UNIVERSITY PARK - Bill O'Brien gathered his team in the Penn State meeting room Monday and used the old "they're disrespecting us" motivational tactic.
Getting disrespected by Ohio State or Michigan or Wisconsin is one thing.
But this was Temple, which hasn't beaten Penn State since 1941.
Mirror photo by Patrick Waksmunski
Penn State quarterback Matt McGloin (11), offensive tackle Mike Farrell and tight end Kyle Carter (87) celebrate McGloin’s 1-yard touchdown run on Saturday.
"Temple was kind of like running their mouth, saying how last year we got away with a win and this year how they were going to steal one and how the streak was going to end," Nittany Lion cornerback Stephon Morris said.
"Coach O'Brien definitely made us very aware of everything that was said with the media and how Temple was supposed to beat us this year and how our team was supposed to be weak."
This might not be a particularly strong PSU team, but then again, Temple isn't a world beater itself. The Owls had closed the gap in recent years and lost by only four points last season, but Saturday showed once again that Temple is still basically Penn State's little brother in the eastern part of the state.
The Lions' defense maintained control throughout the game, and PSU won easily, 24-13, despite committing 100 yards worth of penalties and shooting itself in the foot on several scoring opportunities.
The final score could have been more lopsided, but it still resulted in Penn State's 23rd consecutive win over Temple (the unbeaten streak is 31, with one tie).
"I thought we played well most of the day," O'Brien said.
The Lions (2-2) did do that, with Matt McGloin throwing for a career-high 318 yards, the offense piling up 491 yards of offense and 27 first downs and the defense holding Temple (1-2) to just 237 yards and 13 first downs.
A TD late in the first half gave the Lions a 14-3 lead at intermission, and the game was never in doubt in the second half as PSU upped the margin to 21-3 on McGloin's second scoring run with 4:57 left in the third quarter.
The Lions won their second straight game and head into next week's Big Ten opener at Illinois with a good bit of confidence.
"We were more amped up, and we were ready to show everybody that we could get momentum and win two in a row," Morris said.
O'Brien's comments to the team Monday helped fire up the players.
"Basically what Coach O'Brien pretty much said," Morris recalled, "was how this was a year that we were supposed to be beat, how the team was supposed to be weak and we lost to Ohio, we lost to UVa, this team is beatable and how [much] tougher they are ... and how we are like from this big university and they're from like the rough streets of Philly and things like that."
The only way Penn State was going to lose the game was by beating itself, and the Lions did a lot of that with nine penalties for 100 yards and one interception.
"I was disappointed in that on our end," O'Brien said. "We have got to do a better job on that. We had lineman penalties, holding calls and offensive pass interference. ... The one thing we pride ourselves on after the first three games was doing a good job of not being penalized. Today, I felt like we took a step back on that."
A holding call on tight end Matt Lehman negated a 25-yard pass play to Alex Kenney that would have put PSU at the Temple 3 in the first quarter. The Lions came up empty on that drive, and after taking a 7-3 lead, they missed another chance on second-and-goal from the 10 when McGloin had a pass intercepted after it tipped off receiver Brandon Moseby-Felder's hands.
An offensive pass interference call on tight end Kyle Carter and two holding penalties killed another promising drive late in the first half.
The Lions led 14-3 at the break, and it very easily could have been 28-3 or worse.
"We had a productive day, but we left a lot of points off the board," O'Brien said. "We've got to clean that up."
The struggles didn't matter much because Temple did very little against Penn State's defense. Owls coach Steve Addazio once was the offensive coordinator at Florida, and Temple uses the same type of offense that PSU saw from the Gators in the 2010 Outback Bowl and in last year's 14-10 Lion victory over the Owls.
"We knew what we had to do to stop them," defensive tackle Jordan Hill said. "Going back to the Florida game, we knew they were running similar stuff to that, and we knew we had to stop that type of running zone and quarterback power. It wasn't anything that we haven't seen. We harped on it all week - stopping the quarterback running - and that's what we did."
The Lions now head on the road against an Illinois team that was humbled at home Saturday night by Louisiana Tech. The Illini will be dealing with confidence issues, but not the Lions.
"Considering we were 0-2 two weeks ago and now we're 2-2, I feel like we've made some strides," defensive coordinator Ted Roof said. "We've gotten better every week, and the focus this week will be no different. We have to get better this week."
Penn State 7, Temple 0: On fourth-and-5 from the Temple 41, Matt McGloin stood in the pocket as he was getting pressured and lobbed a pass to Allen Robinson, who put a good juke move on his defender and made a good body adjustment to the ball in the air. Robinson came down with the grab and raced to the end zone with six seconds left in the quarter. Jesse Della Valle set up the drive with a 29-yard punt return to the Owls' 46. The Lions made only 5 yards in three plays, but Bill O'Brien once again showed his aggressive mentality by going for it on fourth down.
Penn State 7, Temple 3: Quarterback Chris Coyer had a bad overthrow that would have been a 7-yard TD to tight end Cody Booth, and the Owls had to settle for a 33-yard field goal by Brandon McManus with 10:29 to go in the half. Lion CB Da'Quan Davis was called for passing interference for a shove in the end zone that converted a third-and-4 from the PSU 28 and moved the ball to the 13. The Owls put together an 11-play, 52-yard drive to answer the Lions' first score.
Penn State 14, Temple 3: The Lions pinned Temple inside its own 10 with 1:46 left in the half, held on a three-and-out, used their timeouts and got the ball back at the Owls' 35 with 1:10 to go. McGloin hit Kyle Carter for 13 yards and then 20 yards on the first two plays to get down to the 1 (with the help of a 1-yard personal foul penalty), McGloin scored on the next play with 22 seconds remaining.
Penn State 21, Temple 3: McGloin finished off an 80-yard scoring drive by plunging in from 2 yards out, the first time in his career he's had two rushing TDs in a game. McGloin also had a 17-yard completion to Alex Kenney to convert a third-and-5 from the Temple 48. Zach Zwinak had a good series with two 8-yard carries and two 7-yard carries. McGloin hit tight end Matt Lehman for 22 yards to the 9, Zwinak went for 7 yards and McGloin scored on the next play with 4:57 to go in the quarter.
Penn State 21, Temple 6: Temple got a good kickoff return, and a personal foul late-hit penalty helped the Owls start at the 45. They got down to the PSU 15 before a holding penalty ruined the drive. Brandon McManus kicked a 42-yard field goal with 1:37 left in the quarter.
Penn State 24, Temple 6: The Lions put together a game-clinching drive that stalled at the 3, but it gave Sam Ficken an opportunity to build some confidence with a 21-yard field goal with 2:29 to go.
Penn State 24, Temple 13: The Owls scored a meaningless touchdown with 1:33 remaining on a 1-yard pass from Coyer to Matt Brown. They tried an onside kick afterward, but PSU recovered and ran out the clock.
- Compiled by Cory Giger