This is going to be a relatively short article. (I can hear the sighs of relief out there as I write this.) I’ve had some demands on my time that have impinged on my Wednesday blogspace but a promise is a promise. I said I’d be back on Wednesday, and here I am.
I don’t think you’ll find many writers establishing great angles on this game that can make anything interesting of it. Perhaps the Al Golden angle will be beaten to death. Will the PSU coaches pull up their rampaging steed to thwart embarrassment of “one of their own?” Even if that thought enters their mind, this Turkey does not recommend it, inasmuch as the offense will take care of that by acting as usual. Oy! We’re in the red zone. Let us pray…
Another angle is that this is really a home game for Penn State, because of the 70,000 expected fans at Lincoln Financial Field on Saturday, probably 50,000 of them will be rooting for the Blue and White.
My feeling is that our defense, which has become shaky of late, will be most assuredly up to the task of handling Temple. The Owls (3-6) are ranked #107 and #63 in rushing and passing offense, respectively. They’re #108 in scoring offense with an average of just over 18 ppg primarily against MAC opponents. Meanwhile, the Nittany Lions rank #12 in total defense. They should throttle the Owls until midway through the third quarter, when the bench begins to be emptied. It’s even worse for Temple than it looks, because they’ve lost their star quarterback, Adam DiMichele, for the season. His replacement, Vaughn Charlton, is known toÂ be quite immobile.
Things are more even, as one would expect, when the Penn State offense has the ball. The mediocre PSU offense is ranked #56, while Temple is ranked #55 in total defense. Looking at these stats is somewhat deceptive, as Temple ranks #77 in rushing defense whereas the Nittany Lions rank #30 in rushing offense. The Lions should be able to run on these Owls all day long. Remarkably, Penn State is #76 in passing offense versus Temple’s #28, a flip-flop vis-a-vis the running situation.
This Turkey is of the opinion that Joe Paterno and his boys will not want to put the big hurt on Temple. I’m looking for a boring ground game from the Lions and a BBDB defense that can give us the usual scares. I couple of screwups here and there with penalties, turnovers, and red zone ineptitude in general can turn this presumably easy win into a nightmare, by which I mean that the game will not be decided by the second quarter. I am hoping that the Lions open it up early and grab a quick lead, but my fear is that they’ll come out with the intent of grinding it out and revert to beginning of season form, in which they don’t get started until the second quarter.
We’ll be seeing a plethora of clean jerseys in this one if Penn State can jump out to an early lead. The risk there is that Temple will hang around the entire game. I don’t expect starters to be playing very much in the second half. Save them for the all-important Moo U. game, which could mean the difference between the Valero Alamo Bowl and the Champ’s Sports Bowl. (BFD!)
The gambling line is 24 points, with Penn State favored, and the over/under at this time is 46.5. If the money votes are accurate, it would point to about a 35-12 Nittany Lions win.
This brings us to the Official Turkey Poop Prediction for this week. I think Temple will be held to three points in the first half, while the Lions rack up 27. In the second half, the PSU defense will loosen up, and the offensive play calling will grow more conservative. Temple could well win the second half, but they won’t. Alas, it will be hard for them to surmount the first half deficit. Penn State 44, Temple 13.