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Temple-PSU pregame stretch...

September 24, 2010 - Ray Eckenrode

Feeling drafty
  > Coming into the season, we all knew Penn State had a young squad, and that’s driven home again on Mel Kiper’s 2011 draft rankings for senior players. Right now, Stefan Wisniewski is the only PSU player to appear on the list of Kiper’s top five seniors at every position. Wisniewski is listed as the No. 2 center. (Of course, he shifted to guard this year).
  > Former Nittany Lion Pat Devlin, now at Delaware, is listed as the No. 3 quarterback (behind Washington’s Jake Locker and Florida State’s Christian Ponder). In a normal year, Devlin’s draft stock would drop after the season based on the number of underclassmen who came out. But, 2011 will not be a normal year with an NFL lockout looming. With no new collective bargaining agreement in place, it’s likely some underclassmen will think longer and harder about declaring for the 2011 draft (which will be held regardless and is the last event governed by the expiring CBA). And that could end up benefiting Devlin and other seniors in similar situations.
  > After testing the NFL waters last year, Evan Royster decided to come back for another year at Penn State in a move that surprised many at the time. Royster was never an elite NFL prospect because he doesn’t have elite speed, but he figured to work himself into a solid, middle-round prospect based on his athleticism and versatility as a runner, receiver and blocker. Of course, whatever draft stock Royster had has fallen with his sluggish and puzzling start. But that’s not an obstacle that can’t be overcome for a player like Royster. Even if (and there’s still a lot of football to be played) Royster’s entire season is underwhelming, he’s probably still done enough to merit a combine invite and a strong workout there would have many teams forgetting his final college season ever happened.

The defense rests?
  Through three games, Penn State’s top four linebackers have amassed (and we use the term loosely) the following statistics:

  • 73 tackles
  • 26 solo tackles
  • 3.5 tackles for loss (13 yards total)
  • 1 sack (8 yards)
  • 0 interceptions

  That’s not Linebacker U, that’s Linebacker Who?
  With all the things there are to worry about with this Penn State team, we’re not worried about anything more than the linebacker play.

The pick
  Even though Penn State covered the spread last week, we don’t think our pregame prediction that the Nits were ripe of an uninspired effort could have been any more accurate. Kent State (and especially their highly touted quarterback) just played worse in the game than anyone could have imagined. And that’s the way it’s been with Temple recently. Every year, we talk about this being the year the Owls push Penn State and every year the Owls lay a giant egg, especially in the early going. But we’re going to say it again. We think this is the year Temple pushes PSU to the brink AND if Penn State’s freshman quarterback doesn’t play his best game yet, we think the Owls can win outright … PSU 27, Temple (-13.5) 21.
Season prediction record: 3-0
Prediction record vs. spread: 1-1

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