Temple Squeaker Shows Same Problems, No Answers

Temple’s a good college football team, I think, and will win a lot more than they lose this year.

That said, the Lions 14-10 come from behind win in the Linc leaves more questions on the table than answers.

Neither QB again played well enough to establish himself as the clear number one.  Matt McGloin played better than Rob Bolden this week, with Bolden making a handful of bad throws behind receivers and a pick.

The O line continues to show it can’t handle an aggressive defense.

A holding penalty wiping out a long touchdown pass.

The kicking keeps getting worse;  three missed field goals and a blocked punt, and an anemic return game.

The receivers showed better hands this week, and the running game wasn’t bad, though it is far from overpowering.  It was good to see Brandon Beachum show the power runner he can be.

The Lions defense played a pretty good game against a decent offensive team, and Chaz Powell’s and Mike Mauti’s interceptions late saved this game for PSU.  Joe said the D had to get some turnovers and help set up the offense, and that happened this week.

Still, against a Nebraska or Wisconsin, maybe a few other Big Ten foes as well, Penn State’s mistakes, inconsistent offense, and special teams woes won’t permit the team to be in the game late for the defense to pull out.

Much work remains if this year is to be better than last season’s 7-6.

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It’s Come to This: Temple’s a Tough Game

The contrarian part of me, which is a big part of me, has been looking all week for a reason to go against the flow and say Penn State will beat Temple rather easily, as has been the case since forever.

But, I can’t.  I think this will be a tough game for Penn State.  A game they could lose.

The game was 22-13 last year in Beaver Stadium, and if Owl running back Bernard Pierce hadn’t injured his leg in the third quarter, that one could have gone the other way.

At least one Temple player has gone on record as saying last year’s game put to rest the thoughts in the minds of the Owls as to whether they could beat Penn State.  In their minds now, he says, it’s just a matter of sealing the deal.

I still think Penn State’s the better team, but the gap has narrowed greatly in the past few years.

The fact Steve Addazio, Temple’s new coach, was Florida’s offensive coordinator when the Gators beat Penn State in the Outback Bowl last year doesn’t hurt, either.  He can look his players in the eye and tell them he knows what it takes to beat the Lions, and his team has what it takes.

I wish I could say that’s just a coach trying to fire up his troops, but I’m not so sure.

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Stories of note: Logo battle and PSU players in NFL

There are a couple interesting Penn State stories out there today that I think you’ll be interested in.

The first one concerns Penn State forcing a christian academy in Alabama to change its athletic logo.

Look, Penn State must legally protect its brand. It’s one of the most valuable in college athletics. It’s something the school must do.

And the christian academy in question really seems to have no problem with Penn State insisting that it change the logo. The school admitted the design was based on the PSU logo, but the Alabama folks thought they had changed the design enough to avoid a legal problem.

That wasn’t the case.

Still, this story makes Penn State look small. It looks like this giant university is picking on a tiny christian academy. It’s a matter of perception.

The Penn State haters out there will use this story to browbeat Nittany Lion fans all across the country.

It’s a no-win situation for Penn State.

The second story concerns the number of Penn State players on 2011 NFL rosters.

There are 32 to be exact.

That’s not a surprise.

What is surprising is one of the guys who is still in the league.

Can you believe that John Gilmore has been in the NFL for 10 years? He didn’t make a huge impact at Penn State, but he’s carved out a nice niche for himself as a blocking tight end at the pro level.

There aren’t a lot of superstars on the list, but there are a number of solid NFL players. That’s a reflection of what the PSU program has become _ solid, but far from great.

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Where Did All the Lions’ Fans Go? Long Time Passing….

Sincere apologies to Bob Dylan and Peter, Paul, and Mary.  (Under 45 crew, ask your parents.)

I was wondering if anyone else noticed all that red among the white out in Beaver Stadium last Saturday.  I see someone did.

That blogger has it right.  PSU is pricing itself out of the market.  ‘Bama fans were willing to buy those seats, but the Indiana States and Eastern Michigans of the world don’t have nearly the fan base to do so.  Maybe there should be a discount:  50% off for FCS opponents; 25% for non-BCS conference opponents.

That’ll happen.

The situation will be reversed Saturday as Penn State plays a home game on the road against Temple.

I have a sneaking suspicion that game may be more competitive than last week’s.  More on that later this week.

What do you all think?  Are Penn State’s ticket prices worth it considering the recession and the product on the field?  Let us know.

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PENN STATE OF MIND: Temple may upset Lions

Could this finally be the year?

Could the punching bag finally get the best of the puncher?

Could the Temple Owls finally end seven decades of football frustration against Penn State on Saturday afternoon?

It’s definitely possible — maybe not probable, but very possible.

Temple is playing at home, but that’s not a huge edge. Lincoln Financial Field will be packed with Nittany Lion fans and they’ll likely outnumber Temple followers by a 3-to-1 or 4-to-1 ratio. Still, the Owls will be in familiar surroundings, which is a plus.

Temple has also come out of the gate strong, earning easy wins over Villanova (42-7) and Akron (41-3). Granted, neither is a power, but the Owls struggled mightily with Villanova a year ago before escaping, 31-24. That same 2010 Temple team gave Penn State fits at Beaver Stadium, holding a 13-12 lead late in the third quarter before stubbornly succumbing, 22-13.

Temple had obviously closed the talent gap with Penn State under former head coach Al Golden, an ex-Nittany Lion who left the Owls after 2010 to take the Miami (Fla.) coaching job. Golden led Temple to 17 wins in the past two years.

Still, this year’s Owls seem a significant upgrade over the 2010 model under new head coach Steve Addazio, who arrived after a successful stint as Florida’s offensive coordinator, where he helped the Gators win two national titles.

Addazio also brought highly-regarded assistant Scott Loeffler with him to north Philadelphia and Loeffler has the Owls’ offense running at near-peak efficiency. Loeffler has an impressive pedigree, spending time in the NFL, in addition to being the quarterbacks coach with Florida and Michigan.

The Owls’ offense also features a starter from York County — right guard Wayne Tribue, who is a Central York High graduate.

The Temple defense, led by senior defensive end Adrian Robinson (a Harrisburg High grad), is no slouch either, allowing just 10 points in two games.

Make no mistake. The Owls are formidable. They nearly took out Penn State a year ago. This year’s PSU team, judging by the ugly Alabama effort, appears no better than the 2010 version. The Owls, however, are improved — much improved. It could be the recipe for an upset. The Lions are favored by 9½ points. That seems high.

Will Penn State beat Temple for a 29th-straight time? Probably. The Lions’ overall talent is still superior to Temple’s. But the Owls boast a top-notch coaching staff and will be dangerous.

Expect this game to be a dogfight right to the end. Penn State should survive, but it wouldn’t be a big surprise if the Lions were 1-2 at 4 p.m. Saturday.

Steve Heiser is sports editor of the York Dispatch. He can be reached at sheiser@yorkdispatch.com or at 854-1575, ext. 455.

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