Temple Owls (3-0 SU, 2-1 ATS) vs. Penn State Nittany Lions (2-1 SU, 1-1 ATS), Week 4 College Football, 3:30 p.m. EST, Saturday, September 25, 2010, Beaver Stadium, University Park, Pa.
by Ryno of Predictem.com
Betting Odds: Temple +14/PSU -14
Over/Under Total: 43
Temple and Penn State have put together what can be classified as a rivalry, but the Owls can never beat the Nittany Lions, so it’s hard to really call it a rivalry with how one-sided it is. But if there is ever a year when Temple has a chance at all to win at Penn State, this is the year. The Owls are 3-0 with one of the top running backs in the country and are coming off a 30-16 win over UConn, while Penn State is 2-1 with a freshman quarterback.
Penn State started the season with an easy 44-14 win over Youngstown State. But the warning signs began there after a normally dominant PSU defense gave up two touchdowns to Youngstown State. The next week, the Nittany Lions couldn’t hang with No. 1 Alabama, as they lost the game, 24-3. But they rebounded last week with a 24-0 shutout victory over Kent State.
In the win over Kent State, the PSU defense was dominant but the offense wasn’t very good at all. The Nittany Lions intercepted two passes and held Kent State to 58 rushing yards and 170 passing yards. But they committed three turnovers. Freshman QB Robert Bolden was 17-for-27 for 217 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions. The Nittany Lions ran for 162 yards and averaged 4.1 yards per carry as a team.
For the season thus far, Bolden has 600 passing yards, three touchdowns and five interceptions while completing 58.8 percent of his passes. Evan Royster, who was expected to be one of the better running backs in the Big Ten this season, only has 110 rush yards and a touchdown through three games. His backup RB Stephfon Green has 104 yards and a touchdown. WR Derek Moye leads the way in the receiving department with 12 catches for 217 yards.
Temple started the season by nearly losing to FCS rival Villanova for the second straight season. But the Owls made the key plays in the final minutes of the fourth quarter to escape with a 31-24 victory. Then, the Owls nearly lost to Central Michigan but escaped with a 13-10 win in overtime on a 30-yard field goal by kicker Brandon McManus. Last week, the Owls put together their most impressive performance with a 30-16 win over UConn. Star RB Bernard Pierce, who split carries with Matt Brown in the first two games and wasn’t incredible productive, put together an incredible performance against UConn with 26 carries for 169 yards and two rushing touchdowns and a 27-yard touchdown reception. QB Chester Stewart was 11-for-21 for 159 yards and a touchdown.
Pierce has 301 rushing yards and three rushing touchdowns through three games while averaging 5.4 yards per carry. Stewart has 510 passing yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions and is completing 61.4 percent of his pass attempts.
Temple’s offense revolves around Pierce and the offensive line. The Owls have a very good offensive line that opens up holes for Pierce to run through. Stewart is not a very good QB but he usually keeps things simple with short, low-risk throws. The Owls also have a very good defense that keeps them in games. Neither offense is high-powered, so expect a low-scoring defensive-orientated game with a lot of running plays by both teams.
Temple is 5-1 ATS in its last six non-conference games, 5-1 ATS in its last six September games, and 5-1 ATS in its last six road games. Penn State is 5-1 ATS in its last six games following an ATS win but 1-7 ATS in its last eight games in September. The over is 4-0 in Temple’s last four road games and 9-2 in its last 11 games overall. The under is 6-0 in PSU’s last six non-conference games, 5-0 in its last six games vs. the MAC, 6-1 in its last seven September games, and 5-1 in its last six home games. The under is 4-1 in the last five meetings between these teams. Penn State is 6-2 ATS in its last eight games against Temple.
Ryno’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: I like the Owls to keep it close. PSU will likely win this game but a straight-up upset wouldn’t surprise me here.