Two Pennsylvania BEHEMOTHS collide on Saturday as 5-4 Penn State takes on 5-4 Temple with bowl eligibility up for grabs. Other than the fact that both teams have a better record than Pitt, which is a great device for laughter, there isn't much to say about the teams that would be interesting or exciting. So, let's get to the picks.
Nick Polak: I feel like every time I predict these games, I try to lower my expectations for the offense even more. And every time, they underwhelm me. It's just not fair to expect more than one touchdown out of this team, unless John Donovan morphs into Lane Kiffin (say what you will, but that seam route to the 302 pound tight end was the most well-designed play this season). Thus, I see a touchdown on a wide receiver screen from Hack to Geno Lewis, and that's about it. And a pair of 30+ yarders for Lou Gro-sorry, Sam Ficken, of course.
Similar to the offense, I keep thinking the defense can't get any better, and they keep proving me wrong. I think they come out as fierce as ever this weekend, and keep the Owls off the scoreboard. Give me a sack each for Barnes, Zettel, and Sickels, and an interception for Marcus Allen off a tipped pass in the red zone.
Overall, it will be yet another excruciatingly boring game, but one that will lead Penn State fans to continue laughing at the hilariously childish Temple fans that chant about Penn State when they're not even playing each other. THAT'S how you get into somebody's head.
Penn State 13-0
Nick Page: PJ Walker is good, but the Penn State D is better. Until I'm shown something new, I'll continue to say that though the Penn State offense is bad, the defense is good enough to keep them in games; we saw this vs Ohio State, a much better team than Temple. So, though Walker is good, he's going against a great defense. Penn State's offense should get enough going against a lesser team to win somewhat easily against Temple.
Penn State 23-10
Matt: If you missed last week's game in Bloomington, just flip on ESPN2 this Saturday and you'll get the same thing, right down to the mind numbingly stupid TV announcing and red in Temple's uniforms. There may be a few more people in the stands, but otherwise, I expect much of the same.
Temple will struggle to do much of anything on the PSU defense (94th ranked rushing offense, 109th ranked passing offense), and with 19 turnovers, it would seem to be a safe bet to expect one of the top defenses in the country to force a couple more. Where the Owns have had had success is taking the ball away, and scoring off of those turnovers. They have 6 defensive scores, and another 3 on special teams. All told, they have forced 25 turnovers (17 fumbles, 8 interceptions). For a PSU offense that has turned it over 18 times in 9 games, ball security is going to be huge.
It's hard to pick Temple to score much of anything, given their offensive struggles, and the way the Lions defense is going. Hackenberg will hit a couple big plays to set up touchdowns, or at least a $am Ficken field goal, and the defense gets a score of their own.
Penn State 16-0
bscaff: My original thought here was Penn State 3, Temple 2. And, naturally, I thought of a scene from Monty Python's The Holy Grail where Sir Lancelot mistakenly murders half of a wedding party, apologizes, and the grooms father exclaims, "Let's not bicker and argue about who killed who". Replace "who killed who" with "who killed the offense", and you have the gist.
But you already understand that, because that's EXACTLY what everyone else is already thinking. And that's why I'm going a different route. The offense catches fire Saturday. Explosive plays deliver not 1, not 2, but 3 - THREE - touchdowns, all from beyond the red zone. Two more field goals cap the GREATEST OFFENSIVE OUTPUT OF THE YEAR (not counting the UMass hoax). Penn State wins, and earns a bowl date.
Penn State 27-0
Tim A: There's really not a whole lot to say that hasn't already been said. Both teams have struggling offenses going up against solid (or in PSU's case, one of the best in America's) defenses, so expect another ugly, deathly boring, low-scoring affair. Nonetheless, Hack is good for either a long TD pass or a long pass that sets up PSU's lone TD of the day. Sam Ficken takes care of the rest of the scoring and fittingly boots PSU into bowl eligibility by nailing all three of his field goals attempts.
Penn State 16-6
Ryan: It's a damn shame to say this will be a close game. It's going to be a lack of offensive execution again and the defense will play lights out plain and simple.
Penn State 19-7
Nikki: Hoping to see more of a football game and less of a punting contest this week. Expect the offense to get into field goal range a couple of times and hope for some big plays from Hack. Fully confident in the defense's ability to do its job.
Penn State 20-0
Nick Blonde: This game will probably eerily similar to last week's on the scoreboard as the Penn State offers up free points to the opposing team, meanwhile the defense continues to put the clamps down and repeatedly bails out the offense. Oh, but I'm going with a 99-yard touchdown play for the Nittany Lion offense as the outlier this week.
Penn State 16-7
Dan: You've seen this Penn State offense play nine times this year. You've seen this Penn State defense play nine times this year. Nothing is changing. Thankfully, Temple is not the team to overcome the D or take advantage of the John Donovan Dog and Pony Show.
Oh, and 1941.
Penn State 16-7
FROM THE PREVIEW:
Jared: Penn State 10-9
FROM THE PODCAST:
Bill: Penn State 12-7
Cari: Penn State 17-7
Adam: Penn State 16-13