For Temple, this is one of the program's biggest victories in its history. For Penn State? One of its biggest embarrassments.
Temple last defeated the Nittany Lions on Oct. 18, 1941, back when the late Joe Paterno was just a bright-eyed 14-year-old. PSU was 38-0-1 against Temple since then. Until Saturday, that is. Until the 27-10 upset victory over Penn State.
The Nittany Lions' offense started off hot by scoring on their first two offensive drives. But it was defined by frustration afterward. On the next 10 offensive drives, Penn State amassed just 21 yards on 32 plays. It punted nine times and committed one turnover.
Even last season's starting left tackle, Donovan Smith, chimed in on Twitter:
This exact reason https://t.co/xxxpdThGG9
— Donovan Smith (@DSmith_76) September 5, 2015
Temple's defense was supposed to be good. Great, even. But this wasn't expected. Penn State appeared to take a step back from last season, and now questions will surface about this offense -- and the line, which allowed 10 sacks -- until it faces Rutgers in Week 3. (Penn State plays Buffalo next Saturday, which still isn't a "gimme" after this.)
Player of the game: Temple's defensive line. It's not fair to give this to just one player. The Owls wreaked havoc on Penn State's weak offensive line nearly all game, and that was especially evident during sack No. 6 or 7 -- it was easy to lose count -- when the Owls still sacked Penn State in spite of a three-man rush. Temple won this game in the trenches and that carried over.
What the win means for Temple: This means everything. It helps with recruiting, it helps with image, it helps with confidence. It helps with everything. This is a victory no player on this team will soon forget, and it automatically thrusts Temple into the American Athletic Conference title conversation. Granted, the Owls were in that debate before -- but now they're in there with an exclamation mark. This defense is great, and the offense isn't bad, either.
What the loss means for Penn State: There might be a mini-meltdown in Happy Valley after this. Offensive coordinator John Donovan hasn't earned himself many fans during his two-year stint at Penn State, and the line hasn't shown the progress many had hoped. This defense is good, but it simply can't overcome all the mistakes by the offense. This offense might be the worst in the Big Ten. If not, it's certainly close to the worst.
The game turned when ...: Christian Hackenberg found himself on his own 28 in the third quarter and threw an interception to Temple's Sharif Finch, who returned it 26 yards to the 2-yard line. Temple scored a touchdown one play later to give it a 17-10 lead. With the way Penn State's offense was playing, it seemed as if that's all Temple would need.