5 storylines: PSU vs. Temple


Every week, NittanyNation takes a look at five storylines that stand out: What should fans keep an eye on? What's the bigger picture? What might be on display Saturday?

Here are NittanyNation's Week 4 storylines:

1. Temple hasn't beaten PSU since 1941. The Nittany Lions are 29-0-1 in the last 30 meetings, but the last two contests have been close. Penn State won on the road last season, 14-10, and won at Beaver Stadium the year before, 22-13. Temple's getting better and Penn State started off slow. Can this be the first time in 71 years the Owls get the win?

2. Lots of turnovers. Temple caused four takeaways in its last game; Penn State caused four in each of its last two games. Both seem to be focusing on knocking the ball loose and recovering fumbles. This could be a great defensive battle ... and not a pretty offensive one.

3. Carousel of running backs. Round and round they go, who'll start this week only Bill O'Brien knows. O'Brien acknowledged backup Derek Day was ahead of starter Bill Belton in terms of injury recovery -- and Day has a separated shoulder. That means this week's running duties will likely fall on Curtis Dukes, who missed the spring with academic issues, and fullback Michael Zordich.

4. Temple's "Tim Tebow"-style offense vs. PSU's strong rushing defense. Some of Penn State's defensive players have compared this offense's style to the one used in Florida with Tebow. However, Penn State completely shut down run-first Navy quarterback Trey Miller -- and Temple's Chris Coyer could struggle rushing. Temple has passed the ball once for about every three times it's run this season, and the Nittany Lions' weakness remains the secondary. Will Temple try to change its gameplan here to attack Penn State's Achilles' heel or will it try to rely on what it does best?

5. Opposite special teams. Penn State kicker Sam Ficken has nailed just 20 percent of his field goals and 77 percent of his extra points. Temple's kicker has done the opposite, going 4-for-5 and showing a good leg, with 73 percent of his kickoffs going for touchbacks. Brandon McManus is reportedly on some NFL teams' radars, while Ficken is trying to bust out of one of the worst three-game kicking slumps in PSU history.