PHILADELPHIA — Prior to kickoff yesterday, the Temple Owls played the theme from “Rocky” a movie about an underdog Philadelphia boxer who goes the distance against the heavyweight champion but loses.
Temple followed that script yesterday — they went the distance, but lost in the end.
Penn State traveled to the city of brotherly love for its annual tilt against “in-state Rival” Temple. The game set the art of quarterback back by generations. Despite that, the Nittany Lions converted a fourth quarter Mike Gerardi interception by Michael Mauti into the decisive touchdown drive.
[flickr : Photos from the set Penn State 14 Temple 10/slideshow]
Rob Bolden started and finished for Penn State. He did not play particularly well outside of the final drive of the game. I believe the next time he checks down will be the first. He was lucky to escape the day with merely one interception. He threw behind his receivers throughout the day. He has the physical tools to be a good quarterback, but has yet to put them together. He did not run against the Owls like he did against the Alabama Crimson Tide last week. I have a feeling he was advised not to run. To his credit, he converted 2 fourth downs on the decisive drive.
Matt McGloin also played quarterback for PSU, alternating with Bolden at intervals we could not determine. Unlike Bolden, McGloin did check down from time to time instead of just looking at the same receiver for the whole play. He led one touchdown drive and had a would-be touchdown pass to Derek Moye called back due to a holding penalty. He made a bad throw into double-coverage in the end zone after a turnover. I understand going long in that situation, but McGloin tried to make a throw that wasn’t there.
Moye had over 100 yards receiving, but frustrated me. He dropped a catchable pass from Bolden early and got out-muscled for a would be TD in the first half. I think Moye runs routes well, but isn’t terribly strong doesn’t have great hands. He has trouble catching Bolden’s throws, but not McGloin’s.
Silas Redd alternated with Brandon Beachum as the feature back. I am not sure why, Redd is a more dangerous back. Beachum might be more powerful, but I think Redd should be getting more of the carries.
Michael Zordich came up big for the Nittany Lions late. He recovered a fumbled snap (gaining a yard) late, deep in Temple territory and then ran in for the winning touchdown. Zordich is a force near the goal line.
On the defensive side of the ball, the team as undisciplined on the first drive of the game. Temple marched down the field, overcoming defensive line pressure and taking advantage of over-pursuit. After that drive, the defense settled down, so it was a rather typical Tom Bradley defense — trouble early, followed by adjustments that work.
The defensive line and linebackers limited Temple’s great running back Bernard Pierce to well under 100 yards. They were able to frustrate him and the Owls attack. Gerardi, who played well in the first half was replaced at quarterback by Chester Stewart, an inexplicable decision by Temple. While Stewart is a bigger threat to run, he scares nobody with his passing. Penn State took advantage and some scrambles did lead to first down, Stewart was simply not going to march the Owls down the field against the Penn State defense.
Mauti, who had six tackles (3 TFL) and the game changing interception still continues to run past the play on blitzes, but is clearly emerging as the heart and soul of the defense. He made things happen and would not let Penn State lose. The defensive game ball goes to him.
The linebacker rotation was in heavy use during yesterday’s game.
The defensive intercepted Gerardi twice in the fourth quarter. They came to play and did not get discouraged. Good for them. The season rides on their ability to keep games close, because the offense will not blow out anyone good.
2 field goals were missed out right (one hit the upright) and another was blocked. Really.
A punt was also blocked.
Penn State had trouble containing Temple return game.
I’d say fire the special teams coach, but there isn’t one. Just dreadful. It will cost Penn State a game this season.
Mike McQueary, the wide receivers coach, has the unenviable task of being the only offensive coach on the field during the game. He has to relay the play calls the multi-tiered playcalling system (Galen Hall and Jay Paterno with occasional insight from Joe Paterno), rally the offense, get the proper quarterback in the game and more. Just a difficult position for him to be in.
I thought he playcalling was terrible, by the way. It was as if they wanted to make it even harder for which quarterback happened to be in the game at the time. There was no rhyme or reason to most of the offensive plan. The indecisiveness about the QBs is hurting the team. I suppose the problem is that Bolden has not distinguished itself from McGloin is perhaps most troubling. I don’t think either is very good — Bolden has more upside, McGloin seems to understand the position better. Maddening.
AT THE GAME
Unlike 2007, this trip to Philly was not in front of a full house. I think about 58,000 out of 69,000 tickets were sold. The $60 and $70 price tag on tickets probably discouraged a lot of Penn Staters. Temple showed up more this time, including a record setting 10,000+ students. Temple fans were fired up for this one and nearly got rewarded for it. That had to have been soul-crushing.
Temple’s band literally writhed on the ground during their halftime show.
The Pennsylvania State University Blue Band was there and performed their standard road game half-time show of Penn State songs. It was great to see them. I also saw the feature twirler, a dude, perform for the first time. He was good, but it just isn’t the same as a blue sapphire.
Temple students had the amazing cheer of “We are” followed by “F(owl head) You” on t-shirts. Another one had the old Penn State font spell out “We aren'(Temple T logo)” which meant “we aren’t Temple?”
The field was in great shape and the end zones were painted this time.
I did not have any of the $7.25 aluminum bottle beers. I had a pulled pork BBQ from a cart though, not bad. Oh and split a Pepsi with my wife.
We couldn’t find 2thelion tailgate 🙁