No. 24 Temple overcomes bad start, tops GW

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No. 24 Temple overcomes bad start, tops GW

Saturday, February 26, 2011
Posted: 5:44 p.m.

The Associated Press

WASHINGTON -- Temple coach Fran Dunphy insisted he wasn't worried.

Three days after their worst loss of the season to the top-ranked team in the nation, the Owls missed 16 of their first 18 shots and fell 12 points behind George Washington. After the horrific first 10 minutes were over, No. 24 Temple stabilized and dominated the Colonials in the second half on the way to a 57-41 victory Saturday.

After returning the favor by holding George Washington to just two points over the final 11:22, Dunphy could look back on Saturday's game with satisfaction.

"I thought our defense in the second half was as good as we can play," Dunphy said.

How good was it?

The Owls (22-6, 12-2 Atlantic 10) held the Colonials (15-13, 8-6) to 18.8 percent shooting from the field. Temple outscored George Washington 19-2 after the Colonials took a 39-38 lead.

"Everybody just kind of dug in," Dunphy said.

Lavoy Allen had 19 points and a season-high 16 rebounds for the Owls, who have won nine of 10, while Khalif Wyatt had 14 points and Ramone Moore added 11.

On Wednesday, Temple lost by 17 points at No. 1 Duke. Then George Washington ran out to an early 12-point lead.

"I don't think there was," Dunphy said about a hangover effect. "I don't think we were reeling by any stretch. We just kind of had to get our legs under us."

Once that happened, Allen, their all-time leading rebounder, was simply marvelous, shooting 8 of 12 from the field and blocking three shots to complement his work on the boards.

"We had poor ball movement at the beginning," Allen said. "Maybe we took them too lightly."

Allen has had to do more because two of the Owls' top players, forwards Micheal Eric and Scootie Randall, are both out with injuries. Eric has missed the last four games with a fractured right patella and won't play again this season. Randall, their second-leading scorer and rebounder, missed the last three games with an injury to his right foot. Randall's return is expected, but no date has been set.

"Everybody's got to do a little bit better," Wyatt said. "We're just growing as a team since they went down."

Dwayne Smith had 12 points to lead the Colonials, who scored a season-low 41 points in having a three-game winning streak end.

George Washington coach Karl Hobbs is an admirer of both Temple and Allen.

"I think it was pretty obvious. Their defense really took things away from us," Hobbs said. "That's the best team that we've played."

Before Saturday's game, Hobbs talked at length to his team about Allen.

"He must be a pleasure to coach," Hobbs said. "He controlled and dominated the game."

While Hobbs admires Allen from afar, Dunphy gets to coach the 6-foot-9 senior -- at least for a few more weeks.

"He's always in the right place defensively," Dunphy said. "It's something we're used to, but I think today was kind of an exceptional game for him."

In their nightmarish beginning, the Owls shot just 2 of 18, and quickly fell behind 20-8. They didn't crack double figures until more than halfway through the first half. After George Washington took a 22-10 lead on Aaron Ware's layup with 7:33 to play in the opening 20 minutes, Temple crawled back into the game. Allen scored 10 straight points for the Owls as they got within 26-23 at halftime.

It was somewhat remarkable that Temple trailed by just three at the half since they shot 24.2 percent.

After the Colonials' Nemanja Mikic hit a 3-pointer to make it 29-23, the Owls scored 10 straight points -- including a 3-pointer and layup by Allen to take a 33-29 lead with 16:47 left.

The Colonials haven't beaten a ranked team at home since they defeated Xavier on Jan. 14, 1998.

Temple, which has won 23 of its last 27 games played at George Washington, trails league-leading Xavier by a half-game. The 25th-ranked Musketeers play at Dayton on Sunday.
Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Penn State uses dominant second half to top No. 6 Wisconsin for Big Ten title

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Penn State uses dominant second half to top No. 6 Wisconsin for Big Ten title

INDIANAPOLIS — Penn State’s offense rewrote the Big Ten Championship’s offensive record book Saturday night but its 38-31 victory over Wisconsin wasn’t secure until the final minute.

And Linebacker U. got the game-saving play from the secondary.

Wisconsin, armed with a pair of timeouts and lining up for a fourth-and-1 play from the Nittany Lions’ 24, called on Corey Clement. Clement, who’d already racked up 166 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries, got the ball but never got close to the marker.

Grant Haley made sure of it.

The junior cornerback wrapped up Clement’s legs and safety Marcus Allen kept Clement from leaning forward and the game was over. Penn State (11-2) has the 2016 Big Ten title and, at worst, will play in the Rose Bowl for the first time since 2009.

“They ran [a counter] early in the game and split it for a touchdown,” Haley said of the final play. “I saw them set the edge, so I got triggered really well and Marcus finished off the play.”

Haley and company watched the Badgers run wild in the first half; 164 yards and three touchdowns, including Clement’s 67-yard scamper. Wisconsin, one of the conference’s best rushing teams this season, managed less than half that total (77) in the second half.

“They really weren’t running that many plays,” Haley added. “We just came out in the second half and had a jolt. 

“We just had the energy going into the second half.”

Wisconsin got the ball twice in the fourth quarter but managed only 65 yards - 51 of which came on its final drive.

“Give credit to Penn State for coming out in the second half and making those adjustments and allowing those big plays to happen,” Wisconsin coach Paul Chryst said. 

Give plenty of credit, too, to the Nittany Lions’ offense. 

Quarterback Trace McSorley was named the game’s most valuable player after completing 17 of his 25 passes for 319 yards and four touchdowns - both championship game records. He helped Penn State complete the biggest comeback in the game’s six year history after his team fell behind 28-7 in the first half and also finished the regular season with 3,360 yards and 25 touchdown passes, both school records.

Saeed Blacknall had six catches for a Big Ten Championship-record 155 yards and two touchdowns and DaeShean Hamilton finished with 118 yards on eight grabs.

Tailback Saquon Barkley, injured in last weekend’s victory over Michigan State, returned with 88 yards and a touchdown on the ground and caught an 18-yard scoring pass from McSorley early in the fourth quarter to put the Nittany Lions ahead for good.

Penn State, in its first-ever trip to this game, is coming home from it with just its second outright Big Ten title. It’s on a nine-game winning streak that has seen it average 40 points per contest.

It also could present the College Football Playoff selection committee with a bit of quandary. The Nittany Lions, who were ranked seventh by the committee last week, topped the No. 6 Badgers and claimed a conference championship, something likely playoff teams Alabama, Clemson and Washington all boast.

On the flip side, Penn State’s last defeat was a lopsided 49-10 loss at Michigan, which sits at No. 5 in the rankings and likely won’t move into the top four after losing last week to No. 2 Ohio State.

Penn State coach James Franklin stated his team’s case after Saturday night’s win, but also made it clear he and his team won’t be moping their way to Pasadena, Calif., where the conference champion is slotted if it is not chosen for the playoff.

“We’ve got great options in front of us,” he said. “I hear people on TV talking about they feel like maybe the playoff has taken away from the bowls. 

“Are you kidding me? The Rose Bowl? It doesn’t get a whole lot better than that.”

Instant Replay: No. 7 Penn State 38, No. 6 Wisconsin 31

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Instant Replay: No. 7 Penn State 38, No. 6 Wisconsin 31

BOX SCORE

INDIANAPOLIS — Penn State got bullied a bit Saturday, but never gave up its lunch money. 

It spent the second half taking control of the schoolyard.

After getting pushed around for much of Saturday night’s first half, the Nittany Lions were anything but punchy after the break. Penn State (No. 7 in the College Football Playoff rankings) got its high-powered offense into gear in the second and roared back for the school’s first victory in the Big Ten Championship game, 38-31, over No. 6 Wisconsin.

The Nittany Lions (11-2) are bound for the Rose Bowl for the first time since the 2009 season and are outright conference champions for the first time in 22 years.  

Penn State trailed by three touchdowns midway through the second quarter but allowed just three points the rest of the night. Quarterback Trace McSorley threw for 384 yards and a title-game record four touchdowns to spark a comeback that saw the Nittany Lions outscore the Badgers 24-3 in the second half. McSorley was named Big Ten Championship game MVP.

Wisconsin missed a 48-yard field goal early in the second half and Penn State needed just 11 seconds to take advantage. McSorley (22 for 31) hit Saeed Blacknall with a 70-yard touchdown pass to cut the lead to a touchdown. Saquon Barkley tied it at 28 later in the third with a 1-yard scoring run.

Blacknall ended the night with six catches for 115 yards and two touchdowns while DaeSean Hamilton had eight grabs for 118. 

Wisconsin retook the lead with a short field goal in the final seconds of the third quarter but Penn State went ahead for good on the ensuing drive, which ended with McSorley’s 18-yard touchdown pass to Barkley.

Tyler Davis added a 24-yard field goal later in the fourth and the Penn State defense sealed the victory when Grant Haley stuffed Wisconsin’s Corey Clement on fourth-and-1 with 1:01 to play.

The Nittany Lions fumbled the ball away twice in the opening half — one was returned for a short Badgers touchdown — but only trailed 28-14 at intermission after McSorley hit Blacknall for a 40-yard touchdown with under a minute to play in the half. 

Mike Gesicki caught McSorley’s first scoring pass, a 33-yarder, late in the first quarter.

Clement finished with 164 yards and a touchdown on the ground for the Badgers (10-3), who also got scoring runs from Bradrick Shaw and Dare Ogunbowale. Bart Houston was 16 for 21 for 174 yards. 

Smelling the roses?
Penn State is likely off to Pasadena for the fourth time in school history and is seeking to reach .500 in college football’s longest running postseason game. The Nittany Lions defeated Oregon 38-20 in the 1995 game but fell to Southern California in their other two trips, in 2009 and 1923.

It appears the Trojans might be their opponents once more; No. 4 Washington won the Pac-12 championship Friday night but appears headed for the playoff. The Rose Bowl gets its choice of Pac-12 runner-up Colorado (10-3) or 9-3 USC.

There is a chance Penn State could be selected to the College Football Playoff, but No. 1 Alabama, No. 3 Clemson and No. 4 Washington all won this weekend, while No. 2 Ohio State was idle. The playoff will be announced at noon on Sunday.

He’s fine
Sophomore running back running back Saquon Barkley showed no ill effects of a right foot injury suffered during a Nov. 26 win over Michigan State. He added the go-ahead touchdown — and another mention in Penn State’s record book — for good measure.

Barkley, who left in the third quarter of Nittany Lions’ penultimate victory, hauled in a touchdown pass from McSorley in the opening minutes of the fourth quarter to give Penn State the lead for good. He had a short scoring run earlier in the period.

Barkley broke Evan Royster’s sophomore rushing record with a 19-carry, 83-yard night to push his season total to 1,302 yards. He set the mark for Penn State freshman (1,076) last fall.

Nice run
Wisconsin’s Andrew Endicott’s 23-yard field goal late in the third quarter snapped a shutout streak that had seen Penn State outscore its opponents 82-0 in the second halves of games. The last scoring play before Endicott’s boot came in the second half of a 45-31 win over Indiana on Nov. 12.