NCAA

College football capsule: Penn State at Ohio State

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College football capsule: Penn State at Ohio State

Penn State faces No. 4 Ohio State on Saturday in Columbus, Ohio. Here’s a closer look:

Penn State at Ohio State
Ohio Stadium - Columbus, Ohio
Saturday, 8 p.m., ESPN

Scouting Penn State
The Nittany Lions (4-2), idle last week, beat Michigan in quadruple overtime Oct. 12 in Beaver Stadium, on a two-yard run by tailback Bill Belton. Christian Hackenberg threw for 305 yards and three touchdowns in the game, and directed a five-play, 80-yard touchdown drive in the final minute of regulation to tie it.

Overall, Hackenberg has completed 58.4 percent of his passes for a Big Ten-best 1,672 yards and 11 touchdowns. He has been intercepted six times. Allen Robinson, whose leaping 36-yard catch set up Hackenberg’s sneak for the tying TD against the Wolverines, has a conference-leading 43 grabs this season, for 705 yards and five scores. Belton (369 yards rushing, 5.3 ypg) is listed as the co-starter at his position this week with Zach Zwinak (393, 4.3), who continues to have fumble problems. Coach Bill O’Brien said that both will play Saturday.

Scouting Ohio State
The Buckeyes (7-0), fourth in the BCS rankings, have won all 19 games they have played since Urban Meyer took over as coach before last season. Last week, they defeated Iowa, 34-24, as Carlos Hyde ran 24 times for 149 yards and two touchdowns, including the go-ahead 19-yard score in the fourth quarter. Quarterback Braxton Miller also went 22 for 27 for 222 yards and two scores, and ran 18 times for 102 yards.

Hyde, who missed the season’s first two games while serving a disciplinary suspension, has rushed for 317 yards in his last two outings, 443 overall. Miller sat out two games (and the better part of a third) with a knee injury earlier this season, but has completed 69.6 percent of his passes to date, for 831 yards and eight touchdowns. He has been intercepted twice. His top targets are Philly Brown (33-453, six TDs) and Devin Smith (30-434-6).

History
Ohio State leads the all-time series 15-13, though the Lions’ victories in 1999, 2001, ’05, ’08 and ‘11 have been vacated under terms of the NCAA sanctions handed down in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky child sexual-abuse scandal.

Storyline to watch
The Lions have allowed 84 points in two conference games to date. Can they slow an OSU offense that averages a conference-leading 45 points a game (seventh-most in the country)?

What’s at stake?
It’s a border war and a battle between two teams who are as much rivals in recruiting as on the field. To the winner go the spoils.

Villanova stays at No. 5 in AP poll; Temple receives votes

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Villanova stays at No. 5 in AP poll; Temple receives votes

A week where Villanova barely had to break a sweat has Jay Wright and his Wildcats holding steady in the latest AP poll.

After making quick work of Nicholls St. on Tuesday and then Lafayette Friday evening in Allentown, the 'Cats are the No. 5 team in the land for the second straight week. They moved up from No. 6 last week after leapfrogging now-No.8 Kentucky.

There's an excellent chance things are going to get much trickier for the Wildcats this week as they head to the Bahamas for the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament, which starts Wednesday vs. Western Kentucky. But a potential second-round matchup with No. 18 Purdue looms Thursday, as does a potential championship showdown of titanic proportions with No. 2 Arizona on Friday.

But the 'Cats aren't the only team with some AP poll notoriety this week.

Fran Dunphy's 3-0 Temple team received four votes this week after capturing the Charleston Classic crown. The Owls earned the honors with victories over Old Dominion, Auburn and Clemson.

The Owls next game is their first of the season in the Big 5 as they'll travel to Olney to face La Salle on Sunday. The Owls and Wildcats will meet in North Philly on Dec. 13.

Duke was again No. 1 in this week's poll. Arizona leaped to No. 2, Kansas held its ground at No. 3 and Michigan State slipped to No. 4 before Villanova rounded out the top 5. 

Tons at stake as Temple hosts unbeaten UCF; Penn, Villanova wrap up

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Tons at stake as Temple hosts unbeaten UCF; Penn, Villanova wrap up

Temple (5-5, 3-3 AAC) vs. No. 15 UCF (9-0, 6-0 AAC)
Lincoln Financial Field
Saturday, noon, ESPNU

Last time out
Temple beat Cincinnati, 35-24, last Friday.

UCF beat UConn, 49-24, last Saturday.

Scouting report
Both teams have a lot at stake in Saturday’s game. An Owls win would make them bowl eligible and give them a victory against a high-ranked opponent, which would certainly help when it comes time for bowl selection. On the other hand, UCF will look to preserve its perfect season and stay atop the AAC's East Division with a crucial matchup against 8-1 South Florida looming.

Frank Nutile, who will make his fourth consecutive start at quarterback, has sparked Temple’s offense. Since he stepped in, he has completed 61 of 89 passes for 803 yards, six touchdowns and just two interceptions, and led the Owls to two wins. He will need to continue his stellar play for Temple to beat UCF, which boasts the second-best total and scoring defense in the AAC, allowing 371 yards per game and 20.7 points per game.

The Knights also have the best total offense in the conference, putting up 538 yards per game and 48.6 points per game, which is more than six points better than the second-best team. The Owls must keep UCF quarterback McKenzie Milton (2,720 yards, 22 touchdowns, five interceptions) and the Knights' rushing attack, which averages 210.2 yards per game, in check if they want a chance at the upset.

Series history
The series is tied at 2-2 and Temple has won the past two matchups, including a 26-25 come-from-behind win last year.

What's next?
Temple travels to play Tulsa next Saturday.

UCF hosts No. 23 South Florida on Friday night.

Penn (5-4, 3-3 Ivy) vs. Cornell (3-6, 3-3 Ivy)
Franklin Field
Saturday, 1:30 p.m.


Last time out
Penn defeated Harvard, 23-6, last Saturday.

Cornell lost to Columbia, 18-8, last Saturday.

Scouting report
Penn has won its last three Ivy League contests and has gained a lot of momentum after losing its first three Ivy League games this season. Cornell shouldn’t pose much of a challenge to the Quakers since the Big Red are second worst in the conference in scoring offense, total offense and pass efficiency. The Quakers’ strength is their rushing attack, as they average 192 yards per game on the ground. Cornell’s rush defense is sixth in the conference, so look for the Quakers to take advantage of this matchup.

Series history
This is the 124th meeting between the teams. The Quakers hold a 72-46-5 advantage and won, 42-20, last season. 

What's next?
This is the final game of the season for both teams.

Villanova (4-6, 2-5 CAA) vs. Delaware (7-3, 5-2 CAA)
Villanova Stadium, Villanova, Pennsylvania 
Saturday, 1 p.m.


Last time out
Villanova lost to Rhode Island, 20-6, last Saturday.

Delaware beat Albany, 22-3, last Saturday.

Scouting report
What stands out about this regular-season finale are the defenses for Delaware and Villanova. Delaware’s scoring defense is second to James Madison as the Blue Hens allow just 15.7 points per game. The Wildcats’ specialty on the defensive side of the football is their run defense. Villanova allows only 72 yards per game on the ground and will look to slow down a Delaware rushing attack that averages 200 yards per game. Also to note, the Blue Hens come in fighting for a berth in the FCS playoffs.

Series history
Villanova leads the series 28-21-1. The Wildcats won, 41-10, last season.

What's next?
This is the regular-season finale for both Villanova and Delaware. For the second time in the last three seasons, the Wildcats won't make the FCS playoffs.