College Football Picks: Temple Owls at Penn State Nittany Lions
Temple Owls at Penn St Nittany Lions
Saturday, September 22, 2012, 3:30 pm Eastern, TV: ABC or ESPN2
Beaver Stadium – University Park, Pennsylvania
Opening Line: Penn St -9
Current Line: Penn St -7 1/2
Opening Total: 45
Current Total: 43
Opening Money Line: Penn St -335 / Temple +275
Current Money Line: Penn St -280 / Temple +240
The three FBS schools in Pennsylvania have gotten off to a rough start with a combined 3-5 record for Penn St, Pitt, and Temple. Two of those schools meet Saturday for the 42nd time as Penn St hosts Temple. The Nittany Lions have dominated the series 37-3-1, and have won 36 straight dating back to 1941. Penn St won 14-10 in Philadelphia last year.
Temple is 1-1 under coach Steve Addazio. The Owls started off with a 41-10 rout of in-city rival Villanova, but two weeks ago lost to Maryland 36-27 at home. Temple is averaging 296 yards per game, including 119.5 passing yards and 176.5 rushing yards. On defense, Temple is allowing 349.5 yards per game, including 171.5 passing yards and 178 rushing yards. The Owls are outscoring teams 34-23 this season. Temple is 1-1 ATS and the total is 1-0 this season.
Temple was an 8 point favorite at home against Maryland in their last game, and the total was 43.5. Both teams exchanged field goals in the first quarter. Maryland scored 23 second quarter points including a safety to take a 26-3 lead. Temple came back and pulled to within 29-27 with 7 minutes left in the game. The Terrapins drove 75 yards for a touchdown to take a 36-27 lead with 2:51 left. Temple’s last drive ended with a Chris Coyer interception, the third Owl turnover of the game. Maryland had four turnovers.
Temple had 230 total yards including 178 passing yards from Coyer, who three two touchdowns and an interception. He also had 17 carries for 53 yards. The Owls only had 9 first downs. Temple had 7 penalties for 72 yards. Maryland had 334 total yards including 190 rushing yards.
Coyer has completed 12 of 29 passes this season (41.4%) for 239 yards with 3 touchdowns and 1 interception, along with 30 carries for 133 yards and a touchdown. Running back Matt Brown has 29 carries for 176 yards and a touchdown. Kenneth Harper has 11 carries for 59 yards with 2 rushing touchdowns, and a touchdown catch. Receiver Jalen Fitzpatrick has 4 catches for 97 yards and a touchdown. No other Owl receiver has more than 2 catches.
Penn St is 1-2 this season under first year coach Bill O’Brien. The Nittany Lions started off with a 24-14 loss at home to Ohio, and then lost at Virginia 17-16. Penn St crushed Navy last week at home 34-7 for the first win under O’Brien. The Nittany Lions are averaging 341 yards per game, including 233.3 passing yards and 107.7 rushing yards. Penn St is allowing 395 yards per game on defense, including 241 passing yards and 154 rushing yards. The Nittany Lions are outscoring opponents 21.3-16 this season. Penn St is 2-1 ATS and all three games have gone under the total.
Penn St was a 6.5 point favorite at home against Navy last week, and the total was 48. The Nittany Lions scored the first 34 points of the game. Navy didn’t get on the board until the fourth quarter to make the final 34-7. Penn St forced 4 Navy turnovers including a fumble returned 74 yards for a Nittany Lion touchdown in the fourth quarter.
Penn St had 341 total yards, including 231 passing yards from quarterback Matthew McGloin, who threw 4 touchdown passes. Receiver Allen Robinson had 5 catches, 136 yards and 3 touchdowns. Navy had 391 total yards including 255 rushing yards.
McGloin has completed 59 of 104 passes (56.7%) for 688 yards with 8 touchdowns and an interception. Running back Derek Day has 26 carries for 83 yards, along with 2 catches for 20 yards. He is doubtful for Saturday’s game with a shoulder injury. However, the Penn St running game is almost non-existent, as he is the leading rusher averaging less than 30 yards a game. Curtis Dukes, Michael Zordich, and Bill Belton will get the majority of the carries without Day, but none has a rushing touchdown or has rushed for more than 77 yards this season. Robinson has 24 catches, 322 yards, and 4 touchdowns. Kyle Carter has 11 catches, 120 yards, and a touchdown.
Temple is 6-1 ATS in September, 4-1 in non-conference games, overall, and on grass, 18-5 after gaining less than 275 yards, 13-5 in road games, and 10-4 after rushing for less than 100 yards.
Penn St is 3-1-1 ATS after allowing 20 points or less, 7-3 after allowing 200 rushing yards or more, 4-9-1 on grass, 5-12-1 overall, 2-7-1 in home games, 2-7 in non-conference games, 2-8-1 after a straight up win, 3-13 in September, 1-5 after a cover, 1-7-1 after allowing less than 170 passing yards, 1-8 against Big East teams, and 0-4 after a straight up win of 20 points or more. The last 5 games in the Penn St-Temple series have gone under the total.
Penn St can’t run the ball, and Temple can’t throw the ball. Both offenses struggle to score, and both defenses are good if not great. I don’t see a lot of points scored in this game. I think Penn St wins a close low-scoring game.
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