Jokes flew around the interweb during weeks 1 and 2 of the college football season. Mighty Penn State—crippled by a capricious NCAA board of executives—and once-glorious Pittsburgh were winless, while Temple won its season-opener. Temple, they scoffed, was the best team in the state of Pennsylvania.
Last Saturday though, Penn State had the last laugh.
A systematic drubbing of instate “unrival” Temple reminded people just how far Steve Addazio still has to go with his Owl squad. It also showed the Nittany Nation how much progress the Lions had made in a tumultuous first four weeks of the season.
The offensive line positively plowed over Temple, creating sizable holes for two converted fullbacks to wreak havoc on the Owls. Senior Mike Zordich did most of the damage in the first half, and his fifteen carries for 75 yards wore down the Temple front 7 for the other Killer Z—Zach Zwinak. Zwinak had a few carries early, but he did most of his devastation later in the contest. His 94 yards (on 18 carries) were a career high.
But the real story here isn’t the Killer Z’s; it’s the offensive line. While Temple isn’t a top 25 power, they are a decent program which the Penn State line was able to dominate to the point that our 4th and 5th string running backs averaged over 5 yards a carry. Oh, and I should probably mention that they gave senior quarterback Matt McGloin enough time to complete 67% of his passes for 318 yards, while garnering a Big Ten Player of the Week award.
Not too shabby.
The Penn State offense seems to be finding some balance. Tight ends were running wild all over the field. A few receivers seemed confident and effective. Adding three injured running backs and a starting offensive lineman back into the mix should only help things as Big Ten play starts at Illinois this week.
Addazio hoped to feast on a sanctioned Penn State team. Instead, he felt the sting of the Killer Z’s. Now, the Fighting Illini’s Tim Beckman will try to avoid being stung by Zordich, Zwinak, and all of his other “former recruits” on the Nittany Lions’ squad.
Ryan J. Murphy writes his "Midweek Serenity" column to avoid a Prozac prescription. His book--Ring The Bell: The Twenty-two Greatest Penn State Football Victories of Our Lives--is availalbe in paperback and ebook (Amazon Kindle) for less than a trip to the shrink costs.