Royster, Wagner & Defense Boost Penn State Past Temple
Sept. 25, 2010
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STATE COLLEGE, Pa. - Evan Royster ran for a career-high 187 yards, Collin Wagner tied the school record with five field goals and Penn State (3-1) held Temple scoreless in the second half to record a hard-fought 22-13 win in Beaver Stadium.
The No. 23/20 Nittany Lions improved to 54-14 (79.4) since the start of the 2005 season and 64-13 in non-conference games since joining the Big Ten in 1993. Penn State begins its 18th conference season next Saturday for a prime time clash at No. 18 Iowa.
Joe Paterno earned his 397th career victory, boosting his overall record of 397-130-3 in his 45th season as head coach of the Nittany Lions. The Hall of Fame mentor is 27-0 vs. Temple, as the Nittany Lions improved their series lead to 36-3-1 over the Owls, who fell to 3-1.
Penn State posted season-highs with 216 rushing yards and 439 yards of total offense. The Nittany Lions limited the Owls to 202 yards, a season-best for fewest yards allowed, and forced a season-high four turnovers.
Wagner became the fourth Nittany Lion to kick five field goals in a game, joining: Travis Forney vs. Michigan State in 1998, Massimo Manca vs. Notre Dame in 1985, and Brian Franco at Nebraska in 1981. Wagner's previous high for field goals in a game was four in the win over LSU in the 2010 Capital One Bowl.
Wagner's six field goal attempts tied the school record for field goal attempts in a game. Travis Forney attempted six against Michigan State in 1998 and Massimo Manca attempted six at West Virginia in 1986.
On the first play from scrimmage, Royster ripped off a 50-yard run, the longest rush by Penn State this season. The play would begin a huge day for the senior tailback, who eclipsed his previous high of 174 yards vs. Michigan in 2008. Royster's total was the most by a Nittany Lion since Larry Johnson had 279 yards against Michigan State in the 2002 regular season finale.
Royster, who tied his career-high with 26 carries, delivered his 13th career 100-yard rushing game, moving him into a tie with John Cappelletti for sixth place in the Penn State annals. The Nittany Lions are 13-0 when Royster gains at least 100 yards. The Doak Walker Award candidate has 3,215 career rushing yards, needing 13 yards to pass D.J. Dozier for fifth place and 184 yards to pass Curt Warner (3,398) for the school career record.
Freshman quarterback Rob Bolden was 18 of 28 for 223 yards, delivering his third 200-yard game in the initial four games. Bolden completed third down passes of 19 yards to Graham Zug and 27 yards to Justin Brown in leading Penn State on a 96-yard scoring drive in the fourth quarter. Following a 17-yard run by Royster, fullback Michael Zordich carried three times for 11 yards, scoring on a one-yard run to make it 22-13 with 3:30 left in the game.
Brett Brackett led the Nittany Lions with five receptions for 62 yards. Sophomore Justin Brown set career-highs with four catches for 84 yards, including a career-long 33-yard grab. Derek Moye made three catches for 27 yards.
Temple gained 131 yards in the first half, but was limited to just 71 yards in the second half by the Nittany Lions. The Owls were held to just eight first downs in the game. Junior safety Nick Sukay grabbed his second and third interceptions of the season, becoming the first Nittany Lion to have two interceptions in a game since Lydell Sargeant had two in a win at Wisconsin in 2008. Sukay also made six tackles (four solo).
Sophomore linebacker Michael Mauti recorded a career-best tying seven tackles for the third time this season to lead Penn State. Mauti had two hits at halftime and came out of the break by making two stops on Temple's first possession. Junior linebacker Nate Stupar also made seven tackles, including a sack. He grabbed the second interception of his career later in the third quarter, returning it 31 yards to the Temple 12 to set-up Wagner's go-ahead field goal.
Linebacker Chris Colasanti also made seven stops and safety Drew Astorino had six. Sophomore DE Pete Massaro continued his strong play in his second start, recording three hits, with 1.5 tackles for loss, and forcing and recovering a fumble late in the game.
On the first play from scrimmage, Royster ripped off a 50-yard run, the longest rush by Penn State this season. Wagner connected on a 45-yard field goal to give the Nittany Lions a 3-0 lead just 2:36 into the game.
The Nittany Lions forced Temple to punt on its first possession, but on the Lions' second drive, Royster fumbled and the Owls recovered in Penn State territory. Bernard Pierce scored on a five-yard run to give Temple a 7-3 lead.
A 32-yard field goal by Wagner made it 7-6 with 2:58 left in the first period, but Temple came right back. A 51-yard run by James Nixon gave the Owls a first-and-goal and Pierce scored on a three-yard run with :10 left in the first half. The snap on the PAT attempt was bobbled and the two-point pass was incomplete, making the score 13-6.
The Nittany Lions drew within 13-9 midway through the second quarter on Wagner's third field goal, a 42-yard effort.
Midway through the third quarter, an 18-yard Bolden to Brackett completion and a 14-yard carry by Royster set-up a 32-yard Wagner field goal, trimming the Temple lead to 13-12 with 4:12 left in the period.
On Temple's next possession, Stupar grabbed an interception at the Owls' 43-yard-line, worked his way to the East sideline and was knocked out of bounds at the 12 to jolt the Beaver Stadium faithful. But, the Lions were forced to try another field goal and Wagner's 21-yard effort with 1:38 left gave Penn State the lead for good.
After the Nittany Lions forced another punt, they took over at their own four-yard-line and Bolden led Penn State down the field on a clinching 96-yard scoring drive, culminated by Zordich's one -yard run with 3:35 left. The drive was longest for the Lions in terms of yards this season, and the longest drive since Penn State also had a 96-yard scoring drive against Indiana in 2003.
The Nittany Lions raised their non-conference record to 64-13 (83.1) since joining the Big Ten in 1993, having won 18 of their last 20 non-conference games. Alabama and USC in the 2009 Rose Bowl are the lone setbacks. Penn State is 54-5-1 all-time against current members of the Mid-American Conference.
Penn State won for the 36th time in its last 40 games in Beaver Stadium, dating to the 2004 Michigan State game.
Penn State will open its 18th season in the Big Ten Conference when it visits No. 18 Iowa (3-1) on Saturday, Oct. 2. Kickoff is set for 7:00 p.m. CT/8:00 p.m. ET at Kinnick Stadium and the game will be broadcast to a national television audience on ABC, ESPN, or ESPN2 (network to be announced by Monday). The game also will air on the Penn State Sports Network and www.GoPSUsports.com.