Losses at nationally ranked Notre Dame and South Florida, even though they were one-sided, are somewhat understandable. Especially when you have a new coach and a new quarterback. But what happened to Temple on Saturday at Lincoln Financial is much harder to digest.
Connecticut had given up 70 points the week before at home to Memphis. The Huskies had lost eight consecutive AAC games. They'd hadn't won since their opener against FCS Holy Cross.
Yet they still took this one, 28-24.
The Owls (3-4, 1-3 American Athletic Conference) have now dropped three of four, two straight in South Philly.
This week, they're at Army (5-2), which beat them here in last year's opener. After that, they go to Navy (5-1, 3-1), which they beat in Annapolis. Md., in last year's AAC title game. They also host Top 25 Central Florida (5-0. 3-0) on Nov. 18. They've gone to bowl games in each of the last two seasons, a program first.
Temple led, 7-0, early. UConn was up by 14 twice. The Owls got to within four with just over 11 minutes left. They had the ball three more times. They got four yards on the first possession, were stopped on a fourth-and-7 at the UConn 24 on the second and were stopped on a fourth-and-8 at the UConn 42 on the last, which ended with a Hail Mary as time ran out. In the third quarter, they were also stopped on a fourth-and-1 at the UConn 12. They couldn't convert a third-and-goal from the 4, which made them go for their 21-yard FG.
Logan Marchi went 33-for-54 for 356 yards. He had a pick-six that covered 34 yards, UConn's first in two years. This was also the first time the Huskies were ahead at halftime this season.
Bryant Shirreffs threw for three touchdowns. Temple had 229 more yards and 13 more first downs. It also had 12 penalties for 117 yards.
James Madison 30, Villanova 8
ESPN's GameDay was in Harrisonburg, Va., for the second time in three years, to see the No. 1 team in FCS.
The defending national champions won their 18th straight. But Villanova, which has lost a handful of key starters with injuries, was down by only eight one play into the fourth quarter. And the Dukes (6-0, 3-0 Colonial) scored on a 5-yard interception with two minutes remaining.
JMU was averaging 289 yards rushing. It finished with 45, on 30 attempts. The No. 11 Wildcats (4-3, 2-2) had 174 yards offense on 67 snaps.
True freshman Kyle McCloskey (Germantown Academy), son of former Penn State tight end Mike (Father Judge), replaced backup quarterback Jack Schetelich, a redshirt freshman who went 3-for-12 for 15 yards in his second start. McCloskey directed a 79-yard, 18-play scoring drive. He threw a 4-yard TD to third-string tight end Todd Summers, another redshirt freshman. Then he completed a two-point coversion to running back Aaron Forbes. But they made only one first down on their last five possessions.
McCloskey was 2-for-7 for 15 yards. He rushed 16 times for a team-best 43.
The Wildcats are off this week before hosting Elon (5-1, 3-0), which currently is 20th in the FCS poll. Three of their last four are at home, where they've played only twice so far. They won both in shutouts. They also get Richmond and Delaware (each is 4-2, 2-1) on the Main Line.
They still can make the 24-team playoff field. At 7-4, they would get consideration. But, given their manpower situation, that might be asking a lot.
Columbia 34, Penn 31 (overtime)
The Lions, in their third season under former Penn coach Al Bagnoli, beat the Quakers for the first time since 1996, which was also the last time they were 5-0.
They've now beaten both of the Ivy League's defending co-champs. Two weeks ago, they won at Princeton on a 63-yard pass with a minute to go. This time the Lions – who scored 21 in a row in a 6 1/2-minute span of the fourth quarter – came back twice from 14-point holes. They finally ended it on a 24-yard pass on third-and-9, after Jack Soslow kicked a 41-yard field goal to open the extra period.
The Quakers had gone 80 yards in seven plays to tie things with 1:21 showing in regulation.
Sophomore Josh Wainwright, who caught the winning throw from Anders Hill, had 10 receptions for 193 yards, including a 59-yarder that made it 21-all midway through the fourth.
The Quakers (2-3, 0-2) have lost three straight since scoring 65 at Lehigh. They are trying to threepeat for the first time since the mid-1980s. No Ivy team has won a title with two losses since 1982.
Mike Kern’s Top 10
1. Alabama (7-0). Beat Arkansas, 41-9. Saturday: vs. Tennessee. Has beaten Vols 10 straight. Last year it was 49-10.
2. Penn State (6-0). Idle. Saturday: vs. Michigan. Speaking of 49-10 …
3. Georgia (7-0). Beat Mississippi, 53-28. Next: Oct. 28 vs. Florida (Jacksonville). Well, the Dawgs are coached by a former 'Bama coordinator.
4. TCU (6-0). Beat Kansas State, 26-6. Saturday: vs. Kansas. Hard to believe Frogs went 6-7 last year, when they beat Kansas by only one.
5. Wisconsin (6-0). Beat Purdue, 17-9. Saturday: vs. Maryland. Still looking for signature win, but, at this point, who cares.
6. Clemson (6-1). Lost at Syracuse, 27-24. Next: Oct. 28 vs. Georgia Tech. Well, Tigers did lose QB Kelly Bryant. It happens.
7. Ohio State (6-1). Beat Nebraska, 56-14. Next: Oct. 28 vs. Penn State. Buckeyes picked best time to lose. Get two weeks to think about that blocked field goal in Happy Valley.
8. Oklahoma (5-1). Beat Texas, 29-24. Saturday: at Kansas State. Has beaten K-State last two years by 55-0 and 38-17.
9. Oklahoma State (6-1). Beat Baylor, 59-16. Saturday: at Texas. Has won 5 of last 7 against Horns.
10. Miami (5-0). Beat Georgia Tech, 25-24. Saturday: vs. Syracuse. First meeting since 2003. Still not sure exactly how good the Hurricanes are. But I can say that about a bunch of wannabes.
Next in line: Notre Dame (5-1), Southern Cal (6-1), Washington (6-1), Washington State (6-1) and Columbia (5-0).
Washington State: No way you can lose, 37-3, at Cal. Sorry.
Clemson: Again, I know the QB went down. Still …
Washington: Can't be losing 13-7 at 2-3 Arizona State.
Louisville: Shouldn't be losing at Boston College with a Heisman winner.
Me: For going 4-10-1 in our picks. Took too many favorites. Keep forgetting why there's a weekly Fraud Five.