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Penn State survives Temple 22-13

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Penn State needed five field goals, a stout defense and a late drive to hold off the upset-minded Temple Owls Saturday afternoon at Beaver Stadium. Evan Royster led the way for an unsteady Nittany Lion offense with 187 yards on the ground.

Penn State 22 – Temple 13
The Penn State Nittany Lions welcomed the Temple Owls to Happy Valley fresh off of their new seven-year contract to continue the non-conference rivalry. The Owls took control in the first half, but lost running back Bernard Pierce at halftime and never recovered, going scoreless in the second half. Penn State's freshman quarterback Robert Bolden could not find the end zone until a clutch 96-yard drive in the fourth quarter ended with a Michael Zordich one-yard touchdown run to put the game away. It was not pretty, but Penn State got the big drive when the team needed it the most and got a win in a game that could have been a trap as they get ready to start their Big 10 schedule in Iowa next week. The win extended Penn State’s win streak over Temple to 28.

The teams exchanged scores in the first quarter with the Lions getting their first of five field goals from Collin Wagner and the Owls Pierce scoring two rushing touchdowns around another Wagner FG. Temple went to the half with a 13-9 lead, but losing Pierce hurt as their running game was no longer a weapon, and the team had to rely on quarterback Chester Stewart and an anemic passing attack.

On the ground:
Penn State's Evan Royster ran 26 times and finished with 187 yards. Pierce had 42 yards on 10 carries and both of Temple’s touchdowns before a knee injury sidelined him for the rest of the game. Zordich put the game away with his one-yard touchdown run late in the fourth quarter.

Through the air: Bolden had no touchdowns, but also did not turn the ball over and was just efficient enough to get the team much-needed field goals until the big scoring drive. He finished 18-of-28 for 223 yards. Temple's Stewart threw three interceptions and completed only 8-of-18 passes.

The Lions defense struggled early, but dug in and held Temple scoreless after the first quarter. Losing Pierce helped the Lions' defense, but they had four interceptions and kept the game close until the offense could catch up.

Wagner finished with five field goals on six tries and was the only offense the Nittany Lions could muster until the fourth quarter. The Owls had a bad snap on the PAT attempt after their second touchdown and failed to convert, and the wheels started to fall off shortly after the botched extra point.

Game Ball
Collin Wagner’s five goals were huge, but Royster’s 187 yards took the pressure off of Bolden. Royster had only 110 yards on the season through three games, so this was the kind of game he needed with the big showdown with Iowa looming.

Next Up
The Nittany Lions start the Big 10 schedule with a game in Iowa against the Hawkeyes. The Lions will look to defeat Iowa for the first time in three seasons. The game is a primetime game at 8pm on ABC.

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