Penn State plays a team from one of the edges of its commonwealth for the second straight game this week. After dropping a rivalry renewal against Pitt in disappointing fashion, the Nittany Lions will try for their first win against an in-state team since 2014 when Tempe visits Beaver Stadium on Saturday. Penn State lost in Philadelphia last year.
The Nittany Lions-Owls series has a long history. The teams played for the first time in 1931, and Penn State has mostly been drubbing Temple ever since. The Lions are 39-4-1 all-time against their eastern neighbors, and last year's Temple win was the Owls' first since 1941. That was a 31-game winning streak for the folks from State College, which started when Joe Paterno was 17 years old. It was quite a run.
Speaking of Paterno, Penn State's going to honor him for the first time since his firing and death amid the Jerry Sandusky child sexual abuse scandal. This is going to be really popular among some people. It's going to be really unpopular among lots of other people. There will also be a football game going on.
How to watch, stream and listen
TV: Noon ET, Big Ten Network. The broadcasters are Eric Collins, Glen Mason and Rick Pizzo.
Online streaming: BTN2Go
Spread: Penn State opened as a 7-point favorite.
Three big things to know
1. Probably don't bank on another Temple upset. The Nittany Lions have a 71 percent win probability, according to Bill Connelly's projection model. The Owls were underdogs last year, too, but some things are different now. Penn State's offensive line should be a bit better, and the Nittany Lions have star running back Saquon Barkley, who only had one carry in his debut as a true freshman a year ago. Barkley should play a big role Saturday, and it's not clear what Temple's going to do about stopping him. PSU fans are quite confident.
2. Penn State's run defense has been leaky. The Lions lost an entire defensive line after last season, and the early returns on its replacement haven't been great. Penn State is 107th nationally in rushing average allowed (5.06 per carry) and has given up 491 ground yards in two games. Temple's rushing attack hasn't been great, but maybe running back Ryquell Armstead can find a couple of holes.
3. James Franklin losing this game would be bad. Penn State has a hard Big Ten schedule ahead, and entering that slate at 1-2 could lead to the kind of 5-7 or 6-6 year that wouldn't be at all helpful to Franklin's job security. His seat might not be hot now, but losing in back-to-back weeks to Pitt and Temple – the only other FBS programs in the state Penn State's supposed to run – would be an unmitigated disaster. It's best to just avoid it.