College football capsule: 'Nova at New Hampshire


College football capsule: 'Nova at New Hampshire

Fresh off a near-perfect performance against FCS powerhouse Towson, Villanova will look for more of the same in another road game against a nationally ranked opponent. Here’s what’s on tap for the red-hot Wildcats:

Villanova (4-2, 3-0) at New Hampshire (2-3, 1-1)
Cowell Stadium – Durham, N.H.
Saturday, noon, The Comcast Network

Scouting Villanova
The 12th-ranked Wildcats won their fourth straight game last week, handing then-No. 3 Towson its first loss of the season, 45-35. John Robertson stole the show as the ’Nova quarterback completed a whopping 17 consecutive pass to begin the game and only threw one incompletion all day -- on his final throw. He finished the night with 182 passing yards, 150 rushing yards, two passing touchdowns and three rushing touchdowns. Villanova’s defense, meanwhile, continued its strong play by forcing five turnovers and blocking two kicks.

Scouting New Hampshire
Ranked 25th in the FCS, New Hampshire snapped a two-game losing streak last week with a 59-19 thumping of Rhode Island. Although not quite as remarkable as Robertson’s day, UNH quarterback Sean Goldrich had a big game with both his feet and his arm, throwing for 241 yards and two touchdowns and rushing for a career-high 94 yards and one TD. Also in the win, running back Nico Steriti enjoyed his second 100-yard game of the season for a UNH team that leads the CAA in rushing offense and total offense. In terms of common opponents, UNH lost to Towson, 44-28, two weeks ago.

The all-time series between the two teams is perfectly even as both Villanova and New Hampshire have won 11 of the 22 matchups. ’Nova, however, has lost two in a row to UNH and hasn’t won at Cowell Stadium since 2003.

Storyline to watch
As Robertson continues to evolve into one of the best players in the FCS -- despite being only a sophomore, he’s already climbing Villanova’s all-time leaderboard in total offense (seventh), rushing TDs (eighth) and passing yards (10th) -- defenses around the country will try to come up with new ways to stop him. If New Hampshire can’t figure out how to slow him down -- both on the ground and through the air -- Villanova will almost certainly extend its winning streak to five games. And considering its defense ranks last in the conference, it will be a tall task for the host team.

What’s at stake?
If Villanova can win, it will remain in first place in the CAA and continue to climb the national rankings. The Wildcats will also set up a riveting homecoming matchup next week against Maine, the league's only other unbeaten team.

Temple picked to finish 6th in AAC preseason poll

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Temple picked to finish 6th in AAC preseason poll

This is starting to become a trend. One Temple hopes to continue to prove wrong.

For the third straight year, Temple was chosen to finish sixth in the American Athletic Conference preseason poll. The poll, which was released on Monday, is voted on by the conference's head coaches.

Also selected to finish sixth last season, the Owls posted a 21-12 overall record and a 14-4 mark in the AAC to reach the NCAA Tournament. In 2014-15, TU tied for third in the AAC with a 13-5 record and was one of the last teams left out of the Big Dance.

Cincinnati was tabbed to win the American title in the poll, just ahead of UConn.

Temple, who returns three starters from last season's team, opens the 2016-17 campaign against city rival La Salle at the Liacouras Center on Nov. 11.

After beating Ohio State, Penn State ranked for 1st time since 2011

After beating Ohio State, Penn State ranked for 1st time since 2011

After its signature win over Ohio State on Saturday night, Penn State finds itself ranked for the first time since 2011.

The Nittany Lions (5-2, 3-1 Big Ten) are ranked No. 24 in the latest AP poll. The Lions stunned the Buckeyes, 24-21, on Saturday in a White Out at Beaver Stadium (see game story).

With the loss, Ohio State drops from No. 2 in the country to No. 6 (see full poll).

While head coach James Franklin sidestepped the signature win question after the game (see story), there is no question the Ohio State win is one that has been lacking in the Franklin era at State College. Even junior cornerback Grant Haley, who scored the go-ahead, 60-yard touchdown off a blocked field goal in the fourth quarter, believes it was much-needed too.

“It’s just a game that put Penn State back on the map," Haley said. "We needed that signature win, and we did it tonight."

Penn State heads to Purdue next Saturday for a noon kickoff against the Boilermakers.