By David F. Cohen
Temple is 5-4 and so is Penn State, so this Saturday’s game at Beaver Stadium will go a long way to determine if either team gets invited to a postseason bowl game.
Temple is a 10-point underdog, but it has come close to beating Penn State in their last three meetings, particularly in 2011, when the Lions won by four points in Philly.
But they still haven’t beaten Penn State since 1941. This truly could be the year for Temple.
The Owls upset No. 23 East Carolina 20-10 for their first win over a ranked opponent since 1998. Temple, which had lost 34 consecutive games against ranked teams, certainly didn’t have it easy.
East Carolina produced 432 yards of total offense and 30 first downs but also turned over the ball five times, one of which led to Temple’s first touchdown.
The Owls (5-4 after their loss at Houston) don’t make teams sweat over their offense. Temple totaled just 135 yards against ECU and 182 against Central Florida. But the defense generates pressure, sacks and turnovers, three warning signs for a beleaguered Penn State offense.
Temple’s defensive line features two particular matchup problems. Tackle Matt Ioannidis has eight tackles for loss, and end Praise Martin-Oguike has forced an astonishing five fumbles. In fact, Temple’s defense has generated a ridiculous 24 turnovers, enough to change any game.
The Nits are favored by 10, but in reality it is a game Temple could win.