Penn State (8-2, 5-2 Big Ten) broke a two-game losing streak, as expected, with a 35-6 win over visiting Rutgers (4-6, 3-4) on Saturday. The Scarlet Knights had won three of their previous four.
Trace McSorley broke the program record for touchdowns. He threw for two and ran for another, giving him 68 for his career. He'd been tied with Darryl Clark (2005-09).
Saquon Barkley rushed for a season-low 35 yards on 14 carries. He did score twice. In the last three games, he's gained 142 yards on 49 attempts. That will not win him the Heisman Trophy. But unless he has another couple of weeks like this, he should still at least be one of the handful of finalists who go to New York for the awards ceremony.
The Nittany Lions next host Nebraska (4-6, 3-4), which has lost four of its last five. They close at Maryland (4-6, 2-5), which has dropped five of its last six, on Nov. 25.
If the college football season keeps going as it did on Saturday, with two of the top three teams going down big-time and Alabama almost joining them, maybe the Lions can even get back in the playoff conversation. OK, maybe not. A whole bunch has to happen for them to just get back to the conference final to defend their title, because they can't win any tiebreakers with Ohio State and/or Michigan State. But at 10-2 they'd almost assuredly get into one of the six New Year's Day bowls, not what they wanted but not a bad consolation prize.
Rutgers led, 6-0, early in the second quarter on two field goals. It was 14-6 by halftime, 28-6 after 45 minutes. The Knights didn't get a first down in the second half until their final drive. They threw for 43 yards and went 3-for-15 on third down.
Rhode Island 20, Villanova 6
The Wildcats (4-6, 2-5) lost their fourth straight, in Kingston. They've scored 28 points in those games. This was the second straight week that they didn't score a touchdown.
Redshirt freshman Jack Schetelich got the start at quarterback over true freshman Kyle McCloskey, who started the previous two games but had a bruised collarbone. Schetelich went 13 for 33 for 170 yards.
This is what usually happens when you've lost 18 players, including several key ones, to season-ending injuries.
They rushed for 1 yard on 21 carries.
The Rams (3-7, 2-5) had 235 more total yards.
The Wildcats led, 3-0, on the first of two Drew Kresge field goals, a 33-yarder. His other, early in the third quarter from 30, made it 10-6. Their next four possessions were three-and-outs. Their last drive took 13 plays to move 45 yards, and ended on a fourth-and-10 incompletion at the 12 with a minute and a half left. The closing 18 minutes were scoreless.
They will have their first losing season since 2011 (2-9), in Mark Ferrante's debut.
They finish at home against Delaware (7-3, 5-2), which probably needs a win to get an FCS playoff berth for first-year coach Danny Rocco. The Wildcats have won 10 of the last 11 meetings. The loss came in 2011 at Chester's PPL Park. Last year it was 41-10 in Newark.
Penn 23, Harvard 7
One week after barely surviving Princeton at home, the Quakers (5-4, 3-3 Ivy League) beat Harvard (5-4, 3-3) for the third straight time, something that hadn't happened since 1998-2000. It also gave them two straight wins at Harvard for the first time since 1993 and '95.
The chance for the two-time defending champions to finish in a seven-way tie for first are now gone. But they can still go out with four straight wins if they can get past Cornell (3-6, 3-3) Saturday at Franklin Field. Cornell has dropped its last two. Since 1990, Cornell has won here three times. The last was four years ago, 42-41.
Tre Solomon scored on the first play on a 77-yard run, the longest of his career. He ended up with a career-best 181 yards rushing on 15 carries. Justin Watson had a TD catch for an Ivy-record ninth straight game. Jack Soslow kicked three field goals, with a long of 40.
It was 10-3 at the half, 20-6 after three quarters. Harvard was 2-for-13 on third down.
On Friday, Temple (5-5, 3-3) won at Cincinnati (3-7, 1-5), 35-24. The Owls have to beat either Central Florida (9-0, 6-0) at Lincoln Financial Field this week or win at Tulsa (2-8, 1-5) next week to become bowl-eligible.
Mike Kern’s Top 10
1. Alabama (10-0). Beat Mississippi State, 31-24. Saturday: vs. Mercer. Only thing that matters is at Auburn in two weeks.
2. Miami (9-0). Beat Notre Dame, 41-8. Saturday: vs. Virginia. Only thing that matters is ACC title date with Clemson.
3. Clemson (9-1). Beat Florida State, 31-14. Saturday: vs. The Citadel. Will try not to look ahead to at South Carolina.
4. Oklahoma (9-1). Beat TCU, 38-20. Saturday: at Kansas. Beat Kansas, 56-3, last year, 62-7, two years ago.
5. Wisconsin (10-0). Beat Iowa, 38-14. Saturday: vs. Michigan. Last year, in first meeting since 2010, lost at Michigan, 14-7.
6. Georgia (9-1). Lost at Auburn, 40-17. Saturday: vs. Kentucky. Has beaten Kentucky seven straight. Last year, it was by only three points.
7. Auburn (8-2). Beat Georgia, 40-17. Saturday: vs. Louisiana-Monroe. Maybe UL-Monroe should be playing Mercer.
8. Notre Dame (8-2). Lost at Miami, 41-8. Saturday: vs. Navy. Navy won last year by a point, after losing five before that by an average of 22.
9. Ohio State (8-2). Beat Michigan State, 48-3. Saturday: vs. Illinois. Only thing that matters is at Michigan next week.
10. TCU (8-2). Lost at Oklahoma, 38-20. Saturday: at Texas Tech. Could get another shot at Oklahoma in first Big 12 title game since 2010.
Next in line: Southern Cal (8-2), Penn State (8-2), Washington (8-2), Oklahoma State (8-2), Michigan State (8-2) and Delaware Valley (10-0).
Michigan State – It's OK to lose at Ohio State the week after you beat Penn State at home. But not by 48-3.
Notre Dame – It's OK to lose at Miami, even as a slight favorite. But 40-8 in prime time ain't acceptable.
Georgia – It's OK to lose at Auburn. But maybe not by 40-17. Good thing Dawgs scored first and last.
Syracuse – I'm a Dave Clawson guy. Still, Wake Forest shouldn't be scoring 64 on anyone, especially on road. Not even in basketball. Orange was outscored, 40-5, in second half, 24-0 in fourth quarter alone. Dome that.
Tennessee – You can't lose, 50-17, at 5-5 Mississippi. Soon to be happy trails to Butch Jones.