The Penn State Nittany Lions will be the NCAA betting favorites versus the Temple Owls, despite the former coming from a loss and the latter coming from a win. The odds for fans betting on college football are the following:
Temple +8½ (-110) 48 (-110) +265
Penn State -8½ (-110) 48 (-110) -325
The Owls shutout the Stony Brook Seawolves 38-0 for their first win of the regular season. QB Phillip Walker went 11 of 23 for 124 passing yards with three TDs and one interception, while Temple’s defense limited Stony Brook to 133 yards of total offense – but then what would you expect from a college with a name about as threatening as Dawson’s Creek. Several young Temple players saw playing time, such as freshmen linebacker William Kwenkeu and safety Benny – who combine for 10 tackles – and Isaiah Wright, who rushed 42 yards on seven carries. In contrast to their scoring prowess, the Owls still have to work on protecting Walker, who has been sacked six times in two games. All things considered, Story Book, err, Stony Brook is but a Football Championship Subdivision team, but as a NCAA betting confidence booster following a loss to Army, it’ll have to do.
The Lions lost their third straight Penn State–Pittsburgh football rivalry game 42-39 to drop to a 1-1 record. Penn State QB starter Trace McSorley threw 24 of 35 for 332 yards with one TD. Unfortunately, McSorley did not react well to being pressured for the first time; he lost two of three fumbles and threw an interception that pretty much cost the Lions the game. If the passing game was not quite on par – though eight different receivers caught the ball – at least the running game stepped up in the person of Saquon Barkley, who rushed for 85 yards on 20 carries and scored five TDs. In any case, the offensive line did neither McSorley nor Barkley any favors. On defense, the Lions have not managed yet to fill the gaps left by Anthony Zettel, Austin Johnson and Carl Nassib.
As mentioned above, the Nittany Lions are the NCAA favorite heading into this Saturday. That being said, Penn State’s defense has more holes than Sonny Corleone – and they might be without LB Jason Cabinda again –, and while the Owls are not a scoring powerhouse, they could conceivably draw inspiration from their 2015 season opener, in which they responded to the Lions’ first quarter 10 points with 27 of their own, and sacked then Penn State QB Christian Hackenberg ten times. Then again, Temple’s defense is not too far removed from Penn State’s, having allowed 329 rushing yards to Army. There may be good news for the Lions’ defense, though; Jahad Thomas, who ran for 135 yards and two scores against Penn State last season, has not played so far this season on account of a thumb injury. And in offense, even Temple head coach Matt Rhule has admitted “they’re gonna be really, really hard for people to stop all year.”