Nittany Lions Host Temple on Favorite Jersey Day
Sept. 18, 2009
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State (2-0) will look to continue its momentum it hosts intra-state rival Temple (0-1) on Saturday. The game, which is scheduled for a 12 p.m. start, will air on the Big Ten Network, the Penn State Sports Network and www.GoPSUsports.com.
The second in a series of themed game days, Saturday is Favorite Jersey Day and fans are encouraged to wear their favorite all-time Penn State jersey to the contest. Photo opportunities with stand-ups of favorites players will be available for fans outside the stadium. A special Top 10 video countdown of the fans' most popular jerseys of the day (as counted upon entry to the stadium) will occur at halftime.
Last week, Daryll Clark tossed three touchdown passes for the second straight game and linebacker Sean Lee helped the Penn State defense hold Syracuse to just 200 yards as the No. 5 Nittany Lions posted a 28-7 win on Classic Day in Beaver Stadium.
Clark finished the game 20 of 31 for 240 yards, with three touchdowns and one interception. He threw scoring strikes to Evan Royster (49 yards), Graham Zug (20 yards) and Mickey Shuler (1 yard). Zug set career-bests with six catches for 79 yards.
Lee recorded a game-high 13 tackles, with 3.0 tackles for minus-17 yards, including a 13-yard sack of Greg Paulus to lead the outstanding defensive effort, which also included two interceptions. Senior linebacker Josh Hull tied his career-high with 11 stops.
Despite losing several key components from the nation's No. 5-ranked unit of a year ago to graduation or the NFL, the 2009 edition of the Penn State defense has not missed a beat. The unit has held its initial two opponents to less than 10 points for the first time since the 1998 season, when Penn State held Southern Mississippi to six points and Bowling Green to a field goal.
The Nittany Lions again are atop the Big Ten leaders in rushing (46.5 ypg), total (193.0 ypg) and scoring (7.0 ppg) defense and rank in the top 15 nationally in rushing (10th), scoring (T 9th) and total (T 12th) defense.
Fourth-year Temple head coach Al Golden returns to his roots on Saturday, as the former PennState three-year tight end letterwinner brings an Owls squad to Happy Valley that returns 19 starters from a 2008 team that helped secure the program's most wins in 18 years and a second place finish in the Mid-American Conference's East Division.
The Owls kicked off their 2009 campaign on Sept. 3 versus intra-city rival Villanova, falling 27-24 at Lincoln Financial Field.
Redshirt junior quarterback Vaughn Charlton, who is ranked No. 15 in the nation in total offense, triggers the Temple offense. In the season opener, he completed 19 of 28 passes for 317 yards with two touchdowns and three interceptions. Sophomore Kee-ayre Griffin, who led TU in rushing with 394 yards in 2008, is the top returning running back. He gained 79 yards on 21 carries and scored on a one-yard run versus Villanova. Junior Michael Campbell was Charlton's top target in week one, catching five passes for 93 yards and a touchdown.
The Temple defense is headlined by All-MAC honorees nose tackle Andre Neblett and strong safety Dominique Harris. A three-year starter, Neblett has received Bronko Nagurski Award candidate recognition after recording 36 tackles, including 7.5 for a loss, and two forced fumbles last season. Harris, who finished 2008 with 66 tackles and a team-high three interceptions and three forced fumbles, headlines the Owls secondary.
Penn State a 34-3-1 all-time record versus the Owls. Penn State has a 50-5-1 record all-time against current members of the Mid-American Conference, with a 40-1 mark under Joe Paterno.
Four remaining Penn State home games are sold out with a limited number of tickets remaining for Temple and Eastern Illinois (Oct. 10, TBA). Single game tickets are on sale at www.GoPSUsports.com or by calling 800-833-5533
Following the Temple game, Penn State will open its 17th season of Big Ten Conference play when it hosts Iowa in a nationally televised, primetime clash on Sept. 26. All Nittany Lion fans are encouraged to wear white to turn Beaver Stadium into the Whitehouse. Kickoff is set for 8:00 p.m. and the clash will air on ABC, the Penn State Sports Network and www.GoPSUsports.com.