3 Up, 3 Down: Penn State 24, Temple 13


STATE COLLEGE, Pa. -- The good and the bad from Penn State's 24-13 win over Temple on Saturday:


1. Passing game: Coming into this game, Matt McGloin believed Temple's defense might be the best his team's faced yet this season. On paper, it sure looked like it. The Owls boasted an experienced secondary, but McGloin responded by having one of the best games in his career. He tossed completions to nine different receivers and threw for 318 yards. He did throw an interception, but it bounced off his intended receiver's hands. McGloin's looked better each week, and he could surprise even more when the conference season begins.

2. 'Next man up:' Bill O'Brien has emphasized that, when one player goes down, another has to step up. "Next man up," he often says. On Saturday, that's exactly what Penn State's running backs did. With three players out -- Bill Belton, Derek Day, Curtis Dukes -- the Nittany Lions turned to Michael Zordich, who rushed for 75 yards and averaged 5 yards a carry. When Zordich went down, O'Brien was forced to turn to, basically, a fifth-string running back. And that back, Zach Zwinak, might have had the best performance of any tailback to date. He carried the ball 18 times for 94 yards and was never tackled behind the line of scrimmage.

3. Quarterback pressure: Temple quarterback Chris Coyer often passed off his back foot Saturday, and PSU linebacker Mike Hull believed he knew the cause: "Happy feet." Penn State blitzed, pressured and knocked him down so often, Coyer struggled to rebound. The Nittany Lions finished with three sacks, five tackles-for-losses and a defense that really made the Owls claw for every yard. PSU didn't get much penetration in Game 1, but it's since become a trend.


1. Penalties: PSU came in with 11 penalites through three games. It had nine penalties that totaled 100 yards Saturday. "We took a step back today," O'Brien acknowledged. Several of Penn State's drives faltered as a direct result of all the flags thrown, and one critical pass-interference call kept a Temple drive alive.

2. Injuries: The Lions' roster is not deep. Three tailbacks were held out Saturday, and Zordich was forced to miss time with a bruised knee. Adrian Amos was also taken off the field. Neither injury seemed serious, but those bumps and bruises are starting to pile up for Penn State. Defensive end Sean Stanley missed the game with back issues, and Donovan Smith has a nagging leg injury. Penn State can't stand to lose many more players, and the game against Temple only made matters worse.

3. Special teams: Sam Ficken made a 21-yard field goal and all three of his extra points ... but this unit still struggled as a whole. Alex Butterworth had a 15-yard punt at one point, and Ficken somehow earned a 15-yard penalty for hitting a player out of bounds on a kick return. Evan Lewis also returned a long, 58-yard punt for minus-6 yards. Every aspect of special teams needs to improve for PSU to have a chance when the conference season starts next week.