Penn State Football: Winners and Losers from the Week 4 Game vs. Temple
Bill O’Brien showed on Saturday why the Penn State football program is going in a new direction.
After a win against Navy, it was still hard to tell whether or not O’Brien’s team would be able to turn things around. In their two games before Navy, the Nittany Lions looked young and somewhat sloppy.
But Penn State’s game against Temple showed a team that has grown. With 100 yards total in penalties, discipline seemed like Penn State’s biggest opponent on Saturday.
The Lions defense was able to bend but not break, giving up only two field goals much of the game.
Penn State’s win Saturday seemed bigger than just a nonconference game.
O’Brien’s team outplayed Temple, and the Nittany Lions weren’t the only ones to come out of yesterday with a win.
Winner: Penn State
Losing this game could have been a season-changer for the Nittany Lions.
In their previous two contests, Temple kept the game very close, almost winning last year.
If Bill O’Brien wasn’t about to pull out this win, he very easily could have lost more than just a game. This win not only puts Penn State back at .500, it also instills confidence and momentum in a young team that has struggled early on.
Coming out of Beaver Stadium with a convincing win over this Big East team can be the turning point in Penn State’s struggle to move on from its past.
Temple did not look good yesterday in Happy Valley; there is no way to sugarcoat it.
The Owls struggled to muster up any type of offense, even though penalties gave them favorable field position to start numerous drives.
The spread-style offenses of the SEC teams such as Florida are meant to shock you with misdirection and speed, but Temple doesn’t have that kind of speed to run this offense.
The remnants of the Al Golden era in North Philadelphia are still very present, with many skill sets still geared toward a pro-style offense.
Temple has just joined the Big East, but their game against Penn State has shown that they still need a lot of work to become a strong program.
Winner: Matt McGloin
Every week, Matt McGloin seems to continue to get better and better.
With O’Brien guiding McGloin through his offense, the Scranton native is starting to look more like the quarterback Penn State fans want to see.
The slinger of old looked much more mature on Saturday against a Temple team that brought serious pressure at times. He threw for 318 yards and one touchdown, while rushing for two.
McGloin did throw an interception on the 12-yard line when Penn State was driving in to score, but this was the only hiccup in his solid performance.
He was able to successfully avoid blitzes and threw the ball away at times instead of forcing them.
There were still a few of those “what was he thinking” balls that were dropped, but far less than what most Penn State fans are used to seeing.
On a damp day in Happy Valley, McGloin came out as a bigger winner in this game.
Loser: Steve Addazio
Saturday could have been Steve Addazio’s big win.
After Penn State stole last season’s game out of Temple’s hands, this year could have been the second-year coach’s first big win.
Although Addazio guided the Owls to a bowl win last year against Wyoming, beating the (previously) almighty Penn State would be a much bigger feat.
With Temple joining the Big East, a win yesterday could have solidified the Owls’ position in the BCS conference. But now Addazio has a long road ahead of him.
Going into conference play beginning with an October 6 game against UCF, Temple’s weaknesses were heavily exposed on Saturday (throwing and catching the football).
Addazio needs to regroup fast and figure out a way to get his offense to move the ball.
If he can’t, it will be a long season in North Philadelphia for those “TUFF” Temple Owls.
Winner: Penn State Rushing Attack
Zach Zwinak was the No. 2 fullback recruit in the nation in 2010.
Now instead of lead blocking, Zwinak lead the team in rushing on Saturday.
Penn State gained 174 yards on the ground against Temple, with two fullbacks taking almost every carry.
With Silas Redd in Southern California, Bill Belton injured, Derek Day injured and Curtis Dukes injured, O’Brien did what he’s been preaching all season.
O’Brien’s “next man up” mentality worked again, with fullback Michael Zordich and Zwinak splitting most of the carries.
The Penn State rushing attack didn’t go for the home runs, though. These two backs played the old-school, "run hard north and south" running style with Zwinak rushing for 94 yards.
With a visible running game, the Penn State passing game was able to come alive.
If Penn State can continue to have solid efforts out of their running game like they did on Saturday, the Nittany Lions might surprise people this season.
Winner: Brandon McManus
Senior kicker Brandon McManus has been a bright spot in a rough start for the Temple Owls.
On Saturday, he continued his special teams dominance.
After their first possession, Temple was forced to punt from their 27-yard line. On a high snap, McManus was able to jump and punt the ball 58 yards, pinning Penn State on their own 9-yard line.
McManus punted six times throughout the game, averaging 48.5 yards per punt.
But McManus also kicks for the Owls. He kicked a 33-yard field goal and a 42-yard field goal, giving Temple its only points until late in the fourth quarter.
For the senior, getting on national television and standing out like he did was very important for his future.
Temple doesn’t play many games on ABC, and the exposure McManus was able to get could turn into dollar signs and a future in the NFL.
Loser: Big East
After a major conference realignment where the Big East lost Syracuse, Pittsburgh and West Virginia for the future, Temple’s loss to Penn State didn’t help the transitioning conference.
Up until 2004, Temple had been a football member of the Big East. But the program had gone so far down hill that the Owls were removed from the conference after their 2004 season.
Now with Temple’s program slowly beginning to turn it around over the past few seasons, the Big East took Temple back in.
But if Saturday was any indication of where the Temple football program is in terms of growth, the Big East made a big mistake.
Although Temple’s defense was able to hang in against Penn State, the offensive side for the Owls was almost nonexistent.
Temple’s sloppy play against Penn State on national television is definitely not good news for the Big East.