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Penn State expects tougher Temple test

While Penn State was clearly disappointed and frustrated with its performance in Saturday's loss to Alabama, players tried their best not to let the feeling linger into this week.

"When it came time to get back to work, everyone got down to business," linebacker Glenn Carson said. "We pulled out the Temple tapes and kind of said, 'Hey, look, we've got to bounce back from this.'"

And, historically, Temple has proved to be a nice salve for whatever might ail the Nittany Lions.

The Owls have not beaten their in-state neighbors since 1941, although to be fair, they did manage a tie in 1950. Penn State has won the last 28 meetings in a row.

Yet, Temple looks dangerous this time around. Using the players Al Golden recruited during his miraculous rebuilding job, first-year coach Steve Addazio has the Owls off to a hot start. They have outscored their first two opponents 83-10 while ranking in the top 20 nationally in seven different categories. Granted, their two victories have come against an FCS team (Villanova) and a MAC bottom-feeder (Akron). But Temple has won 18 of its last 22 regular-season games and 11 of its past 12 at Lincoln Financial Field, site of this Saturday's contest.

"This is probably the best Temple team I've seen, just watching them on tape," Penn State senior defensive tackle Devon Still said.

The Owls hung tough with the Nittany Lions last year, leading 13-6 at halftime and trailing just 15-13 late into the fourth quarter. While Penn State has more overall talent, it's not good enough to overlook anyone.

"I don't think we're in a position to be anything but running scared ourselves," head coach Joe Paterno said. "We haven't done anything. I mean, we're not a team that was a great team last year. ... I think we've got to take a good look at ourselves and say, 'Hey, we've got a ways to go.' And Temple certainly is not going to be somebody that's going to be easy."

The Nittany Lions will look to fix the offensive problems it suffered for the second straight year against Alabama's terrific defense, as they produced only 251 yards and a lone, late touchdown in the 27-11 loss. Paterno said he plans to keep rotating quarterbacks Rob Bolden and Matt McGloin this week "until we find out exactly which one we think might be better." Though just about every Penn State fan would like to see the team pick a starter and move forward, Paterno insists that the quarterback play isn't a major issue.

On defense, Paterno wants to see the Lions creates some turnovers, something they failed to do against Alabama despite a few chances for interceptions.

"We've got to change the game around on defense once in a while," he said. "That part I think is a legitimate criticism."

Temple has scored only one touchdown since 2003 against Penn State. This series has been about as lopsided as it gets, but the Lions say that history won't make them overconfident Saturday.

"However many years, we've had Temple's number, we can't let that affect the way we come into the game," running back Silas Redd said.

The bottom line is that Penn State may need this game more than Temple, considering that it has already stubbed its toe once in what it hoped would be a breakthrough season.

"We can't let what happened last week become like a snowball effect," Redd said. "Just because we're not going to be undefeated doesn't mean we can't be Big Ten champions or national champions."