Trace McSorley completed 18 of 24 passes for 287 yards with one touchdown and an interception and rushed for another score to lead Penn State to a 34-27 win against Temple on Saturday.
A year after the Nittany Lions (2-1) were embarrassed in a season-opening loss to the Owls, Penn State scored on three of its first five drives to take a 21-10 halftime lead. Although he left the game with a left leg injury on the first play, running back Saquon Barkley returned in the second half and ended Temple's comeback bid with a 55-yard touchdown run with less than eight minutes to play.
"The decision to put him back in the game was that he was ready," Franklin said. "He actually could've went in a little bit earlier. Obviously Saquon has the ability, if we can create a little more space, he has the ability to break tackles. He has the ability to make people miss. And he has the ability, the speed to finish runs."
Temple running back Jahad Thomas returned after missing the first two games with a dislocated left thumb and scored twice for the Owls (1-2). Quarterback Phillip Walker ran for another touchdown and Austin Jones kicked two field goals.
Penn State also honored Joe Paterno on the 50th anniversary of his first game. The in-game video presentation drew cheers from ardent fans in Beaver Stadium, but also drew criticism from some who said honoring Paterno is insensitive to victims in the school's sex abuse scandal.
TEMPLE: The Temple defense, so good a year ago, is still a work in progress. The Owls are still searching for playmakers after losing seven starters from that group. They gave up 403 yards with 253 in the first half.
PENN STATE: This game was a must-win for James Franklin, whose short tenure at Penn State hit its lowest point after the Owls routed his Nittany Lions in last season in Philadelphia. A 1-3 mark against in-state rivals Pittsburgh and Temple would have been unacceptable for Penn State fans restless for in-state success.
TEMPLE: The Owls host Charlotte at Lincoln Financial Field.
PENN STATE: The Nittany Lions travel to Ann Arbor, Mich. to begin the Big Ten season against the Wolverines. Penn State has lost two straight to Michigan.