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Temple Gameday Preview - Nittany Lions Meet the Owls

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Temple Week Gameday Central

Temple Week Q&A with Quarterbacks Coach Charlie Fisher

VIDEO: Temple Week Practice Interviews

FEATURE: Installing the Gameplan

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - One week after knocking off Navy, the Nittany Lions return home Saturday to take on in-state foe Temple (3:30 p.m. on ABC/ESPN2) inside Beaver Stadium.

All fans in attendance are encouraged to wear blue on Saturday to support PCAR and victims of child sexual abuse.  Fans will have an opportunity to make a contribution to PCAR at the Beaver Stadium gates on Saturday.  The public gates open at 2 p.m.

Last week, the Nittany Lions played their most complete game to date in 2012.  The Lions scored touchdowns on each of their first three offensive drives, and the defense forced four turnovers for the second-straight week.  Penn State kept Navy off the scoreboard until the fourth quarter en route to a 34-7 victory.  This week, the Lions will look to build on head coach Bill O'Brien's first career victory.  Welcome to the gameday preview.


Pregame Reading:
What to Watch For - Penn State
1.  The Nittany Lion offense took a big step forward against Navy.  Penn State sustained drives (two over 70 yards), made big plays and improved in the running game.  Matt McGloin has tossed eight touchdowns with just one interception this season.  Allen Robinson has been on a tear with 24 receptions, 107 ypg and four touchdowns through three games.  The offensive line has only allowed three sacks in three games to open the season.  Collectively, the Bill O'Brien-led offense made significant strides from week one to week two to week three.  The unit wants to continue that trend on Saturday against a talented Temple defense that will bring pressure from every angle.  The Lions will see several disguise blitz looks from the Owl front seven.  Establishing the running game and making big plays in the passing game when windows of opportunity present themselves will be key on Saturday when the Lions have the ball.

2.  The Nittany Lion defense aims to slow down the opponent's rushing attack every week.  One week after playing Navy's triple option, the Nittany Lions will again face a dynamic quarterback in Chris Coyer and a veteran running back in Matt Brown.  Limiting the production from those two is an important part of the Penn State defensive gameplan.  Defensively, Michael Mauti has been lights out for two-straight weeks.  Look for another big outing from the senior linebacker.  Additionally, Jordan Hill, DaQuan Jones, Deion Barnes, Gerald Hodges, Glenn Carson and Mike Hull will play a big role in trying to limit the production of Coyer and Brown in the running game.

3.  Penn State has forced four turnovers in two-straight games.  Additionally, the Lions have not turned the ball over since the season-opener.  Penn State ranks No. 1 in the Big Ten in turnover margin at +1.67.  The Lions continue to work hard at practice forcing turnovers.  Will the Nittany Lions likely get four turnovers each week? No, but the turnover margin figures are a huge boost.  Holding onto the football is a key on Coach O'Brien's gameplan every single week, and turnovers will again play a big factor in Saturday's game with the Owls.

What to Watch For - Temple
1.  Temple has played the Nittany Lions tough during each of the past two seasons.  That being said, the Owls will be a confident football team when they arrive in Happy Valley.  Adding to the motivation, Temple has not beaten Penn State since Oct. 18, 1941.  There is no question that Owls will be up for clash with the Nittany Lions, as they are every season.

2.  Temple's senior defensive ends Marcus Green and John Youboty are two players to watch.  The Owls use several different disguise blitz packages to get into the backfield and disrupt the timing of the opposing quarterback.  Green and Youboty, along with the junior tandem of Kamal Johnson and Levi Brown in the interior, need a big game against Penn State's offensive line.

3.  The Temple offensive scheme is similar to Steve Addazio's offense during his time at Florida.  Coupling that scheme with quarterback Chris Coyer, who stands at 6-3, 230 pounds, and senior running back Matt Brown, the Owls have the tools to be a physical offensive unit.  The duo carried the ball 59 total times in the first two games of 2012.  Coyer will spend a lot of time with the ball in his hands, but look for Temple to throw the ball more than it did during the first three games. He is 12-for-29 for 239 yards and three touchdowns this season.

Gameday Rundown
Kickoff: 3:35 p.m.
TV: ABC (ESPN2 outer market) - Mike Patrick (PBP), Ed Cunningham (Analyst), Jeannine Edwards (Sidelines)
Radio: Penn State Sports Network - Steve Jones (PBP), Jack Ham (Analyst), Loren Crispell (Sidelines)
Stadium: Beaver Stadium (106,572) - Natural Grass
Coaches: Bill O'Brien - 1-2, 1st season
Steve Addazio - 10-5, 2nd season at Temple
The Series: 42nd meeting

The Final Word:
Penn State had a very good week of practice leading up to this week's clash with Temple.  Tallying a win last week against Navy certainly gave the squad's confidence a boost, but the focus level has been great since day one of training camp.  This week was no different, and the Nittany Lions have another opportunity to get better before heading into Big Ten play next week at Illinois.  The team and staff are expecting a battle against a talented Temple team on both sides of the ball.  Taking care of the football on offense will again be very important for the Nittany Lions on Saturday.  Keep an eye on the first quarter.  Penn State has been dominant thus far in 2012 during the first period, out-scoring its first three opponents by combined margin of 28-0.  A quick start is always important, but the Lions will be looking to play a complete game.  Coach O'Brien has stressed all week the importance of execution for 60 minutes on Saturday against the Owls.

Follow's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

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I'm going to be there! I'm looking forward to the chance to see the game in the stadium rather than the tube. I hope they're wrong about the Owls defense, but no worries.

Love my "kids", we are PENN STATE!

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