Penn State Blanks Temple, 31-0
Nov. 10, 2007
PHILADELPHIA - Senior tailback Rodney Kinlaw tied his career-high with 168 yards to crack 1,000 yards for the season and Penn State posted its second shutout of the season, 31-0 against Temple here today.
Senior quarterback Anthony Morelli threw three touchdown passes, two of which went to junior wide receiver Jordan Norwood, and senior All-America linebacker Dan Connor tied his career-high with 18 tackles for Penn State.
The No. 25 Nittany Lions improved to 8-3 overall heading into Saturday's regular season finale at Michigan State, which defeated Purdue, 48-31, today in West Lafayette.
The Nittany Lions posted their second consecutive shutout of the Owls, winning 47-0 last year in Beaver Stadium. Penn State has recorded four shutouts in the past 17 games, including a 59-0 win over FIU in the season opener. The Owls were limited to four yards rushing on 23 attempts, as the Lions recorded four sacks to increase their season total to 44.
Of the past 17 opponents, 12 have either been shut out, held to field goals or no more than one offensive touchdown,
A senior from Goose Creek, S.C., Kinlaw became the 11th Nittany Lion to gain 1,000 yards in a season, a feat which has been accomplished a total of 17 times. Late in the third quarter, he eclipsed the 100-yard mark for the fourth time this season and then cracked the century mark, giving Penn State a 1,000-yard rusher for the third consecutive season. Kinlaw tied his career-high for yardage, set against Iowa on Oct. 6, and with 27 carries, was one off his career-best, also set against the Hawkeyes.
Morelli was 22 of 33 for 260 yards, with three scoring strikes and one interception. Junior wideout Derrick Williams delivered a game-high seven receptions for a career-high 104 yards, junior wideout Deon Butler made five receptions for 43 yards, with a touchdown, and Kinlaw had a career-best five catches for 27 yards.
Playing near his hometown, Connor was all over the field making plays from the first snap. He tied his career-high of 18 stops from the Ohio State game on Oct. 27 and added 1.5 sacks. The Butkus Award finalist made 10 tackles in the first quarter as the Nittany Lions grabbed a 14-0 lead in the opening period.
Junior linebacker Sean Lee delivered 10 tackles for his eighth double figure tackle effort in the past nine games. The All-America candidate also recovered a fumble in Penn State territory and broke up two passes. Playing across the Delaware River from his hometown of West Deptford, N.J., junior safety Anthony Scirrotto made five tackles (four solo), as did sophomore cornerback A.J. Wallace and junior CB Lydell Sargeant. Sophomore DT Chris Baker had a big day, recording a career-best 2.5 sacks for minus-25 yards.
Temple took the opening possession and advanced to the PSU 5, but a sack by Connor forced a 23-yard field goal attempt, which wide.
The Nittany Lions took their opening possession 80 yards in nine plays, with Anthony Morelli firing a 15-yard touchdown pass to Jordan Norwood for the 7-0 lead with 7:33 left in the first quarter. Kinlaw had rushes of 16 and 15 yards during the drive.
On Penn State's second possession, Morelli lofted the ball to Derrick Wiliams, who made a leaping 52-yard grab at the Temple 22. The completion was the Nittany Lions' longest play from scrimmage this season. On the next play, Morelli found Norwood in the end zone to make it 14-0 with 2:46 left in the first quarter.
Temple threatened in the second quarter and lined-up for an apparent field goal attempt, but, the Owls faked. Quarterback Vaughn Charlton's pass to Matt Balasavage was dropped in the end zone to keep the score at 14-0.
Midway through the second quarter, defensive end Maurice Evans forced a fumble and linebacker Sean Lee recovered at the Penn State 25. Completions of 22 yards to tight end Andrew Quarless and 18 yards to wide receiver Terrell Golden helped get the Lions inside the Temple 20. Kinlaw ran three times for 15 yards, but on third down, Morelli fumbled while scrambling and the Owls recovered at the PSU 1.
Late in the half, the Nittany Lions improved to 6 of 6 this season on the two-minute drill to take a 17-0 lead. A 15-yard pass from Morelli to Kinlaw set-up a 32-yard Kevin Kelly field goal with :17 to play.
Late in the third quarter, Kinlaw eclipsed the 100-yard mark for the fourth time this season. He then became the 11th Nittany Lion to crack 1,000 rushing yards in a season, for the 17th time overall. Kinlaw then burst 10 yards to make it 24-0 with 13:54 to play in the game.
On the Nittany Lions' next possession, Morelli threw his third touchdown pass, as Deon Butler made a leaping catch of 14 yards to make it 31-0 with 9:20 to play.
The Nittany Lions have won 30 of their last 38 games, dating to the final two games of the 2004 season.
Penn State (8-3, 4-3) visits Michigan State (6-5, 2-5) Saturday at 3:30 p.m. ET in the battle for the Land Grant Trophy. The game will air regionally on ABC, the Penn State Sports Network and GoPSUsports.com. Markets not receiving the game on their ABC affiliate will receive it on ESPN.