Mike Kern: Wildcats' run done in by turnovers

West Virginia's Geno Smith
West Virginia's Geno Smith
Posted: October 08, 2012

Players of the Weekend

National: Mike Glennon and Bryan Underwood hooked up for a 2-yard touchdown pass on fourth down with 16 seconds left to give North Carolina State a 17-16 win over third-ranked Florida State.

Local: Rowan's Louie Bianchini passed for 268 yards and four scores in a 33-7 win over Montclair State.

Around Town

Richmond 28, Villanova 17: The host Wildcats had won four in a row for the first time since their 2009 national-title season. In those games, they'd turned it over once. This time they did it four times.

So they'll be 4-2 (2-1 Colonial Athletic Association) heading into Saturday's game at unbeaten Old Dominion, which is ranked fourth in FCS and will be coming off a bye.

They also had a punt blocked, which led to the first TD for the Spiders' (4-2, 2-1). But the Wildcats led 14-7 midway through the second quarter. It was tied at half. Early in the fourth period, down seven, the Wildcats had the ball at the Richmond 1 but had to settle for a field goal after a penalty. The Spiders put it away on a short TD run with a minute-and-a-half left.

Villanova redshirt freshman quarterback John Robertson had 425 yards' total offense, fourth in program history. He also had the four TOs (three interceptions and a fumble), while becoming the first Wildcat to throw for 300 and run for 100 (308, 117).

Joe Price had a career-high 153 receiving yards.

For the first time in five games, the Wildcats didn't rush for 200 yards. Other than their quarterback they only managed 35 on 16 carries.

They had 17 sacks coming in, zero this time.

A win would have put them in decent position to get the seven or even eight wins it's going to take to get back to the playoffs for the first time in two years. Now, their postseason window has obviously shrunk.

William & Mary 34, Penn 28: The Quakers lost for the third time to a scholarship program, to fall to 1-3 for the first time since 2007.

They've now lost five of their last six, and have a three-game non-league losing streak for the first time in their 2 decades under Al Bagnoli.

This week they're back in the Ivies, against visiting Columbia (1-3, 0-1).

The Tribe, out of the CAA, improved to 2-4.

The Quakers trailed 24-7 at the half, and by 13 after three quarters. They made it a six-point game with 3:23 showing, on Billy Ragone's second TD pass (he also ran for a score). And they got to the W&M 20 on their last drive, but a last-play pass was knocked down in the end zone.

Penn lost two fumbles, the only turnovers, both of which resulted in W&M TDs, including one just before the half.

The Quakers, picked to finish second in the Ivy behind defending champ Harvard (4-0), have won two of the last three titles.

Encore

West Virginia's Geno Smith, who has emerged as the guy to beat in the Heisman Trophy race, has now thrown 24 touchdown passes without an interception. Think about that.

This time he did it to Texas, on the road, 45-42. And this time he only threw four, or half as many as he had a week ago at home against Baylor. And he had help. Andrew Buie ran for 207 yards and two scores, after accounting for 226 in their first four games.

It does kind of make you wonder, though, just how much defense they play in the Big 12.

Texas, by the way, has won two of its last nine conference games, and has lost eight straight to ranked opponents.

Good thing the Longhorns have their own network.

SEC Update

LSU's lack of offense finally caught up with it, in a 14-6 loss at Florida. The Tigers converted one of 13 third downs. It's the third time they've been held without a touchdown going back to last November's 9-6 win at Alabama.

Meanwhile, South Carolina and former UF ballcoach Steve Spurrier buried Georgia at home, 35-7. It was 21-0 early. Imagine Spurrier getting it done with defense.

It was South Carolina's biggest margin of victory in the border series, and the first time it has won three straight.

Florida and second-year coach Will Muschamp host South Carolina on Oct. 20.

Missing Cam

Auburn would still be winless if not for an overtime win at home over Louisiana-Monroe. The Tigers lost at home, 24-7, to an Arkansas team whose lone previous win was over Jacksonville State. The Hogs had one of the nation's worst defenses. Didn't matter.

State of the Big Ten

It didn't take long for Urban Meyer to assert his influence with Ohio State, which in case you forgot was 6-7 last year under Luke Fickell.

The Buckeyes beat Nebraska at home, 63-38. The combined 101 points were the most in a conference game involving OSU since an 83-21 win over Iowa in 1950. And the most points by OSU in a Big Ten game since a 69-18 win over Minnesota in 1983.

Too bad Ohio State isn't eligible for anything except the Leaders Division title.

It was the most points given up by Nebraska since a 65-51 loss to Colorado in the 2007 finale. That was Bill Callahan's last game before Bo Pelini took over.

Did You Notice? * 

Navy won at Air Force, 28-21, in overtime. The winning TD was scored by West Catholic's Jake Zuzek, a sophomore guard, who fell on a fumble in the end zone on the opening possession of the extra period.

* Oregon State is 4-0 for the first time since 2002. The Beavers were 3-9 last year.

* Iowa State won on the road against a Top 25 team (TCU) for the third straight year.

* Florida has outscored its opponents in the fourth quarter, 41-0.

* Virginia Tech (3-3) is off to its worst start after six games since 1992. North Carolina's 48 points were the most it's given up since joining the ACC 8 years ago.

* Nine ranked teams lost, the first time that's happened on the same weekend since Oct. 18, 2008.

* UCLA lost its seventh straight at Cal.

*  Duke senior Conner Vernon became the ACC's all-time leader in receptions.


Contact Mike Kern at kernm@phillynews.com.

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