Penn State got its second straight win of the season in Week 4 and the second career win for head coach Bill O'Brien. The Lions defeated the Temple Owls 24-13 at Beaver Stadium.
Penn State overcame an injury to starting running back Michael Zordich and 100 yards in penalties to defeat the Owls.
After a slow start, the O'Brien's pro-style offense came alive before halftime and continued to impress. The defense stifled the Owls all day, not allowing their offense to really ever get going.
The Lions are now 2-2 on the season and start the Big Ten portion of their schedule in Week 5 when they travel to Illinois to take on the Fighting Illini in a tough road test.
The victory against Temple saw several players step up for the Lions. Penn State will need everyone to continue to improve and play hard in order for the 2012 season to end as a successful one.
Heading into 2012, sophomore running back Zach Zwinak probably didn't expect to get a lot of playing time for the Nittany Lions. However, due to the transfer of Silas Redd and injuries to Bill Belton and Derek Day, Zwinak was needed the last two weeks.
Zwinak led all Penn State rushers in Week 4 against Temple. He carried the ball 18 times for 94 yards. He also caught a pass for 12 yards. Zwinak saw his playing time increase against Temple when starter Michael Zordich went out with a leg injury in the second half.
Zwinak ran hard and may have earned himself more time on the field going forward. If Belton, Day and Zordich are all out next week, look for Zwinak to carry the load at Illinois.
Another week, another big game from Penn State quarterback Matt McGloin.
McGloin led the Nittany Lions on offense and picked apart the Temple secondary en route to a career-high 318 yards passing.
McGloin threw for one touchdown and had two short runs that both resulted in scores. McGloin looked confident in the pocket and did an excellent job of going through his progressions, hitting nine different receivers. McGloin did have one interception, though it bounced off a receiver and into the hands of a Temple player.
If the Nittany Lions are going to compete in the Big Ten, McGloin is going to have to continue his solid quarterback play.
Allen Robinson, the leading receiver in the Big Ten, had another big day in Week 4 against Temple. Robinson hauled in five passes for 82 yards and a touchdown. His touchdown was a 41-yard pass that came on a fourth down play.
Robinson seems to have great chemistry with quarterback Matt McGloin and now has 404 receiving yards and five touchdowns on the season. Robinson has proved to be a true downfield threat for McGloin, averaging 16.4 yards per catch in Week 4.
Robinson's play has already landed him on the Bilentnikoff Award watch list. The Bilentnikoff award is given to the top receiver in the nation.
If Robinson can keep this level of play up, he could easily find himself as one of the finalists for that award.
After forcing four turnovers in each of the last two games, the Penn State defense failed to force one against Temple in Week 4. Temple did have two different fumbles that ended up being recovered by the Owls.
Despite not forcing turnovers, the defense played a solid game against Temple. The Owls were limited to just 237 yards and 13 points. The Owls did get a late touchdown on a four-play, 65-yard drive inside of three minutes remaining in the game.
Penn State registered three sacks against the Owls.
After blowing second-half leads in the first two games, the Penn State defense has settled down over the past two weeks. There is still room for improvement heading into the Big Ten schedule.
However, Penn State has a history of a tough, solid defense that comes up in big moments.
Penn State kicker Sam Ficken has been maligned in 2012. Ficken has hit on only one out of five field goals this year and has also missed two extra points.
Ficken became known by fans when he unfortunately missed four field goals, including a game winner, in the 17-16 Week 2 loss at Virginia. Ficken also had an extra point blocked in that game.
After all he has gone through in 2012, Ficken deserves to be labeled a winner for Week 4. Ficken hit on all three of his extra point attempts. He also nailed a second-half field goal (albeit a 20-yard chip shot).
Head coach Bill O'Brien has been very aggressive by going for it on fourth down in the opponent's territory due to inconsistencies in the kicking game.
Hopefully, Ficken now has confidence after a solid performance against Temple.