Penn State vs. Temple “Inside the Numbers”
Notes: Penn State won this game last year in Happy Valley by a score of 30-13. Penn State has not lost to Temple since 1941. In the last 4 victories over the Owls, the Nittany Lions have won by an average margin of victory of 10.2 points per game.
The Nittany Lions have won four of the last five season openers by an average margin of victory of 18 points per game. However, in the last two seasons, the margin has been 6 and 2 points respectively both on neutral field sites (Syracuse at Met Life, UCF in Ireland). The combined record of Penn State’s 7 wins last year was 39-36. In order for Penn State to have a successful 2015 campaign, the offensive line must rebound after a lackluster year in 2014. The unit allowed 44 sacks which ranked 119th of 128 teams in FBS. Christian Hackenberg was rattled all season and will need a clean pocket to excell this year. The lack of a running game hurt the offensive line as well. The Nittany Lions averaged 102 rushing yards per game which forced third down and long situations and made Penn State one dimensional. The team ranked 117th in the country as a unit and the prior six seasons had never rushed for under 143 yards per game.
Defensively, Penn State was -5 in turnover margin and allowed 18.6 points per game. The Nittany Lions allowed 100 rushing yards per game and 178 passing yards per game. The team ranked 3rd in the nation in rushing defense and 9th overall in passing defense.
Temple struggled to put up points offensively in 2014 averaging 23.1 points per game. Quarterback PJ Walker is a dual threat (13 TD’s passing, 3 TD’s rushing) and has the ability to take over a game (2,317 passing yards). In 2014, the Owls did not have consistency running the football and averaged 108 rushing yards per game which ranked 115th in the nation. The Owls have 9 starters back on offense and the team will look to get their 2015 season off in a big way with a victory over the Nittany Lions.
Defensively, the Temple has ten starters returning to a defense that was very solid in 2014. The Owls were +3 in turnover margin and allowed 17.5 points per game. The Owls gave up 160 rushing yards per game and 186 passing yards per game which ranked 13th best in the country last year. Temple had 27 sacks overall as a defensive unit and is led by a very active and physcial linebacker in Tyler Matakevich. In their six victories in 2014, the defense allowed 9 points per game. In the team’s six losses they allowed 26 points per game.
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Joseph Lisi a former ABC Sports college football researcher, is the owner of www.GOFORTHE2.COM. He is a member if the FWAA (Football Writers Association Of America), Maxwell Football Club and is currently the content editor at www.2FiveSports.com. He contributes regularly to www.Sid-Rosenberg.com and has been a featured guest every Tuesday night from 10:30-11:30pm EST on Yahoo Sports Radio With Ken Thomson (www.sportsxradio.com).
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