Temple won't change its style for Penn State

Temple quarterback Chris Coyer has thrown just 29 passes in two games, completing only 12. APRIL SAUL / Staff Photographer
Temple quarterback Chris Coyer has thrown just 29 passes in two games, completing only 12. APRIL SAUL / Staff Photographer
Posted: September 23, 2012

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. - Some pigskin pundits are obsessed with establishing a running game and controlling the clock. They say those are the keys to victory.

But that approach is rarely a key against a hard-to-run-on team like Penn State.

Houston, in last season's TicketCity Bowl, and Ohio, in this season's opener, displayed a blueprint to beat the Nittany Lions. Temple might want to consider the formula in Saturday's game at Beaver Stadium.

Both teams spread the field, sped up the game, and attacked Penn State's secondary.

Cougars quarterback Case Keenum threw for 532 yards and three touchdowns in a 30-14 victory over the Nittany Lions on Jan. 2.

On Sept. 1, Ohio's Tyler Tettleton passed for 324 yards and two touchdowns. He also rushed for 47 yards and a score in the Bobcats' 24-14 victory.

Temple (1-1) realizes that defending the pass is Penn State's weakness. The traditionally run-first Owls just aren't saying if they plan on utilizing the blueprint.

"To sit here and say you're going to go pound that team - you're not going to do that. That's not going to happen," Temple coach Steve Addazio said. "You've got to figure out how you're going to get some of those things done within who you are.

"That's an outstanding front, and it's got my attention and respect. We're going to do the best we can to attack it with our personnel. You just can't become something you're not."

And Temple simply is not is a passing team.

Despite spreading teams out, the Owls have run the ball 74.7 percent of the time through two games. When they do throw the ball, the receivers have had trouble catching it.

Quarterback Chris Coyer has completed just 12 of 29 passes for 239 yards this season. Eight of his passes were dropped in a 36-27 setback to Maryland on Sept. 8.

Despite that, Temple had some success in the air against the Terrapins.

Maryland built a 26-3 cushion as the Owls attempted only three first-half passes. After opening things up, Temple closed the gap to 29-27 with 7 minutes, 4 seconds remaining.

"I thought we were a lot better in the play-action passing game," Coyer said. "We did a good job with the empty backfield plays. We protected a lot better, and we threw and caught the ball a lot better."

Temple's ability to catch the ball against Penn State probably will determine the outcome.

Contact Keith Pompey

at 215-854-2939

or kpompey@phillynews.com,

or follow on Twitter @pompeysgridlock.

Read his blog, "Owls Inq,"

at www.philly.com/OwlsInq

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