TNL said: Nothing. (I spent Friday chasing a little white ball around and therefore did not get my preview done)
Actual Score: 31-6 (PSU)
Ok, so the craptastic part of the schedule is over and it's time to start playing for real. Temple served a purpose and that was to get Penn State's confidence back in the running game. Royster looked like the back of old and the defense kept things under wraps yet again.
You can't help but walk away from this game with a very uneasy feeling, though. The offense can't get things in synch. One week the passing game is on fire and the running game sucks and then the next week the opposite's true. What do we really know about the defense after playing three cupcakes? We know nothing about the secondary yet. Freshman cornerback Stephon Morris received a lot of playing time but that might be due to necessity (flu) more than anything else. One thing's for sure, they better play a lot better this week or things won't be pretty.
While the passing game took a break this week it was Royster's day. Evan ran for 134 yards on 19 carries for an impressive 7.1 yards per carry. While not needed Daryll Clark did chip in with 167 yards passing and two touchdowns. What would you call his day? Workmanlike I guess? He did spread the ball around to 8 different receivers during his 16 completions.
Graham Zug left the game after taking a shot in the head fielding a punt in the second quarter which left room for true freshman receiver Curtis Drake. Drake did catch one ball for 10 yards but he also fumbled and lost 17 on a reverse, threw an incomplete pass on a trick play, and got called for a blocking in the back penalty that nullified a long touchdown pass. Let's just say it really wasn't his day. The offensive line did ok, run blocking well but Clark did get sacked twice. Johnnie Troutman started at left guard and did a good job for his first start.
We had one of those OH MY GOD THE SKY IS FALLING!!!11!! moments when Sean Lee was sidelined with an apparent minor injury. Everything seems to be ok and even though Lee came into the game with the flu it didn't stop him from putting up Big Ten Defensive player of the week numbers.
In the win over the Owls, he tallied his 14th career double figure tackle game. A co-captain, Lee recorded 2.5 tackles for losses (minus-12), including his second sack of the season in the first quarter.
Josh Hull had another steady game recording 13 tackles, 1.5 TFL and broke up a pass. I'm very impressed with Hull's play this year he's somewhat of a pleasant surprise.
The defensive line did its normal terrorizing thing, both Odrick and Crawford picked up sacks and Ogbu forced a fumble. Crawford was pretty much mayhem the entire day even if the numbers didn't show it. He's getting better and better with time. Temple did manage 251 yards of offense but only 46 of that was on the ground.
That brings us to the not-so-special, special teams. Kick coverage is pretty bad against crappy competition and blocking is worse. As mentioned before, Graham Zug got knocked out returning a punt and Devon Smith didn't fare much better on his only kickoff return. The blocking is just not there.
On the bright side Collin Wagner converted his only field goal attempt and Jeremy Boone averaged 47.8 yards per punt on his four punts but the kick coverage just stinks. Right now PSU is 118th in the nation on kickoff returns. That's not going to get it done.
So now the cupcakes are done and it's time to get to the real meat and potatoes of the schedule. Iowa has a very tough defense and they come into the game with an identical 3-0 record. They had a slight scare against UNI in week one but they blew out their next two opponents. There will be some revenge on Penn State's mind so I would think that motivation won't be a problem. Oh by the way it's an 8:00 primetime start and College GameDay will be there, not that it's a big deal or anything. I would expect this to be a very hard fought close Big Ten slugfest. Even without their best running back, Iowa will be a very dangerous team. Hopefully, the Lions will be ready.