Nittany Lions looking to rebound following shocker at Temple
PHILADELPHIA (AP) James Franklin got into a bit of a sideline argument with officials about ball pressure.
In the ''Deflategate'' era of football, it's not surprising.
What is a bit of a shocker? The way Penn State was dominated by a Temple team that last won the intrastate matchup when Joe Paterno was just a teenager.
Christian Hackenberg can't win games on his back. The running backs can't win games without a hole to bust through.
The days of easy nonconference wins and guaranteed sellouts at Beaver Stadium may be over for Penn State. For Franklin & Co., mediocrity just may be the new normal for a program that was once a perennial national championship contender.
Temple's 27-10 victory over Penn State wasn't any old season-opening win. It was Temple's first win over the Nittany Lions in 74 years.
The Owls hadn't won in the series since Oct. 18, 1941. That was so long ago that the late Penn State coach Joe Paterno was only 14 years old. Penn State was 38-0-1 since `41 with a 7-7 tie in 1950.
Hackenberg took a hit on the field, sacked a whopping 10 times. Franklin took one off the field, questioned about his play-calling and ripped by former Nittany Lions on social media.
Was this just a blip in a season where the Nittany Lions weren't expected to do much anyway? Or was it a sign more troubling times could be ahead in Happy Valley?
Penn State's next five games are at home and incredibly soft, staring with Saturday's home opener against Buffalo. They look like gimmies on the schedule. Then again, so did Temple.
Here are some things to keep an eye on out of the opener:
HACK SACKED: Penn State allowed 44 sacks last season. Temple only seemed to get that many against Hackenberg on Saturday.
Hackenberg had little time to throw and found himself swarmed by Temple's D on nearly every possession.
Tyler Matakevich had three sacks and Nate Smith two. Hackenberg was just 11 of 25 for 105 yards and needed his final completion to avoid setting a career low for yards passing.
''We had some success early. It just kind of fizzled out there so we've just got to figure out what we have to do,'' Hackenberg said.
Franklin left Hackenberg in with the game out of reach and he was sacked twice more in the final 90 seconds of the game.
''We didn't think he was going to be sacked again with the plays we were calling,'' Franklin said.
WOE LINE: Penn State's line not only struggled to protect Hackenberg, though the QB was at times slow to unload the ball, it created few openings for the running backs.
Akeel Lynch scored on a 42-yard run for a 10-0 lead and that was about all the Nittany Lions could muster. Lynch had 78 yards total and all those sacks stuck Penn State's total yards rushing at 77.
Penn State punted on six straight possessions once it took a 10-0 lead. Penn State had 126 total yards in the first quarter; 43 total over the second and third.
TWEET THIS: Franklin was not only second-guessed in the postgame press conference, former Nittany Lions also took shots on Twitter.
Former running back Bill Belton posted a photo of an exasperated Kanye West with a hand on his head. Former offensive lineman Adam Gress wrote, ''So I wasn't gonna be ''that guy''.... But now I will be.... Offensive coordinator sucks,'' and ex-defensive back Stephon Morris tweeted ''Joe Pa beat the teams he was so suppose to beat. (hash)facts.''
Franklin, surely under fire now after a 7-6 season, had little explanation for Penn State's offensive meltdown.
''I'm not going to come in here and be defensive and make excuses. We've got to get it done,'' he said.