Penn State wraps up its non-conference schedule at Beaver Stadium this weekend against intrastate rival Temple in a noon kickoff at Beaver Stadium. The Owls and Nittany Lions both carry 5-4 records into the contest, making it a key week for both teams as they look to secure postseason eligibility.
Penn State is 38-3-1 all-time against Temple in a series that dates back to the 1931 season. The Nittany Lions haven’t lost to the Owls since 1941 and enter Saturday’s contest having won the last 30 consecutive meetings. After a run of lopsided PSU wins, Temple has presented problems in narrow losses in 2010 (22-13), 2011 (14-10) and 2012 (24-13).
The Owls have had bright moments during an up-and-down season, none brighter than a 20-10 win over No. 21 East Carolina earlier this month. Temple, which boasts the nation’s No. 10 scoring defense (18.1 ppg), jumped out to a 14-0 lead in the first quarter and held the Pirates to just 135 yards of total offense.
Temple fell to Memphis, 16-13, on the road last weekend on a last-second field goal by Jake Elliott. The Owls took an early 10-0 lead but surrendered 13 straight points before tying the game late in the fourth quarter. The Tigers marched 66 yards to set up Elliott’s 31-yard field goal as time expired. In all, the Owls have lost three of their last four games.
Matt Rhule, a four-year letterwinner who played for Joe Paterno at Penn State, is in his third season as Temple’s head coach. He’s in the midst of engineering a turnaround after the team lost its first six games last season. The Owls won four of their first five games this season and made a statement in their season opener with a 37-7 blowout win over Vanderbilt.
Can a motivated Owls team rediscover their momentum and knock off the Nittany Lions? Should we expect more of the same from Penn State’s struggling offense? Bob Flounders, Andrew P. Shay and Dustin Hockensmith debate those points in this week’s Keystone Sports Network podcast.