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Temple pulls stunner over Penn State 27-10

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Jahad Thomas ran for 137 yards and two touchdowns, the Owls defense registered 10 sacks and Temple knocked off Penn State 27-10 in Philadelphia on Saturday afternoon.

The Nittany Lions decided to go on defense first by deferring the opening kickoff. Highlighted by Brandon Bell blowing up a screen to Robby Anderson, the Nittany Lion defense forced a quick three-and-out.

The first play for the Penn State offense was an explosive one, as Brandon Polk took an end-around for 32 yards to Temple’s 38-yard-line. Quarterback Christian Hackenberg, looking to rebound from a frustrating sophomore campaign, managed to get the team down to the 17 but a broken-up pass intended for Geno Lewis forced a 34-yard field goal attempt by Joey Julius, putting Penn State up 3-0 with 10:47 remaining in the first quarter.

The defense forced another quick three-and-out and the offense wasted no time getting back to work. An 18-yard bullet from Hackenberg to Charles Goodwin set up a 42-yard touchdown dash by Akeel Lynch. A successful extra point attempt pushed the lead to 10-0 with 6:34 remaining in the first.

That would be the last time PSU saw the end zone.

The teams proceeded to trade three-and-out drives before the Owls finally managed to record their initial first down of the game, a 13-yard completion from P.J. Walker to John Christopher, with 26 seconds left in the first quarter. Temple would not doing anything with that first down, however, as Penn State held on 3-and-1 at midfield to force a punt.

Penn State’s ensuing possession was marred by sacks, something fans were all too familiar with last season. Hackenberg was sacked twice, which led to a three-and-out.

The defense quickly got the ball back for the offense, however, as a forced fumble set the Nittany Lions up at the Temple 43. Despite this, Hackenberg squandered the opportunity by taking another sack and then missing a wide-open DaeSean Hamilton down the sideline.

Even though a punt pinned the Owls down deep in their own territory, PSU allowed them to march 93 yards on their way to a touchdown, narrowing PSU’s lead to three with 2:25 remaining in the half. Running back Jahad Thomas accounted for 54 yards and the score.

After a promising kick return by Koa Farmer set the Nittany Lions up at their own 37, a holding penalty and two incompletions forced another punt. Rather than attempting to possibly tie or take the lead, Temple played conservatively and allowed the clock to run out, going into halftime trailing 10-7.

A 16-yard run by Lynch opened up the third quarter for PSU, but two runs of less than two yards and an incompletion forced another punt. From there both teams again traded three-and-outs before Temple again began driving.

A 20-yard completion to Christopher and trick play that resulted in a gain of 25 quickly put the Owls into Penn State territory. The drive stalled at Penn State’s 23-yard-line but a 40-yard field goal by Austin Jones tied the game at 10 with 6:23 remaining in the third.

Temple’s fifth sack of Hackenberg on a delayed A-gap blitz by Tyler Matakevich forced another three-and-out. Things only got worse for the junior signal caller, as an interception set up Temple inside the Penn State 5. A zone-read run by Walker gave the Owls their first lead of the afternoon, 17-10, with 1:00 remaining in the third.

The fourth quarter brought more of the same, as the next PSU possession would conclude with Hackenberg getting sacked for the sixth time on a two-man rush.

Temple then delivered yet another blow by blasting through PSU’s defense on way to a five-play, 50-yard touchdown drive. Thomas collected his second score of the day by bouncing to the outside and rumbling 24 yards into endzone, putting the Owls up 24-10 with 11:14 remaining in the fourth quarter.

The seventh sack of Hackenberg occurred shortly after, and another Temple drive down into PSU territory resulted in a 40-yard field goal by Jones, making it 27-10 Temple with 5:41 remaining.

Sack No. 8 and a failed 4-and-22 attempt gave the ball back to Temple on the PSU 39-yard-line with less than five minutes remaining. After running the clock, the Owls turned the ball over on downs to the Nittany Lions with 1:16 remaining.

Two sacks later and the clock ticked down to zero, giving Temple its first win over Penn State since 1941.

Penn State managed just 182 total yards compared to Temple’s 315. Hackenberg finished the game going 11-of-25 for 103 yards and an interception; he was sacked 10 times. Lynch carried the ball 12 times for 83 yards and one touchdown while Thomas rushed 29 times for 137 yards and two scores for Temple.

Penn State will be back in action next Saturday when they take on Buffalo in its home-opener.

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