College football games today
VILLANOVA AT FORDHAM
Saturday, 6 p.m., Coffey Field, Bronx, N.Y.
TV: None. Radio: WIP (610-AM)
Records: Villanova 0-1, Fordham 1-0
History: Villanova leads series that began in 1897, 20-4-3. Fordham's last win was in 1920. The Wildcats won last year at home, 28-13.
About Villanova: Wildcats lost at FBS Boston College, 24-14, after leading by seven at halftime ... They fell from fifth to ninth in the FCS rankings ... Biggest issue was injuries. They could be down as many as six defensive starters for this one. Two could be gone for the season ... John Robertson was 16-for-25 for 158 yards, with a TD and two picks. He ran for 94 on 13 carries ... The Wildcats, who scored on a fake punt, had four turnovers ... They're off next week before hosting Stony Brook in their CAA opener.
About Fordham: Rams beat visiting Rhode Island, 51-26 ... They have 11 starters back from team that went 6-5 in first season under Joe Moorhead. They're ineligible for Patriot League title until next season, and have been giving scholarships since 2010 ... Michael Nebrich was 17-for-25 for 267 yards and four TDs ... Carlton Koonce carried 14 times for 90 yards ... Rams were leading 'Nova at the half last season.
- Mike Kern
TEMPLE VS. HOUSTON
Saturday, Noon, Lincoln Financial Field
TV: 6ABC. Radio: WPHT (1210-AM)
Records: Houston 1-0, 0-0 AAC; Temple 0-1, 0-0
History: Houston leads, 2-0. This is the first meeting since 1989. This is the inaugural American Athletic Conference game.
About Houston: Cougars beat FCS Southern, 62-13. They ran for 372 yards, but they like to throw the ball and they do run a lot of plays ... They have 10 starters back on offense ... Last year they were 5-7 for Tony Levine, who took over for Kevin Sumlin (now at Texas A&M). In 2011 they went 13-1 ... They will give up some points, too ... They'll probably use two quarterbacks, but it's the system that matters most ... This is the sixth different league in which Houston has played.
About Temple: Owls lost first-ever game with Notre Dame, 28-6, in South Bend ... They had some defensive breakdowns early, especially in secondary ... Freshman Jim Cooper Jr. missed two makable field goals, and a PAT got blocked ... Junior QB Connor Reilly, who was taking his first snaps, did reasonably well given the circumstances ... Still need to develop more of a running game and overall consistency ... Both lines held their own ... Next week, the Owls host FCS Fordham.
- Mike Kern
PENN STATE VS. EASTERN MICHIGAN
Saturday, noon, Beaver Stadium, State College
TV: Big Ten Network Radio: WNTP (990-AM), WNPV (1440-AM)
Bag policy: Beaver Stadium will be implementing a new bag policy this season. Fans can only carry one clear, plastic, one-gallon bag into the stadium. Patrons can store items in their pockets, but backpacks, fanny packs, purses, drawstring bags, etc. will not be permitted.
3 things to watch:
1. The running game picking up some steam. Penn State won its opener against Syracuse, and quarterback Christian Hackenberg had a great debut for a true freshman. But Penn State's running game was stagnant. Zach Zwinak was limited to 61 yards, and the Lions' longest rush went an unexplosive 11 yards. Bill O'Brien should have a good chance to pound the rock, especially in the second half.
2. Penn State's cornerbacks to continue to be tested. Both starting for the first time collegiately, Jordan Lucas and Trevor Williams didn't look inexperienced against Syracuse. Lucas broke up a few passes and Williams' late interception sealed the win. However, it was only one game, and if Eastern Michigan falls behind early, the team will likely rely on its passing game.
3. Adam Breneman making an impact. Hackenberg was not the only prized recruit to take the field last week. Freshman tight end Adam Breneman also saw some action on offense and special teams. His role was limited, however, and he did not have any receptions. But with Matt Lehman out for the season with a knee injury and Kyle Carter banged up with an elbow ailment, Breneman will get more time in the offense, which should equate to a few catches.
Prediction: Penn State 37, Eastern Michigan 14. Expect the Lions to go ahead early and cruise to a 2-0 record in their home opener. Saturday should be a good chance for Hackenberg to settle in to his role and cut down on the interceptions. Eastern Michigan has a solid running back in Bronson Hill, but Penn State's front seven won't let him be much of a factor.
- Stephen Pianovich