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Temple | Beaver Stadium | 12 p.m. | ESPN2
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State takes a break from its Big Ten schedule on Saturday to face Temple in an in-state battle. Learn more about the Owls in this week's scouting report.
Matt Rhule, a State College native and former Penn State linebacker from 1994-'97, leads the Owls. Rhule is in his second year as head coach and his eighth season in the Temple program. He is 7-14 overall at Temple. The Owls were 2-10 overall and 1-7 in the American Athletic Conference in 2013. They returned 34 letterwinners and 12 starters.
Temple is 5-4 overall and 3-3 in the AAC this year. They fell, 16-13, against Memphis last week on a field goal as time expired. The Owls gained 298 yards on offense, including 158 yards on the ground. Quarterback P.J. Walker completed 16-of-37 passes for 140 yards and an interception. He also ran for 28 yards on nine carries. Kenneth Harper gained 116 yards and a touchdown on 17 carries, including a 75-yard run in the first quarter. Jalen Fitzpatrick led the team with five receptions for 64 yards.
The Owls allowed 312 yards, including 230 passing. Linebacker Nate Smith recorded nine tackles, all solo. Fellow linebacker Tyler Matakevich added eight tackles, seven solo. Cornerback Sean Chandler made six stops, one for loss, and forced a fumble. End Praise Martin-Oguike had four tackles and a sack.
The Temple offense averages 27.6 points per game, ranking 75th in the nation. They also average 315.4 total yards per contest, 196.7 yards through the air and 118.8 on the ground.
Walker has completed 54 percent of his passes for 1,679 yards, 11 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. He has also gained 183 yards and scored three rushing touchdowns.
Sophomore Jahad Thomas leads the Owls with 371 yards rushing (5.2 ypc). Thomas, 5-foot-10, also has 10 receptions for 259 yards and a touchdown. Senior Kenneth Harper, 6-foot, 225-pounds, has 263 yards and five touchdowns on 67 carries. He also has 130 yards and a touchdown on 18 catches.
The receiving unit is led by Fitzpatrick, a 5-foot-11 senior, who has 37 catches for 512 yards and five scores, averaging nearly 14 yards per catch. John Christopher has 20 catches for 140 yards, while Shippen has eight receptions for 118 yards and a touchdown.
The Owls offensive line includes a redshirt junior, a junior, a redshirt sophomore, a sophomore and a redshirt freshman. Center Kyle Friend leads the group with 30 straight starts. Friend was selected midseason first-team All-AAC by Phil Steele.
Temple is very strong on the defensive side of the ball, allowing only 18.1 points per game, which ranks 10th in the nation. They also rank 41st in total defense, allowing 364.2 yards per contest, and 29th in passing defense, giving up 200.7 yards per game. The Owls have forced 25 turnovers this year, tied for seventh in the nation, and have six defensive touchdowns (No. 2 in the nation).
Junior tackle Matt Ioannidis anchors the defensive line. The 6-foot-4, 285-pound Ioannidis has 38 tackles, 20 solo, nine for loss and 3.5 sacks. He also has three pass breakups. End Praise Martin-Oguike has made 30 stops this year, with 22 solo, seven for loss and 5.5 sacks, while also forcing five fumbles. Fellow end Sharif Finch has 5.5 tackles for loss, a sack, two forced fumbles and an interception that he returned 65 yards for a touchdown against Delaware State.
Weakside linebacker Tyler Matakevich leads the team with 83 tackles, including 65 solo, ranking fifth in the country in solo stops. Matakevich also has 5.5 tackles for loss, a sack, three pass breakups and two fumble recoveries. Middle linebacker Nate Smith has 61 tackles, with 39 solo, two for loss and an interception.
Cornerback Tavon Young leads the team with three interceptions. He has totaled 128 return yards off of interceptions and returned a pick 93 yards for a touchdown against UConn. Cornerback Sean Chandler has 53 tackles, with 40 solo, three for loss and five pass breakups. Safeties Alex Wells and Jihaad Pretlow have 36 and 32 tackles, respectively.
Penn State is 38-3-1 all-time against Temple, on the field. The Nittany Lions earned a 24-13 win at Beaver Stadium in 2012.
What Matt Rhule is saying about Penn State:
"I moved (to State College) my junior year of high school. My dad was originally from there and we went there to be closer to his family. It's a great town, with great people, a great high school, great friends... It really comes alive when there is a football game being played...I remember the town being electric. Growing up there were some great games that I had a chance to see."
"Offensively, you start with Christian Hackenberg, he's as good of a quarterback as there is in the country. He has tremendous arm talent, he's extremely smart, can make every throw and will challenge you down the field. DaeSean Hamilton is a tremendous receiver, Bill Belton at running back and receiver Saeed Blacknall is really coming on for them right now, so you can see that he's another weapon for them."
"[Bob] Shoop's done a great job with that defense. They basically shut out Indiana last week, so you see why they're so effective in what they do. They have a lot of great players on defense, but the one that really stands out to me is [Anthony] Zettel inside. He's probably the best defensive lineman we'll face this year, he's a three-technique and extremely active. They have a lot of high end guys like Adrian Amos at safety and Mike Hull, who is another great Penn State linebacker."
Contributions on all of the 2014 Opponent Previews provided by GoPSUsports.com Student Writer Paul Marboe.
James Franklin Transcript - Nov. 11
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Nittany Lions (5-4, 2-4) return home on Saturday for an intra-state matchup against Temple (5-4, 3-3 AAC) at noon (ESPN2).
Head coach James Franklin reviewed Saturday's victory over Indiana and previewed the matchup against the Owls on Tuesday afternoon inside the Beaver Stadium Media Room.
Behind a dominant day from the Penn State defense and a 92-yard touchdown run from Bill Belton, the Nittany Lions topped Indiana on Saturday by a score of 13-7. No strangers to tight games, the win at Indiana marked Penn State's sixth game out of nine this season decided by six points or fewer.
"I think to me this is what you want to do. You want to find ways to win close games," Franklin said. "We were able to do that early in the year. Then we had a couple of games we didn't. Now we're getting back into that again. So I'm pleased with the guys... I sure would love to have a little bit more breathing room in there. But I think these tough games and emotional games build character, and that's why we do this in the first place."
This week, the Nittany Lion offense will face a stiff test against a Temple defensive unit that is among the nation's leaders in forcing turnovers. Through nine games, the Owls have forced 25 turnovers (17 fumbles and 8 interceptions) and scored six defensive touchdowns. The Lions emphasize ball security with a turnover circuit on offense every day on the practice field, and Saturday will be a test.
"Watching them on film, they do all the things that we preach all the time as well, which is playing hard and running to the ball," Franklin said. "When you have an opportunity to be aggressive and make a play on the ball in the air, go after the ball. When you're making a tackle, secure the tackle first, and the next two or three guys coming in to strip the ball out. It's offensive linemen sustaining blocks so that defenders can't fall into plays. It's getting the offense to cover down so that if a ball does come out, the offensive line and other people are in position to pick it up. It's all of those things."
On defense, the Nittany Lion defensive line has been instrumental in the team's success this season. Ranked third in the nation in total defense, the Lions have played at a consistently high level for nine weeks. The first team defensive line unit gets a great deal of credit for its efforts, but the depth of the line is what separates the Lions from most units in the Big Ten. The Nittany Lions have made 39.5 TFL from defensive line positions this season.
"You look at our two deep on the defensive line, I think you could make the argument it's one of the better in the Big Ten in terms of a two deep," said Franklin. "Having a two‑deep at defensive line and rotating those guys and keeping them fresh and active I think has been really helpful."
Saturday's game will honor the men and women in the military. With it being Military Appreciation Day, Penn State again took part in a "Seats for Soldiers" campaign where Penn State fans donated more than 6,000 tickets to active-duty and veteran military personnel, along with their families.
"I love the fact that the Penn State community with Military Appreciation Day has donated over 6,000 tickets to active‑duty and veteran military personnel and their families for the Seats for Soldiers program, which is great," said Franklin.
The Nittany Lions and Owls are slated for a noon kick on Saturday in a series that dates back to 1931.
Press Conference Notes
- Franklin on the Temple offense:
"You look at their play makers, P.J. Walker, their quarterback is the guy that kind of stands out to you. He can make plays with his feet as well as his arm. Running back, they've got Jahad Thomas, who is 5-10, 170-pound guy that can make you miss and take it the distance. Then they've got Kenneth Harper, the big number, No. 4, 6-foot, 225-pound that tries to pound you. Then Jalen Fitzpatrick has over 500 yards and five touchdowns this year, their biggest receiver."
- Franklin on the Temple defense:
"They do a great job. They're a 4-3 defense, but there will be games that they'll come out and play 3-4. They'll be 4-3 the first half, and then they'll be 3-4 the second half. They play a lot of different looks. They play a lot of different coverages. They've improved dramatically from year one to year two. Play hard nose, run to the ball. They're No. 7 in the nation in turnovers gained. No. 1 in the country in fumbles caused. 17 recovered fumbles. They've got eight interceptions. They're number two in the nation in defensive touchdowns. We've talked about that already. Really impressed. They're No. 7 in the nation in red zone defense, and No. 10 in the nation in scoring defense. So they're playing really well."
- Franklin on the Temple special teams:
"On special teams, they play really hard. I've already mentioned that they've got three special teams touchdowns as well as four blocked kicks. So I've been very, very impressed with them. I've been very impressed with them all year long, and looking forward to the opportunity."
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By Meghan Miceli, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - "There is still a difference between winning and coming in second," head coach Tim Murphy said; reflecting on the Nittany Lion's tri-meet this past weekend against Michigan and Virginia.
Both the men and women toppled the Cavaliers, but fell to the Wolverines. For the women's team, who was undefeated coming into the competition, it was a fight to the finish, ending with a tough three-point loss.
"I think how close the meet was, especially on the women's side with Michigan, needs to burn a little bit," Murphy said. "We have to go back to work, use it for momentum and keep the ball rolling,"
Coming into the weekend, the Nittany Lions were prepared to have to dig deep and hold off some tough competition. Prior to the tri-meet, the Michigan men were ranked first in the nation and the women were sixth.
"We knew they're both good teams and where they were ranked, how they did last season and we knew it was going to be a hearty task," Murphy said. "In a lot of areas we showed our ability to handle that and be up for that and in some areas we exceeded expectations."
College Swimming released this week's rankings with the Nittany Lions improving to No. 16 in both the men's and women's polls. Prior to the tri-meet the men were ranked No. 18 and the women were ranked No. 20.
"Some people are just starting to show things and show a level of swimming boldy and not worrying about who it is but just flat out being competitive." Murphy said. "Those are two things we need to work on: being bold-having high expectations for ourselves and learning to be more competitive."
The Nittany Lions head to the Georgia Fall Invitational next for a mid-season meet. Competition kicks off on Dec. 5, which gives the team a little under a month to focus on training.
"Our main challenge is going to be what we do in practice," Murphy said. "It's going to be more so how are we preparing ourselves, how are we challenging ourselves and just being flat out competitive. It's not easy. It requires coming in here with a different level of intensity. It's all about what goes down in the pool."
While in Georgia, the Nittany Lions can expect top-notch competition; not only with other teams, but between teammates.
"Georgia is trials and finals meet," Murphy explained. "It's when we are really going to start putting our Big Ten team together. It's also sort of last real good test, we're going to be up against some strong teams to sort of figure out what we need to do on the home stretch."
Following the invitational, the Nittany Lions will have a few weeks back in Happy Valley and at home before heading to Florida for their annual training trip. While in Naples, the team will face a tough training schedule of two-a-day practices and lifting sessions to gear up for the final months of their season.
When they return, the Nittany Lions will kick off 2015 in New Brunswick for a tri-meet against Rutgers and Yale. The next home meet is scheduled for Jan. 24 against Navy at 11 a.m.
By Matt Allibone, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.- After an entire season of soccer, playing three games in eight days is not an easy task.
That's the situation the Penn State men's soccer team faced this week. After falling to Northwestern 2-1 in overtime on the road last Sunday, the Nittany Lions gutted out a 1-0 overtime victory against Akron on Wednesday before hosting Michigan State in the Big Ten Tournament on Sunday.
"We played a double overtime game on turf in Chicago, in the cold" head coach Bob Warming said. "We sprinted as hard as we could against Akron Wednesday and we got to [Michigan State]."
Against the Spartans, the Lions got off 12 shots but weren't able to get a ball in the net, falling in the first round with a 1-0 loss.
Afterwards, Warming said that both he and Michigan State head coach Damon Rensing agreed that fatigue had a factor in the way the game was played.
With both teams having trained every day in addition to playing games since August, November truly is the dog days of the soccer season.
"The big factor to me, and Damon and I were just talking about it, both teams are just tired," Warming said. "I just talked to all the guys, and I'm really proud of all of their efforts this week, they worked hard this week and [gave] as much as they had in them."
For nearly the entire game, both teams played with a defensive-minded approach that prevented either team from dominating possession of the ball. After a scoreless first half, Spartans forward Tim Kreutz ripped a shot off a volley from 18-yards out to put Michigan State ahead.
The Lions came close to tying it with six minutes remaining, when a header from Connor Maloney off of a Brandon Savino pass went just over the top frame of the net.
"It happens and that's soccer right there for you," Maloney said. "Yeah it was frustrating a little bit but you've got to keep playing the entire game."
While losing in the conference tournament is never fun, it doesn't end the Nittany Lions season. They still have the upcoming NCAA Tournament to end their season on a high note.
"We're in the tournament, we're top 20 RPI (ranking), we're going to get a home game," Warming said. "We need some time to get freshened up. I hated to lose, but if you're looking at the long run, maybe this gives us a better chance ... you gotta look at the positives of it."
Although Penn State will have to wait until next Monday to find out the details of its first-round NCAA Tournament game, it is guaranteed to have this week off.
Having lived and breathed soccer the entire fall, some time away from the game could be good for the Nittany Lions. According to Warming, the entire team would get at least three days off to rest up, refocus and spend some time on schoolwork.
"One of the most important parts of fitness is recovery," Warming said. "While everybody else is beating each other up, we're going to get in the pool, get on the bike, relax, play a lot of FIFA, and maybe a study a little bit would a really good idea and then make a good run."
At the same time, the Lions haven't given up on their goals for the season. A year after making it to the Sweet 16, they are determined to have another successful postseason this year.
Even as they take the next few days to work on refreshing bodies, they will remain hungry and itch for their next chance to get back on the field.
"If you want it enough you'll get far in the NCAA Tournament," Maloney said. "I know Michigan State will and I think we will too to be honest with you. Our guys got the heart and we'll bounce back and make a deep run."
By Julie Bacanskas, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Eight games. Eleven goals. Fifteen assists. Seventy-nine shots.
The line of David Goodwin, Taylor Holstrom and Casey Bailey has been dynamic for the Nittany Lions. The trio, who are all atop the team's scoring leaders, accounts for over 30 percent of Penn State's offense.
The line clearly has synergy.
"All three of them are working extremely hard," said head coach Guy Gadowsky. "I really think that's the difference. All three of them have shown high levels of skill, and they all have a high hockey IQ."
Success is nothing new for Goodwin, Holstrom and Bailey.
Last season, the forwards were ranked second, third and sixth on the team in scoring, respectively. Goodwin led the Lions in assists, while Bailey's nine goals were second to only Eric Scheid's 11 tallies.
Combining all this talent has generated positive results this season.
"I just think it's the chemistry," said Bailey of the early season success. "I think like I talked about earlier, me and Holstrom played together all freshman year. He kind of knows that I'm always looking to shoot. I think Goodwin knows that too, and I think it's the chemistry on our line. He [Holstrom] played with Goodwin last year. Things are clicking right now."
A key factor for not only this line, but also the entire team, has been shots on net.
Penn State is currently outshooting its opponents, 345-236. With 109 extra shots, the Blue and White are bound to have offensive success.
"I just think it's the way we're driving the net," Bailey said. "When we drive through the middle it opens up a lot of area for us to get those shots off. It makes it a lot easier, and I think we have a mentality that everybody's going to do that. It's making everybody drive to the net, and I definitely think our team is doing a lot better getting shots to the net this season so far."
These shots are greatly benefiting the Lions, who are also outscoring their
"We're working hard," said Holstrom. "We're getting pucks deep. We're doing little things. We're getting some bounces here and there, but I think it just comes down to getting pucks on net and going to the net."
Holstrom's 11 points have him tied for eighth in the country in scoring, and he is also tied for seventh in assists with eight on the season thus far; however, he credits his personal success to his line.
Right now, their chemistry seems to be unstoppable, and all three are playing some of their best hockey.
"My linemates are playing well," Holstrom said. "They're putting pucks into the net. Our team is working really hard, and the score sheet's working well for me. There are other guys helping me out, and I can't do it alone."
Moving forward, Gadowsky knows this line is one he can count on. All three forwards show dedication to the Penn State program day in and day out.
That dedication is directly related to their success.
"I think if you look to a man right now, I think Taylor Holstrom has been our best backchecker, probably Casey Bailey has been best at getting the puck out and David Goodwin's been working extremely hard," Gadowsky said. "I think for them, their key is work ethic for sure."
Eight games. Eleven goals. Fifteen assists. Seventy-nine shots.
If these numbers are any indication of what is to come for the Goodwin, Holstrom, Bailey line, the remainder of this season looks very bright.
By Tyler Feldman, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Not only did Penn State (5-4-3) claim its first road series sweep in program history this past weekend, but the Nittany Lions also continued their offensive surge by scoring nine goals in just two games against Colgate (2-7-0).
Playing both games at Starr Rink in Hamilton, N.Y., the Blue and White were the real stars in the two-game weekend series.
"A total team effort," said head coach Josh Brandwene. "Great intensity. Great poise. Great focus. Really pleased with the effort this weekend."
The top line of Amy Petersen, Laura Bowman and Hannah Hoenshell scored seven of nine goals to lead Penn State's brushing of Colgate.
"Their results speak directly to their process and their effort," Brandwene said in regards to his top line. "They're competitive people. They just continue to work hard and get better every day."
In Friday night's contest, Penn State used a four-goal second period to paste Colgate, 6-4. The top line totaled five goals, with Bowman and Hoenshell each scoring twice and Petersen scoring once.
Shannon Yoxheimer was another Nittany Lion to score in Friday's high scoring affair on a gorgeous move through three Raiders to find the back of the net.
"Fantastic move," said Brandwene. "Fantastic burst of speed. She too and her line continue to get better every day. Their process is excellent, and they are seeing the results as well, and that's a great thing for our hockey team."
While offense was the focus in game one, Saturday's venue featured discipline on defense as the Nittany Lions squeezed Colgate, 3-1.
"Our decision-making on Saturday was outstanding, and that's something that we want to continue to build on," said Brandwene.
Trailing 1-0 after one period of play, the Blue and White used two-second period goals from Bowman to regain the lead. Then, an empty netter from Sarah Nielsen sealed the rinsing of the Raiders, 3-1.
The adjustments that Penn State made on defense after the first period allowed the Nittany Lions to find success in the final 40 minutes of play.
"The team did a great job of sticking with the game plan, maintaining focus on the process, and it was a terrific team effort," said Brandwene.
With 12 games under their belt, the Penn State freshmen continue to make strides on and off the ice. In the two weekend wins, first-year defenseman Bella Sutton blocked six shots, while fellow rookie Caitlin Reilly tallied an assist on Yoxheimer's goal in the Friday's game.
"As a group they continue to get better," said Brandwene. "They're very hard working, very coachable and their process continues to be excellent as well."
Since taking the head coaching reigns three years ago, Brandwene is very pleased with the progress his team has made since its inaugural Division I season in 2012.
"It is a great pleasure for me to watch the student-athletes in our program get rewarded for their hard work," said Brandwene. "I'm grateful every day for the opportunity to work with this fabulous group of student-athletes."
The Nittany Lions return home to practice this week before traveling to Rochester, N.Y. to face off against conference foe RIT on Friday and Saturday.
Belton's play was the longest rushing score by a Penn State player in school history. The touchdown equaled the longest offensive touchdown in program history.
Belton finished the day with a season-high 137 yards on 16 carries in Bloomington. The New Jersey native now has four 100-yard rushing games in school history.
"The line did a great job up front giving me a seam to get through," Belton said. "I was able to get through basically untouched...Don't get caught from behind was the only thing that was going through my mind. I was able to get to the end zone, and I'm thankful for the opportunity to score."
Belton's score was the fourth Penn State offensive play of 90 yards or more. The three longest offensive plays in school history are all 92 yards (two runs and one pass). Here is a look at the 10 longest plays in Penn State's offensive history (8 runs and 2 passes).
92 - Bill Belton (TD) at Indiana, 2014
92 - Blair Thomas (No TD) vs. Syracuse, 1986
92 - Bob Higgins pass from Bill Hess (TD) at Pittsburgh, 1919
90 - Bill Suter (TD) at Navy, 1894
87 - Bob Campbell (TD) vs. Syracuse, 1968
86 - Bob Riggle (TD) at West Virginia, 1964
86 - Jim Scott pass from Steve Joachim (TD) at Navy, 1971
84 - Chafie Fields (TD) vs. Texas, 1997 Fiesta Bowl
84 - Larry Johnson (TD) vs. Illinois, 2002
83 - Ki-Jana Carter (TD) vs. Oregon, 1995 Rose Bowl
Penn State hosts Temple in the final non-conference game of the season on Saturday at noon (ESPN2).
Lions Among Nation's Elite on Defense
After another stifling effort on the road at Indiana, Penn State's defense is one of just four units in America that ranks in the top 10 nationally in total, scoring and rushing defense (Alabama, Louisville and Wisconsin). Through nine games, the Nittany Lions have allowed 85.6 rushing yards per game, which leads the nation. Additionally, the Lions remain third nationally in total defense. Penn State opponents have accounted for 267.6 yards of total offense against the Lions this season. The Lions are ranked sixth nationally in scoring defense (16.6 ppg).
Lions in the Stat Rankings
Several Nittany Lions remain among the leaders in national and conference statistical categories. Here is a weekly breakdown of Penn State players in the stat rankings:
QB Christian Hackenberg - Hackenberg is second in the Big Ten in passing yards (2,038) and passing yards per game (245.1 ypg). The sophomore is leading the conference in completions per game (21.67).
WR DaeSean Hamilton - Hamilton is 11th nationally (first in the Big Ten) in receptions per game (7.1). He ranks 25th in the nation and third in the Big Ten in receiving yards per game at 84.6.
LB Mike Hull - Hull leads the Big Ten and is ninth in the nation in tackles (11.0 per game). He is second in the Big Ten and 15th nationally in solo tackles per game at 6.2.
K Sam Ficken - Ficken is third in the nation and first in the Big Ten in field goals made per game at 2.11.
Early Look at the Owls
On the heels of a narrow loss to Memphis (16-13), Temple heads to Beaver Stadium this week with a 5-4 overall record. The Owls beat then-21st-ranked East Carolina (20-10) two weeks ago.
Among the nation's leaders in scoring defense (10th - 18.1 ppg), the Owls are led by a unit that has forced 25 turnovers in 2014 (7th in the nation). Temple has six defensive touchdowns in nine games, which ranks second in the nation. Additionally, the Owls have blocked four kicks this season.
Linebacker Tyler Matakevich leads the Owl defense with 83 tackles this season. He also has 5.5 TFL and has recovered two fumbles.
Temple is under the direction of second-year head coach and Penn State letterman Matt Rhule. Rhule, a State College native, was a member of the Nittany Lion program from 1994-'97.
Penn State and Temple will meet for 43rd time on Saturday. The Nittany Lions are 38-3-1 all-time against the Owls.
Extended Game Highlights from the Indiana Game
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