I know that title is somewhat of an oxymoron, but it's true. Tomorrow when you pick up your Sunday paper the headline is going to tell you "Penn State struggled", and Joe Paterno almost suffered his most embarrassing loss of his career. But let's look at a few statistics, and then I'll tell you why the score does not reflect how well Penn State dominated this game.
- Penn State outgained Temple 439 yards to 202 yards.
- Evan Royster rushed for 187 yards on 24 carries
- Robert Bolden completed 18-of-28 passes for 223 yards with no interceptions
- Temple quarterback Chester Stewart completed 8-of-19 passes for 46 yards and 3 INT
- Penn State had 20 first downs to Temple's 8
- Penn State forced four turnovers and only gave up the ball once.
- Penn State ran 74 offensive plays to Temple's 51
Looking at those stats it's hard to figure out how Penn State could possibly be losing late in the third quarter and only win the game by nine points. Now look at these statistics.
- Penn State converted just 6-of-17 third downs into first downs.
- Penn State had five chances in the redzone. They came away with three field goals and one touchdown.
And that is how you dominate and stuggle at the same time. I'll have to go back and watch the game again so I can give an explaination for the redzone stuggles. (I actually missed the first half entirely so I could take my son to a birthday party. I love this stage of life where I have to go to Chuck-e-Cheese or Bounce U every weekend. Actually, not really.)
But for now, don't go into meltdown mode. They got the running game going today. The offense moved the ball and the defense looked pretty nasty outside of a few lapses. Special teams came through with some big plays. This team isn't that far off from being really good. If they tighten up their redzone execution and convert three of those field goals into touchdowns they win by three touchdowns today.
All of that being said, Big Ten play starts next week. Moral victories won't cut it in Iowa.