Mike Kern: Panthers handle Owls

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Temple running back Montel Harris rushed for 72 yards on 18 carries against Pittsburgh. (Keith Srakocic/AP)

Players of the Weekend

National: Gio Bernard returned a punt 74 yards for a touchdown, his third of the game, with 13 seconds left to give North Carolina its first win over North Carolina State in 6 years, 43-35. It was the first such score by UNC in the series since 1986.

Local: Connor Loftus, who kicked two field goals in the final minute and 25 seconds, the first a career-long 45-yarder and then a 35-yarder at 0:17, to give Penn a 20-17 home win over Brown.

 

Around Town

Pitt 47, Temple 17: A week after getting outscored 35-0 in the second half at home against Rutgers, the Owls (3-4, 2-2 Big East) lost the first 30 minutes at Heinz Field, 31-7. They never got closer than 17 after that.

The Panthers are 4-4, 1-3. Tino Sunseri passed for 321 yards and three TDs. Ray Graham ran for 109 and had 71 receiving.

It was the first meeting since 2004. And the last, at least for a while, since Pitt - which will open against Villanova next year - is bolting for the ACC along with Syracuse.

Temple senior Matt Brown was held out after halftime after tweaking a left-ankle injury. His 77-yard kickoff return set up their first TD that made it 14-7. He was hurt early in the fourth quarter against South Florida on Oct. 6, and reaggravated it on the opening kickoff the next week at Connecticut. He had 99 all-purpose yards a week ago but hasn't had a carry since USF.

Montel Harris rushed for 72 yards on 18 carries. The other Owls had 57 more on 22. Pitt got 207 on 36.

For the second straight game, Clinton Granger got some time at quarterback in the fourth quarter.

This week the Owls are at 12th-ranked Louisville (8-0, 3-0). They last beat a Top 25 team in 1998.

Towson 49, Villanova 35: The 19th-ranked Wildcats (6-3, 4-2 CAA) could've taken a big stride toward making it back to the FCS playoffs. Now they probably have to win their last two, at home against Top 10 James Madison (6-2, 4-1) on Nov. 10 and at Delaware (5-3, 2-3) a week later.

If they finish 7-4 they might still have a chance, but who wants to sweat out the selection committee?

The No. 23 Tigers (4-4, 3-2), the defending champions and preseason favorite, have lost to FBS Kent State and LSU, which both have lost once. Their other losses were to Top 10 Old Dominion and JMU.

The visitors led, 21-14, after one quarter, 35-28 at the half. Villanova tied it early in the third period, but Towson scored the final two TDs before it was over.

Villanova had been allowing 19 points per.

Towson's Grant Enders passed for 269 yards and four TDs, and ran for 122 and a score. Terrance West, who didn't play in last week's lost to ODU for personal reasons, rushed for 144 and two scores.

Villanova's John Robertson also threw for four TDs and ran for one. But he had just 27 yards on the ground. Kevin Monangai, who had two TD catches, ran for 100 for the third consecutive game, the first Wildcat to do that since Brian Westbrook in 2001.

Penn 20, Brown 17: The Quakers (3-4, 3-1 Ivy League) have come from behind in the fourth quarter in every win.

They're tied for first with Harvard (6-1, 3-1) and Princeton (4-3, 3-1), which lost on a late field goal at Cornell (4-3, 2-2). This week they're at Princeton, before hosting Harvard.

Brown, which took a three-point lead on a TD with 3:47 to go after coming up with a 29-yard completion on a fourth-and-15 from the Penn 31, is 4-3, 1-3.

After the Quakers tied it (with the help of a long kickoff return by Dexter Davis), a Trevor Neimann interception, the first of his career, gave them the ball back at the Brown 44 at 1:21.

Five plays and three timeouts later, Loftus put them ahead.

 

Dream on

Five unbeatens went down. But maybe the bigger news was that Notre Dame wasn't one of them.

 

Holy Lou Holtz

The Irish went to Oklahoma and scored the final 17 points after the Sooners drew even with nine minutes left.

And just like that, getting to Miami on Jan. 7 doesn't seem as unrealistic any more. Provided, of course, that perhaps some of the other unbeatens lose. Or maybe it won't matter. We'll have to wait and see. But the Irish have Pitt at home this week. Then they're at Boston College (2-6), before hosting Wake Forest (4-4). Finally, it's at Southern Cal (6-2), where they shouldn't be a 10-point underdog like they were in Norman.

And remember when Bob Stoops never lost there? Well now he's dropped three of his last seven.

Irish haven't made it past 8-0 since 1993, when they won their first 10 before losing that classic to BC, a week after winning that epic against eventual national champ Florida State. For details please call Notre Dame Harvey.

 

SEC beast

Georgia beat Florida for the second straight year for the first time since 1989 (and fifth time in 23 games), 17-9. So the Bulldogs (7-1, 5-1 SEC) can win the title, and the right to play either Alabama or LSU for the right to maybe go to a BCS final, if they beat Mississippi (5-3, 2-2) at home this week and Auburn (1-7, 0-6) on the road after that.

The Gators had six turnovers, including a late fumble into the end zone. The Dawgs overcame 14 penalties.

 

Just in case . . .

You had N.C. State getting 7 1/2. Here's how you didn't cover. After UNC scored on the late punt return to go up by six, it added a two-pointer by accident. The snap for the PAT was fumbled by the holder (the punter), so he scrambled around and found somebody to throw to. In the first quarter the Heels actually got an intentional deuce with the same combo on a "swinging gate" fake.

 

Rainbow update

Hawaii, which Temple is trying to schedule a 12th game against to enhance its bowl chances, is 1-6 after losing (its fifth straight) at 2-6 Colorado State, 42-27.

 

Did You Notice? * 

Oregon State still has never made it to 7-0. But Washington has beaten two unbeaten Top 10s at home.

* Kent State is now 1-for-23 against ranked teams. The Golden Flashes own a six-game winning streak for the first time since 1940.

* USC's Marqise Lee had a Pac-12 record 345 receiving yards (and 469 all-purpose) at Arizona. It still wasn't enough to save the Trojans, who must deal with Oregon now. Against the Ducks it might take 645.

 


Contact Mike Kern at kernm@phillynews.com.