A year removed from a loss to Penn State in Happy Valley, the Owls attracted 69,029 to Lincoln Financial Field for their highly-anticipated rematch with the Nittany Lions Saturday.
Despite playing in front of the largest home crowd in the program’s history, the Owls exited the field Saturday with the same empty feeling they had after their loss last November.
For the second consecutive season, the Owls were held scoreless in a 31-0 loss to No. 25 Penn State (8-3, 4-3 Big Ten Conference).
Unlike last year’s game, which Temple lost 47-0, the Owls (3-7, 3-3 Mid-American Conference) were able to move the ball past midfield several times against the Lions’ defense.
But, in the end, the outcome remained the same.
And once again, the protege couldn’t beat the mentor.
“You have to make plays,” coach Al Golden said. Golden played under Penn State coach Joe Paterno from 1989 to 1991. He also served as the linebackers coach for the Lions in 2000.
“If you want to beat that team, you have to make plays,” Golden said.
The Owls squandered several opportunities to make plays that could’ve put points on the board during the first half.
Red-shirt sophomore kicker Jake Brownell missed a 23-yard field goal after the Owls marched 69 yards down the field on the opening possession of the game.
At the start of the second quarter, a fake field goal attempt resulted in a turnover on downs after freshman tight end Matt Balasavage dropped a potential touchdown pass in the end zone.
Two trick plays involving double pitches were also unsuccessful, including one that was fumbled on the Lions’ 10-yard line by junior wide receiver Bruce Francis with 8:33 left in the first half.
“Temple started well and had a couple of shots at it and they didn’t get them,” Lions coach Joe Paterno said. “…They did some things that really hurt them.”
On the opposite side of the field, Lions running back Rodney Kinlaw left the Owls defense in pain.
The 5-foot-9, 199-pound junior hammered the Owls for 180 yards on 27 carries.
“He’s gotten now where he’s more disciplined, smarter, seeing things better and it’s nice to see a kid who works as hard as he does have some success,” Paterno said.
The Lions were also led by quarterback Anthony Morelli, who went 22-for-33 passing for 260 yards and three touchdowns. Morelli connected with junior wide receiver Jordan Norwood on two touchdown passes that gave the Lions a 14-0 advantage at the end of the first quarter.
Morelli’s counterpart, Vaughn Charlton, went 26-for-43 for 238 yards, notching career highs in completions, attempts and yardage. The sophomore quarterback completed 17-of-25 passes for 175 yards in the first half.
“Our gameplan going into the game was to get rid of the ball fast and get rid of the Penn State blitz,” Charlton said.
But the pressure eventually got to Charlton, who was sacked three times in the second half. The Lions finished the game with four sacks and held the Owls to four yards rushing. Senior linebacker Dan Connor led the Lions with 14.5 tackles.
“Nobody can block them,” Golden said. “That’s a good defense.”
Tyson McCloud can be reached at Tyson@temple.edu.