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Our Tome of a Penn State-Temple Preview; LIVE BLOG Tomorrow at Noon

Our Tome of a Penn State-Temple Preview; LIVE BLOG Tomorrow at Noon

We're now less than twenty-four hours away from the biggest college football game played in the city of Philadelphia in...well, let's just call it a long time.

Though the Nittany Lions are favored by a touchdown and an extra point, and the Owls haven't had a win in this series since before Joe Paterno became head coach, many believe that Saturday's game is the best opportunity Temple has had to up-end its in-state rival in decades.

Last year, the Owls proved more than competitive against Penn State, losing by a final score 22-13, but leading from more than half the contest. So, is 2011 the year Temple finally gets the monkey off its back? Our college football guys Kevin McGuire and Nick Menta detail tomorrow's matchup below.

But, before we get to that, we'd like to announce that, for the second year in a row, we'll be hosting a LIVE BLOG here on The700Level during the game. Nick and Kevin will be chatting from inside Lincoln Financial Field with other members of our staff popping in and out throughout the game. Watch the coverage on ESPN and join us to share your thoughts, ask your questions, or just to talk your smack. And now, on to the show...

On the Penn State Nittany Lions:
From a Penn State perspective, the key will be the quarterback play. Joe Paterno is opting to go with two guys once again, Rob Bolden and Matt McGloin, and this could be the final test before a decision on a full-time signal caller is made. That means the pressure will be on to perform against what Joe Paterno has called the best Temple team he has ever seen.

The two quarterback candidates have failed to throw a touchdown pass this season, but consider that the running game dominated the week one game against Indiana State and the Alabama defense last week was a monster, it may not be all that surprising. regardless, the passing game will need to see better protection against a relentless Temple defensive front. The pass protection has been weak in the first two games and should have been a focus this week in practice. Temple will bring the pressure, so it will be interesting to see how Bolden and McGloin react. If the receivers can hold on to the ball this week, that would help out a lot as well.

The theme of the day though will remain the running game of both Penn State and Temple. Temple's Bernard Pierce gave the Nittany Lions some problems last season in State College, and if he had stayed in the game who knows how the game would have ended up? For Penn State, look for a strong showing by stud sophomore Silas Redd. He brings good speed, athleticism and field awareness to the offense and Redd should ease the pressure on the quarterbacks. —Kevin McGuire

On the Temple University Football Owls:
These two teams have more in common than any Penn State fan will feel comfortable admitting. Coming into 2011, neither head coach could decide on a starting quarterback and the success of their respective offenses is primarily driven by talented rushers both set to collapse by the end of the season as a result of exhaustion.

We'll start with the passing attack. Once redshirt-junior Mike Gerardi was named the starter against Villanova and the lead-signal caller for Week 2 against Akron, we presumed, perhaps incorrectly, that consecutive quality starts had secured him the job for the foreseeable future.

But senior QB Chester Stewart, whose preseason reps diminished over time possibly due to an anticipated suspension, has apparently re-entered the picture. From the Inquirer's Keith Pompey:

“I thought Chester [Stewart] played very well in that game against Akron last Saturday," said Temple coach Steve Addazio , who won’t name a clear-cut starter. “I think Chester is a guy that can be in that game, as could Chris Coyer."

"We will probably see Mike start the [Penn State] game. But we can see Chester play a fair amount."

At first read, this sounds like a direct contradiction of the comments made by Adazzio during the team's Media Day in late-August, when the first-year head coach insisted that he wouldn't run a two-quarterback offense, labeling the strategy "unproductive." Assuming he's still of that mindset—which he should be after the Penn State's struggles against Alabama last week—Addazio did mention the possibility of introducing a Wildcat/Spread package during the season. Both Stewart and true-freshman Clinton "Juice" Granger could prove highly effective in such a role.

As for the true leader of the Temple offense, junior rusher Bernard Pierce is tied with Pitt's Ray Graham for the most touchdowns in the nation with six. As Kevin mentioned above, when actually in last year's ballgame, Pierce carried Temple in the first half, making it seem as though the Owls were actually on the verge of upsetting the Nittany Lions in Happy Valley. Unfortunately, a third-quarter ankle injury would relegate Bernard to the sideline. From there, Chester Stewart and Matt Brown struggled to move the ball and the tide turned. What would have happened if Pierce stayed healthy? Time will tell—we hope.

Bernard and the QBs aside, the performance of the Temple offensive line is going to prove critical. Pierce, though immensely talented, is going to need the guys in front of him to generate a sufficient push. Watch a lot of the Big 10? Then you know running the ball can be difficult against an entire conference predicated on strong linebacker and D-line play. In pass protection, Gerardi, Stewart, or whoever is under center is going to need some time to breathe.

Bottom line, Pierce needs to get off to a good start early, or Penn State may be able to drop into the same coverage schemes that so crippled Temple in the second half of last year's matchup. —Nick Menta

Miscellaneous Notes Heading into Tomorrow:
--Attendance
When these team's played in 2007, they set a record for the largest reported crowd to ever watch a Temple football game at Lincoln Financial Field. The final warm body count—69,092. On that day, a small, but dedicated group clad in Cherry packed about four sections worth of seats in
southeast corner of the lower bowl. The rest of the stadium resembled, and effectively became, a Penn State home game.

Will we see a more even split in fan participation tomorrow? This from Sam Donnellon:

"Temple officials insist it won't be [like last time], that at least 30,000 tickets have been sold through the school's aggressive ticket packaging, and about 12,000 student tickets have been sold as well."

Now does anyone actually believe we're going to see 42,000 Temple fans in attendance tomorrow? It could be the case, and I'm now remembering my own experience from 2007, that a fair number of the student tickets have been given away or sold off to friends making the trip from PSU (Correction: Reader "NickIsOutOFTouch" wrote in that Temple students are now required to present legitimate school ID to enter the games and use their student tickets, unlike in years past. Chalk this one up as Nick's early vote for comment handle of the year.)

And while Temple's hard marketing of its partial season ticket package—lower level seats to Penn State and two other home games for just $90—has drawn drawn 30,000 people, it remains to be see just how many of those tickets were bought by or ultimately sold to PSU fans on the secondary market.

Still, an even split would be an awesome sight. Here's to hoping the cynicism above is rendered unwarranted.

--Aesthetics
For the first time, the field at Lincoln Financial Field has been painted Cherry and White. The south end zone bears the letters T-E-M-P-L-E while the north end zone reads O-W-L-S. Though these same letters were spray-painted on the field in '07, they were done hastily and in no way covered the traditional end zone print of the building's main tenant. Frankly, it just looked bad. Fortunately for those who want an early look at the freshly painted turf, this image, screen capped from somebody's CSN television feed, popped up on the message boards of Owlscoop.com over night.

--Odds
As cited in the introduction, Bodog lists the Nittany Lions as a -7. Thanks to vegasinsider.com, we can see that literally every single book on their site has the Lions giving that same -7. The over/under vacillates between 45 1/2 and 46. For your reference, in neither of the last two playings have the teams exceeded more than 37 combined points.

--Breakfast
Anyone camping out over night? See you bright and early tomorrow morning. Coordinate your tailgates in the comments as you will.

Trash talking starts...now.

CSNPhilly Internship - Advertising/Sales

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CSNPhilly Internship - Advertising/Sales

Position Title: Intern
Department: Advertising/Sales
Company: Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia
# of hours / week: 10 – 20 hours

Deadline: November 20

Basic Function

This position will work closely with the Vice President of Sales in generating revenue through commercial advertisements and sponsorship sales. The intern will gain first-hand sales experience through working with Sales Assistants and AEs on pitches, sales-calls and recapping material.

Duties and Responsibilities

• Assist Account Executive on preparation of Sales Presentations
• Cultivate new account leads for local sales
• Track sponsorships in specified programs
• Assist as point of contact with sponsors on game night set up and pre-game hospitality elements.
• Assist with collection of all proof of performance materials.
• Perform Competitive Network Analysis
• Update Customer database
• Other various projects as assigned

Requirements

1. Good oral and written communication skills.
2. Knowledge of sports.
3. Ability to work non-traditional hours, weekends & holidays
4. Ability to work in a fast-paced, high-pressure environment
5. Must be 19 years of age or older
6. Must be a student in pursuit of an Associate, Bachelor, Master or Juris Doctor degree
7. Must have unrestricted authorization to work in the US
8. Must have sophomore standing or above
9. Must have a 3.0 GPA

Interested students should apply here and specify they're interested in the ad/sales internship.

About NBC internships

NFL Notes: Court sets hearing over blocked suspension of Ezekiel Elliott

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NFL Notes: Court sets hearing over blocked suspension of Ezekiel Elliott

FRISCO, Texas -- A federal appeals court has set oral arguments for Oct. 2 in the NFL's bid to reinstate Ezekiel Elliott's six-game suspension over a domestic case in Ohio, meaning the star Dallas Cowboys running back will play at least two more games.

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans posted the notice Friday, clearing the way for last year's NFL rushing leader to play Monday night at Arizona and at home Oct. 1 against the Los Angeles Rams.

The court is seeking briefs from both sides by Wednesday on the issue of U.S. District Judge Amos Mazzant's jurisdiction. The Texas judge granted Elliott's request for an injunction that blocked the NFL's suspension.

The NFL sought an emergency stay of Mazzant's injunction, hoping to put the suspension back in place while Elliott's case is in the courts.

Giants: Goodson, Hart out against Eagles
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Middle linebacker B.J. Goodson and right tackle Bobby Hart are going to miss the New York Giants game Sunday against the Eagles in Philadelphia.

Goodson is out for the second straight game with a shin injury. Hart sprained his right ankle in the opener against Dallas. He started against Detroit but re-injured it.

Coach Ben McAdoo said Friday that backup linebacker J.T. Thomas also is out with a groin injury.

Tight end Evan Engram (concussion) and cornerback Janoris Jenkins (ankle) are questionable for the Giants (0-2).

Receiver Odell Beckham Jr. is not mentioned on the injury report, which means that he will play. He missed the season opener with a sprained left ankle and was limited against the Lions.

Vikings: Bradford ruled out against Bucs
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- The Minnesota Vikings say quarterback Sam Bradford will not play against Tampa Bay because of his ailing left knee.

Bradford was not at practice Friday after taking part in a limited basis Wednesday and Thursday and reporting progress from the week before.

ESPN reported that Bradford was traveling to seek a second opinion from Dr. James Andrews, the noted orthopedist who performed ligament reconstructions on the quarterback's knee in 2013 and 2014. Vikings coach Mike Zimmer declined to comment on the report.

Case Keenum will start Sunday against the Buccaneers, as he did last week at Pittsburgh when Bradford was ruled out right before the game. The Vikings lost 26-9 (see full story).

Titans: Murray limited at practice, questionable vs. Seahawks
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Tennessee Pro Bowl running back DeMarco Murray returned to practice, but his status for Sunday's game against Seattle remains undecided because of a hamstring injury.

Murray was listed as questionable after being limited on Friday. He had missed two straight practices with the injury.

The running back who led the AFC in rushing last season has been off to a slow start this season with just 69 yards rushing in two games. He gave way in the second half to Derrick Henry, who had 92 yards and a touchdown in a 37-16 victory at Jacksonville.

Titans coach Mike Mularkey says the Titans are being careful with Murray. They already declared rookie receiver Corey Davis and strong safety Johnathan Cyprien out with hamstring injuries.

Murray declined to comment after practice (see full story).

Browns: Garrett 'doubtful' to play Colts but nearing return
CLEVELAND -- Cleveland Browns rookie defensive end Myles Garrett might be close to making his NFL debut.

The top overall pick in this year's draft has missed Cleveland's first two games because of a high right-ankle sprain. Coach Hue Jackson has not yet ruled him out of Sunday's game at Indianapolis.

Garrett made significant progress this week after hurting his ankle during practice Sept. 6. Jackson said Friday the team will continue to be "cautious," but the fact that he remains a possibility to play against the Colts is encouraging. Garrett is listed as "doubtful" on the injury report.

The 6-foot-4, 275-pounder has stressed he won't come back too early. He missed two games during his junior season at Texas A&M, pushed himself to return and then didn't play up to his standards.

Garrett had an impressive training camp and exhibition season (see full story).

Redskins: Norman, Reed game-time decisions vs. Raiders
ASHBURN, Va. -- Cornerback Josh Norman, tight end Jordan Reed and running back Rob Kelley are among five Washington Redskins players who will be game-time decisions Sunday night against the Oakland Raiders.

Redskins coach Jay Gruden says Friday that Norman, Reed, Kelley, linebacker Mason Foster and safety Montae Nicholson are all questionable for the game.

Norman, Foster and Nicholson have shoulder injuries, Reed has chest and rib problems, while Kelley is dealing with injured rib cartilage.

All five were hurt during last weekend's 27-20 victory at the Los Angeles Rams.

Gruden said there is a chance the Redskins (1-1) would have running back Mack Brown and tight end Jeremy Sprinkle on the active roster against the Raiders (2-0) (see full story).