1941. It had its ups and downs. Baseball fans were enthralled with DiMaggio's 56-game hitting streak and Ted Williams's chase for .400. Yet, at the end of the year, Americans once again had to prepare for war after Pearl Harbor was attacked. It was also the last year a Temple team has beaten Penn State. On October 18, 1941, Hall of Fame coach Ray Morrison led an Owls team to a victory over the Nittany Lions in Philadelphia, 14-0. Will Steve Addazio be able to lead Temple to their first win against in 71 years? Here's what the staff of Black Shoe Diaries thinks:
Jared: During the offseason, I thought there was a very good chance that this was finally the year Temple would end their decades-long losing streak against Penn State. The game was too close for comfort in 2010, and last year Penn State was very fortunate just to escape with a win. It just seemed like Temple had progressed to the point where they were finally ready to pull one off.
After doing some preseason research and realizing how inexperienced this year's Owls team is, I felt much more optimistic. Now that I have seen Penn State improve on both sides of the ball from week to week, I'm feeling pretty confident.
Temple will put up a fight, perhaps their best effort of the season. It's obvious this is a program that desperately wants a win in this series. But Penn State will have too many mismatches on both sides of the ball that will be more than the Owls can handle. Look for the defensive line to wreak havoc all day and Matt McGloin to spread the ball around and get some of the younger skill players more involved with the offense. It won't be the most impressive victory, but a satisfying win nonetheless.
Penn State 28 - Temple 14
Devon: Chris Coyer is the first good quarterback Temple's had since, like, ever. And the addition of Montel Harris makes the loss of Bernard Pierce sting a whole hell of a lot less. Penn State has struggled to put away Temple the last couple years, and the 2012 Owls' offense is almost certainly a sizeable improvement over the past few units. Going against a Nittany Lions' defense that's struggled mightily to get off the field, it's very fair to worry about just how Ted Roof will fail this week.
But come on. It's TEMPLE. Like death and taxes, a Penn State win is just inevitable. Even when the NCAA vacated all our wins from 1998-2011, they left those that came against Temple. Okay, fine, maybe they didn't, but they might as well have. This new Bill O'Brien offense has been efficient and dynamic and smart, and will take advantage of a very inexperienced Temple D. I pity the fool who's going up against Allen Robinson. And Penn State's defense, maligned though it has been, has been opportunistic and has forced turnovers, and has bent much but not been broken. Gerald Hodges and Mike Mauti had straight-up ridiculous games last week against Navy, and they'll keep that going Saturday. The special teams will, as has become their tendency, struggle mightily, but this game won't come down to it.
Penn State 31 - Temple 17
Nick: Maryland jumped out to a big lead on Temple and gave most of it back up. I can see a similar situation developing Saturday, with the secondary giving up huge chunks of yardage as the Owls keeps it closer than most are comfortable with. Penn State manages to win, but the "improvements" we've seen since week one are more the lack of successful conversion of opportunities by the opponents than the play of the defense in particular.
Penn State 27 - Temple 20
Ben: This game is so much more fun now that Temple has a pulse. In the 90's I remember this game having less importance than a showdown with Coastal Carolina. You listened more for the jokes from Frannie and George than the actual game because the game was over before kickoff.
Those were fun times. It wasn't till later that I heard Frannie tell the story about an intern fetching George another cup of coffee. The intern hurried back with the brew and handed it over. George choked on it and yelled 'This is coffee!'. Nothing like watching a game three fingers deep on the bourbon.
Oh yeah, prediction: I can't name three guys on Temple's roster, so that part hasn't changed. And neither will their result.
Penn State by 17
Tim: Forget about how bad Temple may have looked at times in their shocking loss to Maryland. Forget about how awful their "dual threat" QB Chris Coyer's passing % is (41). Forget about how lackluster the Owls' defense has been (the byproduct of losing several starters from last year). This is Temple's national championship game this weekend, and you can bet your ass they are revved up and ready to go after the bye week to try and end a winless drought dating back to Pearl Harbor.
With that being said, those aforementioned limitations, plus the fact that Temple's strength (running the football) plays right into the PSU defense's strength (stopping the run), will be the difference makers that allow PSU to come away victorious once again.
Penn State 31 - Temple 20
Dan: Temple ranks 88th in the nation on third down conversation rate at 35.7% and 122nd in passing, the two things that have plagued the Penn State defense this year. These are the good things that should outweigh the probable return of Montel Harris, the former 1st team all-ACC running back who previously ran for 1,200+ yards in consecutive seasons at Boston College. While Penn State's front seven has been dominant this year, it is important to remember that Ohio running back Beau Blankenship totaled 181 yards of total offense against the group in Week 1, so they aren't invincible.
With that being said, as many have stated, it's Temple. They blew out an FCS Villanova team and then lost to a Maryland team that lost to FCS opponent William & Mary by a score of 7-6 the week previous. You can vacate all the wins you want, but it still doesn't change the fact that the Owls haven't beaten Penn State since 1941. The fact will remain the same come Saturday night.
Penn State 31 - Temple 17