hope for a defensive battle.
Penn State 21 Temple 13