college football

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.

Penn State ranked No. 7 in initial College Football Playoff rankings

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Penn State ranked No. 7 in initial College Football Playoff rankings

The first College Football Playoff rankings of the season were released Tuesday night and Penn State was nowhere to be found in the top four.

After leading by as many as 18 points last Saturday at Ohio State, the Nittany Lions allowed three fourth-quarter touchdowns to J.T. Barrett for a 39-38 loss.

As a result, Penn State fell to No. 7 in the AP Poll — its worst position of the season — and landed in the same spot of the College Football Playoff rankings.

While the Nittany Lions are on the outside looking in, Georgia is peering down at the rest from the No. 1 perch, followed by Alabama, Notre Dame and Clemson.

Oklahoma and Ohio State were the next two in the selection committee's initial top 25. The final rankings that will determine the participants in the College Football Playoff semifinals come out Dec. 3.

Georgia and Alabama, Southeastern Conference rivals, are both undefeated and have been dominating its competition. The Bulldogs' one close game was at Notre Dame in September, a 20-19 victory.

The Fighting Irish (7-1) have not lost since, including blowouts of Michigan State, Southern California and North Carolina State.

Clemson (7-1), the defending national champion, and Alabama have been ranked in the initial top four of the by the selection committee each of the last three seasons. The Tigers and Tide played for the last two national titles, with each winning one.

Over the first three seasons of the playoff, a total of five teams have been ranked in the top four of the initial ranking and gone on to reach the semifinals: Florida State (which was second) in 2014; Clemson (first) and Alabama (fourth) in 2015; and Alabama (first) and Clemson (second) in 2016.

After Penn State, the rest of the top 10 was followed by No. 8 TCU, No. 9 Wisconsin and No. 10 Miami. The Badgers and Hurricanes are both undefeated but with no marquee victories.

Here is the Top 25:

Villanova, No. 13 in FCS, falls to No. 10 Elon

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Villanova, No. 13 in FCS, falls to No. 10 Elon

BOX SCORE

VILLANOVA, Pa. — Davis Cheek was 24-for-35 passing for 357 yards and two TDs, Kortez Weeks had 11 receptions for 205 yards and Elon beat Villanova 19-14 on Saturday for its seventh straight victory.

Trailing 14-10, Cheek completed 3 for 4 passes, including back-to-back tosses for 30 and 12 yards to Tre Lennon and a 21-yard score to Tre Marsh to make it 16-14. The point-after try failed.

Elon's defense forced Villanova to punt, and on the Phoenix's next drive, Owen Johnson made a 28-yard field goal for the game's final margin with 4:45 left to play. Villanova turned the ball over on downs on its final drive.

The Wildcats grabbed their last lead of the game when Kyle McCloskey threw a 24-yard touchdown to Taurus Phillips with less than a minute to play in the third.

Despite Cheek's two interceptions, Elon (7-1, 5-0 Colonial Athletic Association) piled 474 yards in total offense. McCloskey threw for 137 yards and two TDs for Villanova (4-4, 2-3).