(Saturday, September 25th)
Final Score: (23) Penn State 22, Temple 13
University Park, PA (Sports Network) - Collin Wagner tied a school record with five field goals before the Nittany Lion offense finally found the end zone late in the fourth quarter, as No. 23 Penn State gutted out an ugly 22-13 win over Temple at Beaver Stadium.
Senior Evan Royster had his first 100-yard rushing game of the season, totaling a career-high 187 yards on 26 carries, while fullback Michael Zordich scored the lone touchdown with 3 1/2 minutes to play.
Freshman quarterback Rob Bolden didn't deliver much in the way of big plays for a choppy Penn State offense. He did lead the offense 96 yards in 12 plays with time winding down in the fourth quarter and was 18-of-28 for 223 yards.
Bolden was 3-for-4 for 58 yards on the scoring drive that shaved six minutes off the clock and turned a 15-13 game into a two-score lead for the Lions (3-1), who managed a solid defensive effort.
The defense stepped up to hold Temple to 202 yards and eight first downs, allowing only one drive over 28 yards.
"We had a TV timeout and said this is where you go 96 yards to see what kind of people we are and what kind of team we are," said Penn State quarterbacks coach Jay Paterno. "It was critical for us to find out what kind of team we have. Joe [Paterno] loves stuff like that. We found out something about us, about the team, and they did a great job."
Temple's Chester Stewart was picked off three times and completed just 8-of-19 passes for 46 yards. Bernard Pierce rushed for two scores before leaving with an apparent right ankle injury in the third quarter for the Owls (3-1), who were off to their first 3-0 start since 1979.
Temple turned a Royster fumble deep in Penn State territory into six points and an early 7-3 lead, with Pierce running it in from five yards out.
James Nixon's 51-yard run from near midfield on the next Temple series set up a first-and-goal situation and Pierce ran it in for a three-yard score. The extra point was botched on a bad snap.
Meanwhile, Penn State had to rely on the foot of Wagner, and his two first- quarter field goals kept it a 13-6 game after 15 minutes.
A promising Nittany Lion drive stalled in Temple territory early in the second, and Wagner kicked a 42-yard field goal to make it 13-9.
Stewart was picked off on the ensuing possession, but the Owls' defense stuffed Bolden on 4th-and-1 from the Temple 25 to keep it a four-point game at halftime.
A series of punts dominated much of the third quarter until another Penn State drive was stopped short in the red zone, resulting in a successful 32-yard kick from Wagner as the hosts drew within 13-12 with 4:12 left in the frame.
Stewart was intercepted for a second time on Temple's ensuing touch and Nathan Stupar set up the offense at the Owls' 12-yard line with a 31-yard return.
The Lions' offense continued to struggle, though, and three plays netted eight yards with Wagner's 21-yard boot giving the hosts a precarious 15-13 edge with 1:38 remaining in the third.
Wagner finally missed on his sixth attempt, from 32 yards out less than three minutes into the fourth, but Penn State found the end zone on its next turn with the ball and the Lions' defense forced two turnovers and a punt on Temple's final three possessions.
"They beat us; they're a good team. We have a lot to work on. The first half was good, but Penn State came out and answered with a better second half and there was nothing we could really do," said Temple defensive end Adrian Robinson, who recovered Royster's first-quarter fumble.
Temple defeated UConn, 30-16, last week for its first win over a BCS school since 2004...Temple marked the second straight MAC opponent for the Lions, who are 54-5-1 all-time against teams from that league -- 44-1 under coach Joe Paterno...Penn State leads the all-time series with Temple, 36-3-1, and the Lions have won the last 28 meetings. The Owls' last victory in the series was way back in 1941...Royster's 187 yards were the most by a PSU running back since Larry Johnson had 279 yards against Michigan State in the 2002 regular season finale. He now ranks sixth on the Lions' career rushing list with 3,215 yards and needs just 184 yards to pass Curt Warner (3,398) for the school career record...Wagner's five FGs were also a career high...Bolden now has the most passing yards for a true freshman QB in Penn State history...The Owls were just 1-of-11 on third down...Saturday's game marked the first of three straight TU will play on the road, moving on to Army next week before diving back into conference play at Northern Illinois on October 9th...Penn State opens Big Ten play at Iowa next Saturday...During the Al Golden era at Temple, the Nittany Lions had posted an astounding 903-82 yardage differential in the running game coming in. PSU outgained TU 216-156 in the category on Saturday. Pierce ran for 42 yards on 10 totes.
09/25 20:39:26 ET