Villanova's record is perfect through September. Saturday, in crushing Northeastern, 56-7, at Villanova Stadium, the Wildcats played a near-perfect game.
"I was hoping we could have a game where we put it all together, where we could come out and have a pretty good run-pass and play good defense and put together a victory that made us look like we were a team on the rise," Villanova coach Andy Talley said.
The Wildcats (4-0, 1-0 Colonial) were already ranked No. 2 in the FCS. What made the coach so happy is they proved just how good they are, and how good they might become.
How good was Villanova? The 'Cats rushed for 410 yards, the third-best total in school history. They had 552 yards of total offense to just 221 for Northeastern (0-4, 0-2). They averaged 2.1 yards shy of a first down every time they ran a play.
No. 5 William & Mary comes to town Saturday for the first of what should be many big games for the 'Cats. The 3:30 p.m. game will be televised nationally on Versus.
Owls make the big plays
The record may not yet show it, but Temple has gotten miles better under Al Golden. What this group needed was a dominating win. What it also needs is some consistent winning.
Well, the dominating win came at Lincoln Financial Field, a 37-13 blowout of defending Mid-American champion Buffalo (1-3, 0-1 MAC) on Saturday. Consistent winning? To be determined.
The Owls (1-2, 1-0) got a 95-yard interception return for a touchdown from linebacker Elijah "Peanut" Joseph just before halftime, a 92-yard kickoff return for a touchdown from James Nixon, four interceptions and 116 yards on 20 carries from freshman Bernard Pierce (Glen Mills).
Temple just looks different. The Owls are more organized. They have talent. They have experience. They can run it. They can defend. They are finally good enough to win.
"We have been working 3 years to get there, and it's not the X's and the O's," Golden said. "It's the Jimmys and the Joes. The four freshmen that we played with last year are all bigger now. Our guards are all 318, 320 pounds. Our tackles are experienced ... They looked like men finally, and it's taken a lot to get to that point."
Penn still winless
Penn came from 14 down at halftime to get into overtime at Lafayette. In OT, however, the Quakers (0-2) missed a short kick while Lafayette (2-1) made a short kick and won, 20-17.
Penn starts Ivy League play Saturday at Dartmouth.
Across the Country
Tebow knocked out
One might wonder why Tim Tebow was still in the game late in the third quarter at Kentucky as No. 1 Florida led 31-0 after the first quarter. But he was there as the Gators were driving for more. And took a scary shot that led to a scary head injury that knocked him out cold. He spent the night at University Medical Center in Lexington, Ky., but was back home yesterday.
"Tim is doing fine this morning," Florida coach Urban Meyer said yesterday. "His CT scans came back and indicated that Tim suffered a concussion. Our medical and athletic training staff will continue to monitor him to determine how much rest and recovery he needs."
Florida does not play Saturday.
Tebow now has 48 rushing TDs, one behind Herschel Walker's SEC record. Florida has won 14 consecutive games. Let's hope none of that matters as Tebow is evaluated before the next game against LSU.
The common denominator among the four Top 10 teams that lost? Mississippi, Penn State, Miami and California scored a combined 30 points.
By the way, Penn State may never have scored against Iowa anyway after those quick 10 points and some shaky clock management, but there were about a half-dozen bizarre calls and no calls at strange times by a Big Ten officiating crew that looked about as baffled as Penn State's offense.
By the numbers
- Texas had 639 yards to 53 for UTEP. The Longhorns survived, 64-7.
- Oregon quarterback Jeremiah Masoli was 21 of 25 in a blowout of California. The Golden Bears scored the first three points. The Ducks, who had 524 yards of offense, scored the next 42.
- Houston and Texas Tech combined for 1,063 yards of offense and 60 first downs. The Cougars won, 29-28.
- Michigan gave up 467 yards to Indiana, but stayed unbeaten when freshman quarterback Tate Forcier led another late game-winning drive.
- Ohio State beat Illinois, 30-0. Wasn't Ron Zook in the 2008 Rose Bowl? What happened to the Illini?
- Georgia Tech outrushed North Carolina, 317-17. Yes, they won the game, 24-7.
- North Carolina State got 530 yards in a 38-31 win over Pittsburgh. Where did you go, Hugh Green?
Crashing the BCS
It is still very early as we are just now closing on the first Saturday in October. But Houston (Conference USA), TCU (Mountain West) and Boise State (Western Athletic) have all made serious statements that they can play with the big boys.
Houston won at Oklahoma State and beat Texas Tech on a final drive. TCU won, 14-10, at Clemson and has won seven of its last 10 on the road against BCS opponents. Boise State led at Bowling Green, 43-0, before winning, 49-14. Boise, of course, opened the season by suffocating Oregon.
MIKE KERN'S TOP 15
1. Florida (4-0). Beat Kentucky, 41-7. Next: Oct. 10 at LSU. Tim Tebow's status will keep Gator Nation on edge for an extra week.
2. Texas (4-0). Beat Texas-El Paso, 64-7. Next: Oct. 10 vs. Colorado. Get one more tune-up before annual showdown with Oklahoma.
3. Alabama (4-0). Beat Arkansas, 35-7. Saturday: at Kentucky. Hasn't lost to Kentucky in a little over a decade.
4. Louisiana State (4-0). Beat Mississippi State, 30-26. Saturday: at Georgia. Lost to Dawgs by 14 at home last year. Tigers get Florida after that.
5. Boise State (4-0). Beat Bowling Green, 49-14. Saturday: vs. Cal-Davis. First meeting since 1985. Why?
6. Virginia Tech (3-1). Beat Miami, 31-7. Saturday: at Duke. Tech has shut Duke out 3 of last 6 years. Last season, Devils scored 3.
7. Cincinnati (4-0). Beat Fresno State, 28-20. Saturday: at Miami Ohio. This is 114th meeting. Bearcats have won last 3, last 2 haven't been close.
8. Texas Christian (3-0). Beat Clemson, 14-10. Saturday: vs. Southern Methodist. Frogs have lost to Mustangs once in last decade.
9. Houston (3-0). Beat Texas Tech, 29-28. Saturday: at UTEP. Won by 5 last year, after trailing by 19 late in third quarter.
10. Oklahoma (3-0). Idle. Saturday: at Miami. Lost battle of unbeatens to UM in 1988 Orange Bowl (20-14).
11. Southern Cal (3-1). Beat Washington State, 27-6. Saturday: at Cal. Matchup doesn't have quite the marquee value it once did.
12. Ohio State (3-1). Beat Illinois, 30-0. Saturday: at Indiana. Won 14 straight over Indy, last 5 by average of 30 ppg.
13. Oregon (3-1). Beat Cal, 42-3. Saturday: at Washington State. Opening loss at Boise State seems like a long time ago.
14. Brigham Young (3-1). Beat Colorado State, 42-23. Friday: vs. Utah State. Cougars have won 9 in a row over "Beehive Boot" rivals.
15. Oklahoma State (3-1). Beat Grambling State, 56-6. Next: Oct. 10 at Texas A&M. Loss to Houston doesn't look quite as bad now. But it still hurts.
Good thing for LSU that close doesn't count. Or was that Notre Dame?
- Florida State: Very nearly retired the trophy 2 weeks ago against Jacksonville State, then put BYU in the FF on the road. Now this, once again at home. Good thing South Florida had a freshman QB making his first start.
- Cal: It's OK to lose at Oregon, even if it's the first real team you've played. But 42-3? I don't think so.
- Penn State: It's almost OK to lose to Iowa for what seems like the 49th time in the last 50 tries. But it was a serious revenge spot, and the Nits hadn't played anybody yet, either. Good thing they led by 10 early.
- Miami: Almost willing to give young 'Canes a pass, at least until things got out of hand in what was a total set-up spot at Blacksburg.
- Northern Illinois: Always hard to single out any violations in the MAC, but you really shouldn't be losing at home to Idaho, especially coming off a win at Purdue.