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Penn State Vs. Temple: Depth Charts, Players To Watch, Key Matchups And Prediction

September 16, 2016

DEPTH CHARTS Penn State OFFENSE XWR: 12 Chris Godwin, 84 Juwan Johnson LT: 70 Brendan Mahon, 73 Paris Palmer LG: 52 Ryan Bates, 55 Wendy Laurent C: 72 Brian Gaia, 55 Wendy Laurent RG: 53 Derek Dowrey, 66 Connor McGovern RT: 59 Andrew Nelson, 77 Chasz Wright TE: 88 Mike Gesicki, 89 Tom Pancoast HWR: 5 DaeSean Hamilton, 10 Brandon Polk QB: 9 Trace McSorley, 2 Tommy Stevens RB: 26 Saquon Barkley, 6 Andre Robinson ZWR: 3 DeAndre Thompkins, 11 Irvin Charles DEFENSE DE: 94 Evan Schwan, 19 Torrence Brown DT: 30 Kevin Givens, 93 Antoine White DT: 41 Parker Cothren, 54 Robert Windsor DE: 90 Garrett Sickels, 97 Ryan Buccholz WLB: 11 Brandon Bell, 33 Jake Cooper MLB: 5 Nyeem Wartman-White, 47 Brandon Smith SLB: 43 Manny Bowen, 11 Brandon Bell BCB: 29 John Reid, 1 Christian Campbell FS: 2 Marcus Allen, 28 Troy Apke SS: 6 Malik Golden, 7 Koa Farmer FCB: 15 Grant Haley, 21 Amani Oruwariye SPECIAL P: 93 Blake Gillikin, 92 Daniel Pasaquariello K: 95 Tyler Davis, 99 Joey Julius LS: 44 Tyler Yazujian, 41 Zach Ladonis PR: 29 John Reid, 8 Mark Allen KR: 4 Nick Scott, 24 Miles Sanders Temple OFFENSE WR: 10 Marshall Ellick, 1 Ventell Bryant LT: 66 Dion Dawkins, 79 Cole Boozer LG: 70 Jovahn Fair, 71 Benson Israel C: 68 Brendan McGowan, 58 Matt Hennessey RG: 69 Adrian Sullivan, 55 Brian Carter RT: 53 Leon Johnson, 77 Jaelin Robinson TE: 86 Colin Thompson, 85 Chris Myarick WR: 89 Keith Kirkwood, 17 Adonis Jennings QB: 8 Phillip Walker, 18 Frank Nutile RB: 5 Jahad Thomas, 25 Ryquell Armstead WR: 14 Brodrick Yancy, 21 Cortrelle Simpson DEFENSE DE: 50 Praise Martin-Oguike, 52 Avery Ellis DT: 99 Freddie Booth-Lloyd, 98 Michael Dogbe NT: 43 Averee Robinson, 89 Greg Webb DE: 7 Haason Reddick, 56 Sharif Finch SLB: 2 Avery Williams, 35 William Kwenkeu MLB: 41 Jarred Alwan, 44 Jared Folks WLB: 6 Stephaun Marshall, 22 Chapelle Russell CB: 16 Artrel Foster, 21 Derrick Thomas FS: 3 Sean Chandler, 13 Nate L. Smith SS: 23 Delvon Randall, 28 Jyquis Thomas CB: 15 Nate Hairston, 12 Kareem Ali SPECIAL P: 43 Alex Starzyk, 29 Austin Jones K: 29 Austin Jones, 97 Aaron Boumerhi LS: 59 Corey Lerch, 57 Josh Lang PR: 3 Sean Chandler, 5 Jahad Thomas KR: 26 Travon Williams, 15 Nate Hairston PLAYERS TO WATCH Temple QB Phillip Walker As goes Phillip Walker, so goes Temple’s offense. The dynamic dual-threat signal-caller’s 2015 resurgence pushed the Owls into the Top 25 last season after their stunning season-opening win over Penn State. That said, he struggled badly in this year’s season-opening loss to Army, firing three interceptions before rebounding to throw three TD passes against Stony Brook last week. He needs to be more of a factor in the running game to upset Penn State again. Penn State RB Saquon Barkley Temple held FCS Stony Brook to just 49 rushing yards on 34 carries last week. But in the opener, its defense got gashed by Army, to the tune of 329 yards on 67 carries. Despite scoring five touchdowns last week, Barkley hasn’t broken out quite yet for the Nittany Lions, who have faced a pair of defenses that have schemed specifically to slow him down. Even with that possibility, Barkley should be primed for a big game against a defense that couldn’t stop Army’s run when it knew it was coming. KEY MATCHUPS When Penn State has the ball Offensive line vs. Defensive line There were some good moments, and some really bad ones, for Penn State up front last week against Pitt, namely the second consecutive week a blindside hit on the quarterback led to a fumble and a touchdown. This will be an interesting test for Penn State’s line because this is a Temple front that had its way with them last season and because Temple couldn’t slow Army in the opener. DEs Haason Reddick and Praise Martin-Oguike and NT Averee Robinson are experienced, successful players, but the most effective Temple pass rusher so far in ’16 has been backup DE Sharif Finch. EDGE: Penn State Quarterbacks/Receivers vs. Secondary Trace McSorley would be a pretty big national story by now if he could hang on to the football. He has been charged with six fumbles through two games, and he has lost three — two of which led to touchdowns. There’s also that pesky game-ending interception last week on his ledger. But he has plenty of playmakers around him, with WR DeAndre Thompkins emerging alongside DaeSean Hamilton and Chris Godwin. Junior safety Sean Chandler is a big-time player for Temple, unquestionably its best defender. But this team hasn’t been challenged through the air yet. EDGE: Penn State Running backs vs. Linebackers Penn State fans seem to be waiting for the breakout performance in terms of yards for RB Saquon Barkley, and it may come against a Temple team that got exposed by Army in the opener. It was a surprising performance by the Black Knights, because behind the rebuilt D-line, Temple is pretty experienced defensively. MLB Jarred Alwan was second on the team in tackles last season, and OLBs Stephaun Marshall and Avery Williams are the team’s leading tacklers so far in 2016. This is a group that can make some plays, but they’ll also have to watch Barkley in the passing game. EDGE: Penn State When Temple has the ball Offensive line vs. Defensive line A big, physical, experienced offensive line mostly had its way with Penn State’s young defensive front last week, and while Temple’s front certainly isn’t as experienced or talented as Pittsburgh’s, it may pose some problems. LT Dion Dawkins has 30 career starts, while C Brendan McGowan, RG Adrian Sullivan and RT Leon Johnson are steady both on run plays and protecting the passer. PSU’s D-line is going to have to play like it did in the second half against Pitt, which means plenty of DE Torrence Brown, who is emerging as the group’s most dynamic player. EDGE: Temple Quarterbacks/Receivers vs. Secondary When Phillip Walker plays well, Temple is a difficult team to beat. When he plays poorly, you get what Temple has this season: A loss to Army. Walker through three interceptions in that game, and he hasn’t been much of a factor moving the ball with his own scrambling ability, which has made him a dangerous player. The Owls don’t have experienced weapons at wideout to support him, as three of the top four receivers from last season are gone. Junior Keith Kirkwood (seven catches) has emerged as Walker’s top target. PSU’s secondary would be one of the best in the Big Ten if not for tackling issues. EDGE: Penn State Running backs vs. Linebackers There are big question marks here for both sides. Temple has not had star running back Jahad Thomas due to a hand injury this season, and his status for Saturday is uncertain. Ryquell Armstead, a sophomore, has 125 yards on 30 carries in his stead, but has been a nonfactor in the passing game. PSU could be without MLB Jason Cabinda for the second straight week, but Valley View product Nyeem Wartman-White filled in admirably, and sophomore Manny Bowen can be a difference-maker. EDGE: Penn State Special teams Kicking game In two respects, PSU has been very good in this area, a welcomed change from last season’s struggles. Punter Blake Gillikin has been steady with a 45.8 yards per punt average and five of his 11 boots pinning opponents inside the 20. Kicker Tyler Davis has remained perfect on field goals, too. But kickoff man Joey Julius has struggled on placement, which has led to big returns. Punter Alex Starzyk and kicker Austin Jones have been a strength for Temple. EDGE: Temple Return game With the exception of two long punt returns by John Reid, Penn State hasn’t exactly been as good as expected this season on returns. Temple has been better than expected, though. PR Sean Chandler averages 16.7 yards per return, and freshman WR Isaiah Wright can step in with big-play potential, too. PSU has the more dynamic players. Somehow, Temple gets better production. EDGE: Temple By The Numbers 0 — Games in the Football Bowl Subdivision last season that saw a team register as many sacks as the 10 Temple had against Penn State last season. 8 — Years since Penn State, which is averaging 36 points per game this season, scored that many or more in a game against Temple. 18 — Points per game scored by Penn State RB Saquon Barkley, the second-highest average in the nation through two games. He touched the ball just once against Temple last season. It’s averaging 21.8 ppg in its last six games against the Owls. 19 — Tackles for loss for Penn State’s defense, which ranks 12th in the nation. 27— Freshmen who have seen playing time in the first two games of the season for Temple. Game Prediction The Pittsburgh loss has to be a line in the sand for Penn State. With all due respect to the Panthers, there weren’t many who thought Penn State would win that game, which in the long run made the Temple game much more important (if also much less anticipated). The more talented team has to win this one, and Penn State will. Penn State 38, Temple 14