The 2-0 Temple Owls, coached by Steve Addazio, took on the 1-1 Penn State Nittany Lions, coached by the legendary Joe Paterno, at Lincoln Financial Field on Saturday afternoon. Penn State came into the game holding a 36-3-1 lead in the series. The Owls last victory over the Nittany Lions, a 14-0 shutout, came less than two months before Pearl Harbor was bombed.
Temple, once again, came so close, but could not finish the job. Leading 10-7 deep into the 4th quarter, Temple turned the ball over to Penn State on a errant Mike Girardi pass (which was picked off by Mike Mauti). The Nittany Lions, who had blown several other opportunities to take the lead earlier in the game, finally put together a decent drive, which culminated in a touchdown on a one yard run by Michael Zordich, with less than three minutes left. Moments earlier, Penn State bypassed an opportunity to kick a tying field goal and, with a successful fourth down gamble inside the Temple 5 yard line, made the ultimate turning point in the game.
Temple jumped to a 7-0 lead on its first possession of the game, driving 82 yards in 8 plays (assisted by two Penn State penalties). Bernard Pierce ran it in from 2 yards out and Brandon McManus added the extra point. The key play in the drive was a 33 yard completion from Girardi to wideout Deon Miller (who also blocked a punt later in the game).
Penn State then drove to the Owls 28 yard line before stalling. Evan Lewis then missed a 45 yard field goal attempt. The Nittany Lions finally got on the board late in the 2nd quarter on a 17 yard run by Silas Redd. The scoring drive took 7 plays and covered 50 yards. Lewis converted the extra point to tie the game at 7 -7 with 4:57 left in the opening half.
The Owls bounced right back led by quarterback Chester Stewart. Temple drove to the Penn State 23 yard line and on 4th and 5, McManus kicked a 40 yard field goal to send the Owls to the locker room at the half with a 10-7 lead.
The 3rd quarter was scoreless as both defenses dug in and took over the battle.
A crowd of 57,323 witnessed the game. Just when it looked like the Owls would hold on and win for the first time in decades, the Nittany lions defense rose to the occasion and helped keep the Owls from celebrating a major win. The Temple faithful were shocked; the Penn State fans rejoiced.
The Owls next game is on the road as they look to rebound against the Maryland Terrapins. Penn State returns home next Saturday to play Eastern Michigan.