Kicking game a mess for PSU
PHILADELPHIA - Penn State won Saturday in spite of its kicking game, which has major problems that will have to be corrected if the team is going to be able to win close games.
"That's always been a trademark of a good Penn State team is to have a good kicking game and steal some games with the kicking game," defensive coordinator Tom Bradley said. "I think we've obviously got a lot of work to do there."
The biggest issue is at place-kicker. The Nittany Lions went 0-for-3 on field goals Saturday and are 1-for-6 on the season. Evan Lewis missed from 45 yards in the first quarter and had a 36-yarder that would have tied the game hit the upright and bounce out in the fourth. Sam Ficken had a 49-yarder blocked at the end of the first half.
Anthony Fera averaged 43.2 yards on five punts, but he also had one blocked.
"[Fera] just took too long," Joe Paterno said before cracking a joke. "He took the ball, took a look at it to make sure it was a football and then he kicked it."
JoePa sounded exasperated when talking about the kicking game.
"I wish I had the answer to that baby," he said. "I'm not sure. Some days we look pretty darn good and you feel good, and other days we don't do so well."
QB rotation continues
The quarterback competition between Rob Bolden and Matt McGloin might have gotten even more complicated Saturday.
The coaches rotated the two in and out more than in the first two games, and there seemed to be little rhyme or reason as to why one was in the game as opposed to the other at any given point. Offensive coordinator Galen Hall said Paterno makes the decision on which one will play each series.
Bolden was in the game at the end and led the team to the game-winning touchdown. He finished 9-of-17 for 92 yards and threw one interception.
"I didn't have my best game today," he said. "I had a few mistakes here and there."
McGloin was 13-of-19 for 124 yards and led a TD drive in the second quarter. He also hit a 40-yard pass to Derek Moye late in the half that gave the Lions a shot at a long field goal.
"I thought we both played well today," McGloin said. "We were communicating pretty well on the sidelines coming on and off. Sure [the constant rotation] was frustrating at times, but I thought that in the end the coaches made the right decisions throughout the whole game."
Moye turns in strong showing
After dropping key passes against Indiana State and Alabama - both of which could have gone for touchdowns - Derek Moye returned to his 2010 form Saturday with a game-high seven catches for 112 yards. He also had a 52-yard catch-and-run for a touchdown that was wiped out by a holding penalty in the third quarter.
"I thought I should have made a few plays in the first half that I didn't and I took it upon myself to make them in the second half," he said.
The biggest may have been a fourth-and-2 in which Rob Bolden found Moye for an 11-yard slant, giving the Lions a first down at the Temple 12 in the fourth quarter and setting up Penn State's go-ahead touchdown.
"I thought Rob would come to me, and he did," Moye said. "He put it in a good spot for me to catch it."
Moye said the team is still getting used to the quarterback rotation between Bolden and Matt McGloin.
"It's something we're still trying to get used to," he said. "It gets frustrating sometimes. Obviously, they throw different type of balls and make different reads, but we have to make plays no matter who is back there."
Moye said Bolden "throws a little tighter spiral, and Matt tries to throw harder," and, he added with a laugh, "maybe just to show everybody he [McGloin] can throw harder."
Weekly JoePa watch
Joe Paterno did not come down from the press box to address the Lions at halftime, but for the first time this season, he was on the field in the pregame and visited with Temple coach Steve Addazio.
"It's too long of a walk," Paterno, who still carries a metal crutch, said afterward of his decision to remain upstairs. "I'm trying to build it [strength] up, but I was afraid I'd run out of gas."
Paterno is also concerned about "getting in the way" and being "a distraction," saying, "I didn't want the kids worried about where I would stand."
He said, though, that he thinks he may be able to coach from the field Saturday against Eastern Michigan.
Paterno has coached from the press box for all three games this season and for parts of three seasons (along with 2006 and 2008) going back to his injury at Wisconsin in 2006.
Including Saturday, the Lions are 10-3 when he's upstairs and 1-0 in his absence (2006 game vs. Temple).
Wasted time costs Lions
Penn State's coaches wasted 19 seconds before calling a timeout late in the first half, and that proved costly because the Lions could have used that time after getting the big pass play to Moye.
Temple came up short on third-and-5 with 1:01 to go in the half. PSU let the clock tick down to 42 seconds before calling a timeout, then the Owls kicked a 40-yard field goal for a 10-7 lead.
McGloin's 40-yard pass to Moye moved PSU to the Temple 32, but there were only six seconds left. Add those 19 seconds back, and the Lions could have run at least two or three more plays. Instead, they had to settle for a 49-yard field goal attempt by Ficken that was blocked.
Paterno didn't like being questioned about the timeout situation after the game and made the snafu seem like it was no big deal.
"I wasn't sure we should be calling a timeout," he said. "I'm not so sure I'd do the same thing in a different situation. I don't know. Sometimes it's a gut feeling."
Szczerba plays after death in family
Tight end Andrew Szczerba was playing with a heavy heart after his uncle, a Delaware police officer, was killed by a suspect Friday morning.
Joe Szczerba, an 18-year veteran of the New Castle, Del., Police Department, was stabbed to death during an altercation while taking a suspect into custody, The Associated Press reported. Two other officers also suffered injuries, but their conditions were unknown. The suspect is in custody, and officials are investigating.
Andrew Szczerba made two catches for 13 yards and was whistled for a false start penalty on the game's first play from scrimmage.
Silas Redd, who gained 86 yards on 16 carries and had a 17-yard TD in the second quarter, missed time late in the game with cramps but said he was OK. ... RT Chima Okoli, who's been battling an ankle injury, was in and out of the game a few times and limped off once before returning. He also had a huge holding penalty that negated a 52-yard TD pass from McGloin to Moye in the third quarter. ... True freshmen who made the trip for PSU: CB Adrian Amos, WR Bill Belton, WR Allen Robinson, T Donovan Smith, PK Sam Ficken, DT Anthony Zettel.
(Compiled by Cory Giger and Neil Rudel)