UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. (Sports Network) - Collin Wagner kicked five field goals before the Nittany Lion offense finally found the end zone late in the fourth quarter, as No. 23 Penn State gutted out an ugly 22-13 win over Temple at Beaver Stadium.
Senior Evan Royster had his first 100-yard rushing game of the season, totaling 187 yards on 26 carries, while fullback Michael Zordich scored the lone touchdown with 3 1/2 minutes to play.
Freshman quarterback Rob Bolden didn't deliver much in the way of big plays for a choppy Penn State offense. He did lead the offense 96 yards in 12 plays with time winding down in the fourth quarter and was 18-of-28 for 223 yards.
Bolden was 3-for-4 for 58 yards on the scoring drive that shaved six minutes off the clock and turned a 15-13 game into a two-score lead for the Lions (3-1), who managed a solid defensive effort.
The defense stepped up to hold Temple to 202 yards and eight first downs, allowing only one drive over 28 yards.
Temple's Chester Stewart was picked off three times and completed just 8-of-19 passes for 46 yards. Bernard Pierce rushed for two scores before leaving with an apparent right ankle injury in the third quarter for the Owls (3-1), who were off to their first 3-0 start since 1979.
Temple turned a Royster fumble deep in Penn State territory into six points and an early 7-3 lead, with Pierce running it in from five yards out.
James Nixon's 51-yard run from near midfield on the next Temple series set up a first-and-goal situation and Pierce ran it in for a three-yard score. The extra point was botched on a bad snap.
Meanwhile, Penn State had to rely on the foot of Wagner, and his two first- quarter field goals kept it a 13-6 game after 15 minutes.
A promising Nittany Lion drive stalled in Temple territory early in the second, and Wagner kicked a 42-yard field goal to make it 13-9.
Stewart was picked off on the ensuing possession, but the Owls' defense stuffed Bolden on 4th-and-1 from the Temple 25 to keep it a four-point game at halftime.
A series of punts dominated much of the third quarter until another Penn State drive was stopped short in the red zone, resulting in a successful 32-yard kick from Wagner as the hosts drew within 13-12 with 4:12 left in the frame.
Stewart was intercepted for a second time on Temple's ensuing touch and Nathan Stupar set up the offense at the Owls' 12-yard line with a 31-yard return.
The Lions' offense continued to struggle, though, and three plays netted eight yards with Wagner's 21-yard boot giving the hosts a precarious 15-13 edge with 1:38 remaining in the third.
Wagner finally missed on his sixth attempt, from 32 yards out less than three minutes into the fourth, but Penn State found the end zone on its next turn with the ball and the Lions' defense forced two turnovers and a punt on Temple's final three possessions.