NCAA

Penn vs. Brown: Quakers vie for key homecoming victory

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Penn vs. Brown: Quakers vie for key homecoming victory

Penn (4-2, 3-0 Ivy League) vs. Brown (2-4, 1-2 Ivy League)
Franklin Field, Philadelphia
Saturday, 1 p.m.

It’s homecoming at Penn, and the Quakers will look to stay perfect in the Ivy League in front of all the alumni returning to Franklin Field. Here’s a look at the matchup:

Scouting Penn
The Quakers were clicking on all cylinders last week, showcasing their electric offensive trio of QB Alek Torgersen, WR Justin Watson and RB Tre Solomon perfectly in a 42-7 road rout of Yale — their fourth straight win. Torgersen found Watson for nine catches, a career-high 160 yards and a career-high three touchdowns, leading to the star wide receiver being named Ivy League Offensive Player of the Week. Solomon, meanwhile, finished with 120 rushing yards and a touchdown, remaining the league’s rushing leader by a hefty amount. And Penn’s defense enjoyed its best performance of the season, holding Yale to 229 yards while forcing a pair of turnovers. 

Scouting Brown
The Bears snapped a four-game losing skid with a 28-21 overtime win over Cornell last week, riding three touchdowns from All-Ivy receiver Alexander Jette and the game-winning rushing TD from Johnny Peta. Jette ranks second in the Ivies in receptions per game (behind only Watson) and third in receiving yards per game. As a team, though, Brown is only averaging 310.2 yards per game, second-to-last in the Ivies. But the Bears’ defense, led by Ivy tackling leader Will Twyman, is tops in the league, allowing an average of 306.7 yards per contest, including a league-best 189.7 yards through the air.

Series history
Penn holds a 58-24-2 advantage, including a 40-10-1 mark at Franklin Field dating back to a 12-0 win in the stadium in 1895. But the Bears are 6-4 vs. the Quakers in the last 10 matchups, beating them in back-to-back seasons in 2013 and 2014 before Penn picked up a 48-28 win last year.

Storyline to watch
The Quakers should have the advantage in this one but, as always, playing in front of a homecoming crowd adds an interesting dynamic. This year’s homecoming has an especially cool storyline as Penn’s 1986 team will be honored on occasion of its 30-year anniversary. One of the best teams in the program’s long and illustrious history, that ’86 squad was the first in the Ivy League era (1956 to present) to finish 10-0 with one of those wins coming against Division I-A Navy. 

What’s at stake?
The only two teams sitting at 3-0 in the Ivy League, Penn and Harvard are careening toward a title showdown in two weeks at Franklin Field. But before that, the Quakers need to beat Brown and then take out another title contender in Princeton next week. 

Prediction
The Bears’ pass defense is good but, like other Ivy teams, they’re not going to find an answer to Torgersen and Watson.

Penn 31, Brown 14

Sliding Temple visits Army; Penn hosts Yale in need of Ivy win

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USA Today Images/Penn Athletics

Sliding Temple visits Army; Penn hosts Yale in need of Ivy win

Temple (3-4, 1-3 AAC) at Army (5-2)
Michie Stadium, West Point, New York
Saturday, noon, CBS Sports Network

Last time out
Temple lost to UConn, 28-24, last Saturday.

Army beat Eastern Michigan, 28-27, last Saturday.

Scouting report
Last week against UConn, the Owls committed 12 penalties for 117 yards. Despite putting up 229 more yards and 13 more first downs than the Huskies, Temple couldn’t finish drives late in the game to pull out the win.

Temple’s schedule doesn’t get easier this week. The Owls play an Army team riding a three-game win streak and boasting the second-best rushing offense in college football (378.4 ypg). That will be the matchup to watch as Temple averages 167.1 rushing yards allowed per game, good for seventh in the American Athletic Conference.

Temple’s starting quarterback Logan Marchi missed some practice time this week, but head coach Geoff Collins said he expects him to play Saturday. If he can’t go, look for backup Frank Nutile to replace him.

What it means
Temple’s performance against UConn was embarrassing, while the Owls' bowl hopes would take a severe hit with a loss to Army. Tulsa and Cincinnati are the only other opponents on the schedule against which Temple should be favored. Navy and UCF, on paper, look to be tough matchups for the Owls.

Series history
Temple owns the 7-5 series advantage and is 6-1 against Army since 2008. That one loss came last year when the Black Knights beat the Owls, 28-13, at Lincoln Financial Field in Temple’s season opener. 

What's next?
Temple has its bye before hosting Navy on Nov. 2.

Army travels to Air Force. 

Penn (2-3, 0-2 Ivy) vs. Yale (4-1, 1-1 Ivy)
Franklin Field
Saturday, 1 p.m., NBC Sports Philadelphia+


Last time out
Penn lost at Columbia in overtime, 34-31, last Saturday.

Yale defeated Holy Cross, 32-0, last Saturday.

Scouting report
Penn has the worst scoring defense in the Ivy League, which doesn’t bode well for its chances in this one considering Yale has the best scoring offense in the league. The Quakers allow 32.6 ppg and the Bulldogs score 41 ppg. Penn’s total defense is also last in the league, allowing 449.2 ypg.

The Bulldogs take control on the ground with the best rushing offense in the Ivy. Zane Dudek and Deshawn Salter lead the Bulldogs, as both have rushed for more than 400 yards and each has seven touchdowns. Penn will have to win the battle in the trenches to slow down the Bulldogs.

Series history
This is the 84th meeting between the teams. The Bulldogs hold a 46-37-1 advantage but Penn has won 19 of the last 25.

What’s next?
Penn travels to Brown.

Yale hosts Columbia.

Temple-UConn observations: Despite valiant effort from Marchi, Owls lose 1st homecoming game since 2008

Temple-UConn observations: Despite valiant effort from Marchi, Owls lose 1st homecoming game since 2008

BOX SCORE

That’s why football is a week-to-week game. Forget about momentum.

Temple found that out the hard way. After coming alive in a big road win over East Carolina last week, the Owls were humbled when a fourth-quarter rally fell short Saturday in a 28-24 homecoming loss to Connecticut at Lincoln Financial Field.

The Owls had one final shot at the victory with a drive in the final minute, but a Logan Marchi heave to the end zone was broken up.

The loss dropped Temple back under .500 at 3-4 (1-3 American Athletic Conference). UConn moved to 2-5 (2-2) with the victory.

• Say what you want about Temple quarterback Marchi (and you surely will after this game), but the guy is a fighter. Whether things are going his way or not, he continues to try to search for his receivers and attempt to squeeze the ball into those windows on the field. He made it two consecutive games with 300-plus yards passing as he was 33 of 54 for 356 yards with one touchdown and one interception Saturday.

• The game marked Temple’s first homecoming loss in nearly a decade. TU hadn’t suffered a homecoming defeat since a 7-3 loss to Western Michigan on Sept. 27, 2008. On that day, former Eagles DB Jaiquawn Jarrett was beaten in coverage on a double move in the third quarter for the game’s lone touchdown. Coming into Saturday, the Owls had won eight straight homecoming matchups by an average margin of 19.3 points.

• There was a rare sighting for Temple at the Linc: a rushing touchdown from a tailback. In fact, there were two. David Hood, who became the first Owls tailback to score on a run this season in last week’s rout of East Carolina, punched it in from one yard out to open the scoring in the first quarter. Ryquell Armstead weaved his way into the end zone for a 10-yard TD on the first play of the fourth quarter.

• Delvon Randall is simply a playmaker. The Owls’ leading tackler, Randall added another five stops in Saturday’s win. The junior DB also made a beautiful play along the sideline in the first quarter when he undercut an out route for an interception. It marked Randall’s third straight game with a pick. The Owls only have four interceptions this season and Randall has three of them.

• My colleague Greg Paone touched on college football’s targeting rule a couple of weeks ago (see story)We agree on pretty much all of the nuts and bolts of the rule. I’m glad it’s in place to protect players from violent and unnecessary hits. However, the more I see it called each week — and it seems like there is at least one in every game now — the more I’m starting to dislike the implementation. Temple defensive lineman Sharif Finch was ejected for targeting on Saturday when he went high on Huskies quarterback Bryant Shirreffs on a third-quarter touchdown pass. Shirreffs sold the hit by jerking his head back as he fell to the ground, but it was definitely worthy of a penalty. Was it a late hit? Yes. A bone-headed hit? Absolutely. But one worthy of Temple losing a top defensive player for the remainder of the game? I don’t think so.

• Speaking of Shirreffs, it’s easy to see why the Huskies have the best passing offense in the AAC. He didn’t show it with yardage in this tilt (just 105), but he was able to connect on three touchdowns through the air. He also added 39 yards on the ground, including a key run up the middle late in the fourth quarter.

• The Owls simply aren’t a good enough team to overcome 12 penalties for 117 yards.

• Like any other major college football game around the country, Saturday’s matchup at the Linc had scouts from NFL teams listed to attend. Of course, the Eagles were listed for several scouts in their home stadium. While the Miami Dolphins, Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers were also among those expected to have representatives at the game, there was only one other team labeled for more than one scout besides the Eagles — the New York Giants. At 0-5, they can certainly use all the help they can get right now.

• Temple will look to rebound when the Owls travel to play their final non-conference opponent in Army at 12 p.m. next Saturday.