NCAA

Temple ready for prime time; Penn looking to go back to back; Villanova out for revenge

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Temple ready for prime time; Penn looking to go back to back; Villanova out for revenge

Temple (3-5, 1-4 AAC) vs. Navy (5-2)
Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Thursday, 8 p.m., ESPN

Last time out
Temple lost to Army, 31-28 (OT), on Oct 21.

Navy lost to UCF, 31-21, on Oct 21.

Scouting report
In a rematch of last season’s AAC Championship Game, both teams are coming off a much-needed bye. Navy comes into Philadelphia on a two-game losing streak, with its starting quarterback Zach Abey recovering from a concussion, and needs just one more win for an automatic bowl berth. Temple, on the other hand, must win three of its four remaining games to become bowl eligible. 

History is not in the Owls' favor, as the Midshipmen are undefeated in 12 games at the Linc (two wins against Temple, 10 wins against Army). The Midshipmen also boast the best rushing offense in the nation at 376.1 yards per game, led by Abey, who is expected to play Thursday. Abey has rushed for 1,142 yards on the ground so far this season, which is good for second in the nation, as well as 13 touchdowns. If he plays, the Owls' defense must slow him down for a chance to win. 

For Temple, redshirt junior quarterback Frank Nutile will make his second career start. He completed 20 of 29 passes for 290 yards, a touchdown and no turnovers in his first start against Army on Oct. 21.

What it means
If Temple wants to have any chance to make a bowl game, it has to win three of its last four.

Series history
This will be the 13th meeting between Temple and Navy, with the series locked at 6-6. The last time the two teams played was in last year’s AAC championship game, which the Owls won, 34-10.

What’s next?
Temple travels to Cincinnati.

Navy hosts SMU.

Penn (3-4, 1-3 Ivy) vs. Princeton (5-2, 2-2 Ivy)
Franklin Field, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
1 p.m. Saturday


Last time out
Penn defeated Brown, 17-7, Saturday.

Princeton lost to Cornell 29-28, Saturday.

Scouting report
Princeton’s high-powered offense will meet up with Penn’s poor scoring defense. The Tigers lead the Ivy League by scoring 39 points per game and are gaining an average of 480 yards per game on offense. Penn’s defense is the opposite. They rank seventh in both scoring defense and in total defense. The Quakers allow 27.7 points per game and a total of 409 yards on defense. This could be a long day at the office for the Quakers.

Series history
This is the 109th meeting between the teams. The Tigers hold a 66-41-1 advantage and Princeton won 28-0 last year. 

What’s next?
Penn is at Harvard.

Princeton hosts Yale.

Villanova (4-4, 2-3 CAA) vs. Richmond (4-4, 2-3 CAA)
Villanova Stadium, Villanova, Pennsylvania
1 p.m. Saturday


Last time out
Villanova lost to Elon, 19-14, Saturday.

Richmond lost to Stony Brook, 27-24, Saturday.

Scouting report
The key matchup here will be Richmond’s passing game against Villanova’s pass defense. So far this season, Richmond has thrown for an average of 370 yards per game, the most in the Colonial, and Villanova’s pass defense has allowed 253 passing yards per game. Villanova’s rush defense has been dominant so their secondary will have to step up in a big way against the Spiders. Richmond quarterback Kyle Lauletta has completed 64 percent of his passes and has thrown for 26 touchdowns. Villanova’s secondary will get work early and often.

Series history
Villanova leads the series, 22-12. The Spiders won 23-0 last season.

What’s next?
Villanova is at Rhode Island next Saturday.

Richmond is at James Madison next Saturday.

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 at the Liacouras Center — a Big 5 matchup Sunday with La Salle. 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.