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September 22, 2012

BWI Staff Picks 'Em: Temple

Can the Nittany Lions head into the Big Ten season with another win Saturday afternoon against an up-and-coming Temple program?

Find out who are we picking to win this weekend, and by how much, right here:

Nate Bauer
Blue White Illustrated Web Editor
2012 Record - 1-2

This is an important one for Penn State, if only because this is a Temple team that Penn State is better than and should beat. The Nittany Lions started the season off on the wrong foot with the losses to Ohio and Virginia, both games that could have been victories. After soundly taking down Navy last week, this team can't afford to take another step back with a lapse and a loss against the Owls.

When I say that Penn State is better than this Temple team, it's not to say that the Owls don't have strengths. Between Chris Coyer, Matt Brown and Montel Harris, these guys can carry the football, and are guaranteed to have some type of success there, regardless of how well Penn State's front seven plays. That said, the Owls' passing game is not good, so Penn State's shaky secondary won't have to face much of a test there. Throw in Temple's troubles staying healthy on the interior of its offensive line and it matches up perfectly for Penn State's strength at defensive tackle.

Meanwhile, for Penn State offensively, with the running backs hurting, the fact that Temple is so weak in the secondary is another huge benefit. Matt McGloin should be able to throw the ball successfully, and don't be surprised to see O'Brien opt to air it out a few times, preying on the Owls' safeties.

If the Nittany Lions want to take some confidence and strength into the Big Ten schedule, this is an obvious must-win. For all of the reasons I stated above, I think this afternoon will be exactly that for Penn State.

Penn State - 24
Temple - 13

Ryan Snyder
Blue White Illustrated Recruiting Analyst
2012 Record - 2-1

Temple was a tough out last year at Lincoln Financial Field. Anyone that was in attendance that day remembers how tough that was to watch, and that's why I think Penn State will show no mercy against the Owls this weekend.
Earlier in the week, I'll admit, I was thinking this was going to be tougher than most expect, but then I looked at Temple's past two games against Villanova and Maryland, two teams I believe are not as talented as the Nittany Lions.
I'll spare you the statistics here, but basically I think it all comes down to Temple's defensive and offensive lines, which in my opinion, will be the mismatch this week. Penn State's defensive front seven is getting better and better each each, while the offensive line should allow Penn State to take an early lead and never look back.
I think McGloin continues to impress, look for another two touchdown performance out of him. If the rushing game was ever going to get going before Big Ten play, this would clearly be the week for that. I think Dukes will do some good things, but Penn State will still lack the home run threat of busting out a long run.
The defense will do what a Penn State defense is supposed to do. My biggest question mark is still what will happen in the kicking game. Hopefully, O'Brien will give Ficken the type of chip shots he skipped out on last week. I think it's all about building Ficken's confidence the rest of the year. We know he's not making anything over 35-40 yards anytime soon, so give him the chip shots and start building his confidence for the next few years.
Penn State - 35
Temple - 13

Tim Owen
Blue White Illustrated Assistant Editor
2012 Record - 1-2

This isn't the same Temple team that pushed Penn State to the edge in Philadelphia last year, 14-10. Gone to the NFL are running back Benard Pierce and defensive standouts Adrian Robinson, Muhammad Wilkerson and Tahir Whitehead, leaving Steve Addazio with a roster full of inexperience and youth.

But the cupboards aren't completely empty and this team has taken on the hard-nosed identity of its head coach. Matt Brown is a threat anytime he totes the rock, especially on special teams, and newcomer Montel Harris hasn't shown much, but Penn State fans better hope he doesn't showcase his coming-out party at Beaver Stadium Saturday. He could be a headache for the Nittany Lion front seven, but only if this banged up, young Owl offensive line coheres, which I don't think will happen with Jordan Hill and DaQuan Jones breathing down their necks.

Shutting down the rushing attack is key for the Nittany Lion defense, because Temple's passing game is the second worst among all FBS programs. Really, the Owls don't throw often, so it should be a quiet day for the secondary, other than run support, but the defensive backs can't become complacent. When Temple does throw, they throw it deep. Five different Owl receivers average greater than 10 yards per catch.

On offense, expect a heavy dose of Matt McGloin with Bill Belton and Derek Day still nagged by injuries. If McGloin continues his rate of improvement, there's no reason why he shouldn't throw the ball 35 times or more against this porous secondary. The offense's main concern should be Nate D. Smith, a redshirt freshman middle linebacker. He's leading the team in tackles, has forced three fumbles and plays sideline-to-sideline.

Matt Stankiewitch and the interior of the offensive line, however, are playing strong football and should be able to neutralize the threat for the offense to put up three touchdowns.

Penn State - 21
Temple - 10

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