STATE COLLEGE, Pa. -- The whereabouts of coach Joe Paterno was the most compelling part of the second half of No. 16 Penn State's matchup with Temple.
The 81-year-old Hall of Famer moved to the press box after halftime, after having complained of a sore right leg earlier this week. It mattered little on the field, where the Nittany Lions overcame a sluggish first quarter to rout the Owls 45-3 on Saturday.
Paterno also moved back into sole possession of first place on the career major-college coaching victories list with No. 376. Paterno and Florida State coach Bobby Bowden were tied to start the day, but the Seminoles lost 12-3 to Wake Forest Saturday night.
Daryll Clark threw for 196 yards and two touchdown passes and ran for an 11-yard score, and Stephfon Green rushed for 132 yards, including a 69-yard TD, as the Nittany Lions rolled to 4-0 this season.
Linebacker Navorro Bowman had three sacks and an interception to pace a stellar Penn State defense that held Temple to 138 yards and 10 first downs.
Not that Paterno was too happy after spending the second half with his assistants upstairs. He was worried about some ugly stats, like five Penn State fumbles, though only one was recovered by Temple.
"I thought it was a very, very sloppy performance," Paterno said. "I wasn't very pleased."
Wearing his trademark khakis and black sneakers, JoePa walked slowly and gingerly at times along the sideline in the first half as Penn State built a 31-0 lead.
"My leg's OK. It's just standing on it too long, it aches," Paterno said. "I'm probably babying myself."
His team was sluggish, too, in the first quarter, held scoreless in the opening frame for the first time this season. Penn State fumbled twice in the quarter, recovering both times.
Things changed in a hurry.
Green had a 27-yard run to get Penn State to the Temple 20 before Clark connected with Brett Brackett over the middle, barreling over the Owls' Dominique Harris as he crossed the goal line to give Penn State a 7-0 lead with 14:27 left in the second quarter.
But the Nittany Lions got an interception. Three plays later, Clark ran in from 11 yards to put the Nittany Lions up 21-0. Clark finished 13-for-20 with one interception, overcoming what he said was a "flat" and "funky" start.
The defense held things together until the offense caught up.
"We're coming out with tenacity that we're trying to keep the opponent out of the end zone no matter what the score is, no matter what time of the game it is," safety Anthony Scirrotto said. "We punish the guys with the ball."
Jake Brownell's 25-yard field goal in the third quarter gave the Owls their only score. Quarterback Chester Stewart finished 16-for-30 for 116 yards and three interceptions in relief of starter Adam DiMichele, who was knocked out of the game because of a right shoulder injury.
"We need to protect the quarterback better. Obviously, that's the bottom line," Temple coach Al Golden said. "We must have given up a ton" of sacks.
Penn State had seven sacks, including two each from ends Josh Gaines and Aaron Maybin.
Penn State's offense, dubbed the "Spread HD," continued to click against overmatched opponents. The Nittany Lions scored 40 or more points for the first four games in a season for the first time in school history.
"I'd coach from the press box if I had that offense," Golden joked, referring to Paterno's move to the press box.
Paterno's son and quarterbacks coach, Jay Paterno, said he initially thought his father wouldn't even coach from the sideline in the first half.
Joe Paterno has complained of soreness in the right leg after kicking a ball in practice several weeks ago. He was on the sideline the entire game for the first three games this season, but monitored practices this week from a golf cart.
Paterno also sat in the press box the final two games of the 2006 season, including the Outback Bowl, as he recovered from a left knee injury.
He chastised reporters for the attention on his health, especially after his squad had worked through a number of injuries and suspensions on defense to go undefeated in nonconference play. Illinois visits Beaver Stadium next week to open the Big Ten schedule.
"I got a bunch of guys out there, fighting all kinds of adversity, different lineups, hanging in there and you're worried about my leg."
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