September 26 Philadelphia Inquirer:
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. – The small but vocal knot of Temple fans hollered in support of their defense early in the fourth quarter, with Penn State’s sputtering offense stuck on its own 4-yard line and the Owls just a field goal away from ending 69 years of frustration.
But despite his inconsistency through much of three quarters Saturday, Lions freshman Rob Bolden made this his moment, his first as a college quarterback.
Bolden passed for two first downs on third and long to keep alive what would be a 12-play, 96-yard, 6-minute drive in the fading sunlight. Fullback Michael Zordich finished it with a 1-yard run that gave the 23d-ranked Nittany Lions a 22-13 victory over the Owls before 104,840 at Beaver Stadium.
The victory marked the 28th straight by Penn State (3-1) over the Owls (3-1), whose last win in the series came in 1941. But it was by far the visitors’ best performance since Al Golden took over as coach in 2006. The Owls were in the game right up until Zordich’s touchdown with 3 minutes, 35 seconds remaining.
“They are a good, solid team, well-coached,” said Penn State coach Joe Paterno, who earned his 397th win. “I think our kids had to hustle in the second half and make some plays. I’m just happy we won it. I think it was good for us.”
Until the big drive, the day had belonged to the Penn State defense – which shut down the Owls after a 13-point first quarter and forced four turnovers – and senior Evan Royster, who erupted for a career-high 187 rushing yards after compiling 110 in his first three games.
The Nittany Lions (3-1) had been frustrated time and again by the Temple defense. Before their touchdown drive, they had marched inside the Owls’ 26 seven times, including three trips into the red zone. The result was five field goals, one missed field-goal attempt, and a failure to convert a fourth and 1.
“I think we just kind of beat ourselves in some situations,” said Penn State wide receiver Brett Brackett, a cocaptain. “They made some big plays in big situations, and you have to tip your hat when they make a play.”
With the Lions holding a wobbly 15-13 lead, it was time for the offense to step up. That meant that Bolden, who was only 3 for 8 in the third quarter, needed to make some big throws.
Bolden completed a 19-yard pass to Graham Zug on third and 6 from the 8, and a 27-yarder to Justin Brown on third and 8 from the Lions’ 41. The pass to Brown was thrown a split second before Bolden was nailed by Temple’s Jaiquawn Jarrett.
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