PHILADELPHIA – Michael Zordich scored on a 1-yard run with 2:42 left to stretch Penn State's winning streak against Temple to 29 straight games in a 14-10 victory on Saturday at Lincoln Financial Field.
The Owls led for most of the game and gave their intrastate rival one of the biggest scares in this series. For all the strides Temple has made in its program the last five years, it still can't beat Joe Paterno and the Nittany Lions.
Temple has not defeated Penn State since a 14-0 victory on Oct. 18, 1941. The teams tied 7-7 in 1950.
After missing two field goal attempts, Penn State converted a fourth-and-1 on the 3 late in the fourth. Zordich then scored to make it 14-10.
Aided by a defensive penalty, the Owls drove to the 34 on their final possession. Mike Gerardi was sacked on fourth down to end the drive and the upset bid.
Watching from the press box because of injuries again, Joe Paterno improved to 28-0 vs. the Owls. But he almost saw a monumental upset a week after Penn State lost at home, 27-11, to Alabama.
The Owls squandered a pair of fantastic chances to stretch the lead in the second half. Temple did not take advantage of cornerback Kee-ayre Griffin's interception that put the ball on the 50, and came up empty after Rod Streater had an open path and blocked a punt that let the Owls start on Penn State's 39.
When Temple struggled, Penn State pounced.
Penn State last visited South Philadelphia in 2007, and it was then that the blue-and-white faithful overtook the Linc and turned the place into a virtual Penn State home game. Not this year. Temple's improvement in the standings has led to renewed interest in the team. The parking lots were stuffed with Owls fans, who tailgated and belted out the fight song hours before kickoff. Still, the game was well short of a sellout and the white shirts that colored large chunks of the stadium made it look like a signature Happy Valley "Whiteout."
Temple announced a paid total of 57,323 fans, the third-largest crowd in team history.
The Owls opened like a team playing for a BCS bowl berth, pressuring Rob Bolden and rattling ball carriers that set an early tone. It was clear that they wouldn't be pushovers. They got it done on offense early, with Mike Gerardi connecting to Deon Miller for 33 yards that set up Bernard Pierce's 2-yard score and a 7-0 lead.
Matt McGloin replaced Bolden in the second quarter and led the Nittany Lions on a tying scoring drive, capped by Silas Redd's 17-yard scoring run.
Redd ran straight into the Temple red — the end zones were painted red and inscribed with "TEMPLE" on one end and "OWLS" on the other.
The makeover might not seem like a big deal at most college powerhouses, but Temple had never before used painted end zones at the stadium they share with the Philadelphia Eagles.
Brandon McManus put the Owls, 10-7, ahead with a 40-yard field goal with 37 seconds left in the half.
Penn State's Sam Ficken had his 49-yard tying attempt blocked by Shahid Paulhill as time expired to help the Owls take a lead into halftime — and set the stage for a historic win.
But the Nittany Lions had other ideas.
In the end, Temple was held to just 197 total yards and Gerardi threw two interceptions as the streak continued.