Hey, Wha Happen? Penn State 24, Temple 13

September 22, 2012; University Park, PA, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions quarterback Matthew McGloin (11) drops back to pass in the second half in the game against the Temple Owls at Beaver Stadium. Penn State defeated Temple 24-13. Mandatory Credit: Rob Christy-US PRESSWIRE

Dear Casual Penn State fan,

If you aren't watching this team, then you're a moron.

Regards,

bscaff

Not so long ago, I wished for a quick kick when Penn State faced 3rd and 6+. A good, solid, rolling punt might get our defense another long field. And, if we backed the opponent up far enough, and the student section was loud enough, we might get a safety - or a turnover, with a chance for a scoop and score.

But in 2012, with four new offensive linemen, and four new tight ends, and five new wideouts, and five new running backs - almost all of whom were on last year's squad, by the way - I see 3rd and 7 and laugh. Heck, I see 4th and 5, and scream go for it. Not that I have to scream 'go for it', mind you. Bill O'Brien made that decision two snaps ago, and already has his play in mind. He doesn't need a timeout to think it over, or call his punter off the field.

I bought and own all of the conventional football wisdom: good defense and a strong running game; control the ball, control the clock; and, of course, games are more often lost than won. And it's not like Bill O'Brien ignores those maxims - until this Temple game, Penn State was one of the least penalized teams in major college football. But he seems to have added his own: let's go win.

Steve Addazzio, down 18 points in the 3rd quarter, on the road, with 4th and 5 at the Penn State 40, played it 'safe' and punted. Bill O'Brien, tied 0 - 0 in the first quarter, with 4th and 5 at the Temple 40, tried to win. It worked out, with Allen Robinson hauling in a McGloin pass for a touchdown. Maybe next time it won't work. But if it doesn't, so what. Go win the next play.

Bill O'Brien doesn't coach scared. Man, do I love it.

Three Completely Random and Probably Useless Thoughts

1) That was the worst officiated game I've seen since 2005 Michigan. Good Lord fellas - let the guys play the game. You whacked Penn State with nine accepted penalties, almost equaling the total they had through the first three games combined. The offensive pass interference call against TE Carter was horrendous. The personal foul against the Temple safety for a hit on TE Carter was putrid. Here's a pro tip guys - you can throw a flag on every play if you want to. But don't.

2) Matt McGloin, that was one hell of a game. Temple, as expected, threw every blitz and stunt they had in their playbook at you. You had defenders coming from every direction except behind you. Last year that spelled disaster. But this year all you did was complete 67% of your passes for 318 yards, one passing TD, and two rushing TDs. Even the announcer, the mostly awesome Ed Cunningham, was giving you a spot in an NFL training camp. I tip my Penn State Wrestling cap in your direction.

3) By my count, if you're on Bill O'Brien's extended 2-deep, you're playing meaningful snaps every Saturday. Now that Ty Howle has returned, Penn State uses 9 - nine - offensive linemen. It doesn't matter what the score or situation is, as far as I can tell. Zack Zwinak, running back number 5 on the season, carried 18 times for almost 100 yards. Four different tight ends - or five, if you count Paul Jones - have caught passes. Five different receivers have a catch. That's 24 guys - and only six of them are seniors: Stank, Farrell, Zordich, McGloin, Day, and Howle. Penn State (hopefully) returns 18 letter winners on offense next season.


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