Nittany Lions host Temple in final non-conference contest

Penn State will be looking for a 4-0 start when it plays its final non-conference game of the season, hosting in-state rival Temple. Kickoff Saturday is at 12:00 p.m. in Beaver Stadium.

A limited number of tickets, returned by Temple, are available at www.GoPSUsports.com or at the Beaver Stadium ticket office at 8 a.m. on Saturday.

The Big Ten Network will nationally televise the contest. Cable and satellite TV subscribers can find the channel listing in their area at www.bigtennetwork.com/gamefinder/index.html. The Penn State Sports Network and www.GoPSUsports.com also will air the clash.

The No. 15 Nittany Lions are coming off a 55-13 belting of Syracuse in the Carrier Dome. The Owls (1-2) lost at Buffalo, 30-28, on a "Hail Mary" pass on the final play of the game.

Penn State has won 34 of its past 43 games overall, tied for the nation's seventh-best record over that span. During the 34-9 streak, the Nittany Lions have won 22 of their last 24 games in Beaver Stadium, dating to a 37-13 win over Michigan State on Senior Day on Nov. 20, 2004.

Former Nittany Lion tight end Al Golden is in his third season as head coach of the Owls. In 2007, he led Temple to its most wins since 2002. Golden was a two-year starter at Penn State, earning letters from 1989-91, and was a team co-captain in 1991, graduating that year. Golden was the Nittany Lions' linebackers coach and recruiting coordinator in 2000. He was defensive coordinator at Virginia from 2001-05 before being named Temple's 24th head coach.

In addition to Golden, two other former Nittany Lion players are members of the Owls' coaching staff. Assistant head coach/defensive coordinator Mark D'Onofrio played linebacker for the Nittany Lions from 1988-91. Golden, D'Onofrio and Penn State quarterbacks coach Jay Paterno were Nittany Lion teammates. Temple offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Matt Rhule was a linebacker for the Lions from 1994-97. A State College native, Rhule and Penn State receivers coach and recruiting coordinator Mike McQueary were teammates at State College Area High School and Penn State. 

The Nittany Lions and Owls are meeting for the 38th time, with Penn State owning a 33-3-1 series lead. The teams have met the last two years, with Lions winning, 31-0, in Philadelphia in 2007.

The series began in 1931, with Temple winning the first contest, 12-0. The Owls won three of the initial four meetings from 1931-41, but since then, the Lions are 32-0-1 against their intrastate rivals, winning the last 25 meetings since a 7-7 tie in 1950. Penn State and Temple renewed their series in 2006 and are scheduled to play during each of the next four seasons.

At halftime, approximately 120 Penn State student-athletes and coaches will be honored with a "Parade of Champions." Among the teams that will be recognized are the NCAA Championship men's and women's volleyball teams and Big Ten Championship women's soccer, men's gymnastics and women's outdoor track and field teams. Several individual Big Ten and NCAA Champions and 2008 Olympians also will be honored.

The Nittany Lions are ranked in the Top 10 nationally in three offensive categories, including No. 3 in scoring at 55.3 ppg. The Nittany Lions lead the Big Ten and are No. 8 in the nation in total offense with a 536.0 ypg average and are second in the conference and tied for No. 9 nationally in rushing at 263.0 ypg.

Temple ranks 33rd in the nation in scoring defense, allowing an average of 16.3 ppg. The Owls have recovered four fumbles and grabbed three interceptions in their three games.

Following the Temple clash, Penn State opens its 16th season of Big Ten competition, hosting No. 22 Illinois on Sept. 27. Kickoff is at 8 p.m. for the primetime clash, which will be an ABC split national telecast.  

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Last Updated March 19, 2009