Mike Kern: Cardinals too much for Owls

Posted: November 05, 2012

PLAYERS OF THE WEEKEND

NATIONAL: Kenjon Barner rushed for a school-record 321 yards and five touchdowns in Oregon's 62-51 win at Southern Cal.

LOCAL: West Chester's Rondell White had 305 all-purpose yards in a 24-23 loss Bloomsburg, the No. 13 team in Division II.

AROUND TOWN

LOUISVILLE 45, TEMPLE 17: One team is one of your six remaining unbeatens, off to its best start ever, trying to get to a BCS bowl.

The other is transitioning in its first season back in a BCS conference, just trying to schedule a 12th game to help it get bowl eligible.

Even if the Owls were still in the MAC, they might not have been favored this year. And they've already outkicked the coverage merely by rejoining the Big East.

Anyway, Temple's Matt Brown and his injured left ankle ran the opening kick back 93 yards. The Owls also led 14-7. But the visitors didn't score in the final 41 minutes. They've lost three straight for the first time in 4 years.

The Owls (3-5, 2-3) are back in South Philly Saturday against Cincinnati (6-2, 2-1), one of three teams in the conference with a winning record.

The 12th-ranked Cardinals (9-0, 4-0), who got 324 passing yards and a career-best five TDs from Teddy Bridgewater, didn't score in the fourth quarter.

Brown finished with a program-record 227 kickoff return yards. He also had two carries, his first in four games.

The Owls have been outscored in the last 10 quarters, 127-34. Rutgers, the opponent 2 weeks ago, was also in the Top 25. The Owls haven't beaten a ranked team since 1998.

In what has become a theme they ran for 255 but threw for 54, as Chris Coyer went 2-for-8 and lost three fumbles. Backup Clinton Granger came in late for the third straight game, and Penn State transfer Kevin Newsome also got in for the first time.

PENN 28, PRINCETON 21: For the fourth time, the Quakers (4-4, 4-1 Ivy League) came from behind to win in the fourth quarter.

This time they trailed by seven with just under 8 minutes to go. Then C.J. Mooney returned their third interception 15 yards for the tying score, their first defensive TD this season.

Billy Ragone put his team ahead for the first time since 7-0 on a 3-yard run with 3 minutes left.

The host Tigers (4-4, 3-2) got to the Penn 6 with 30 seconds remaining, but a Steve Lias sack on third-and-goal caused a fumble that was recovered by Brandon Copeland.

It was 14-all at the half. Dave Twamley had a pick at the goal line with just under 10 minutes showing.

Princeton threw for 319, or 223 more than Penn, which got 104 rushing from Lyle Marsh.

So now the Quakers will play defending champ Harvard (7-1, 4-1) at Franklin Field. The winner will get at least a piece of the title. Which makes sense, since they were picked to finish 1-2. And one of them has finished first in each of the last five seasons. Penn is going for its third ring in 4 years.

SURVIVOR BCS

I understand the frustration of many because there's no playoff. At least not yet. Still, it doesn't get much better than what transpired from late Saturday afternoon until close to midnight. It was college football at its absolute finest because destiny was involved and America understood that one play could mess up a whole bunch of travel plans.

First, Notre Dame's magical mystery tour nearly ended as 17-point favorites a week after it won as a 10-point underdog at Oklahoma. But it didn't, which is the only thing that counts.

The Irish needed three overtimes to finally get past Pitt, 29-26, at home. So maybe Temple shouldn't feel so bad now. They trailed by 14 entering the fourth quarter. And they had to hold Pitt to a field goal late in the third after it had a first-and-goal from the 2.

Yet somehow they figured out a way, despite throwing an end-zone interception down eight with 4 minutes to go in regulation and fumbling the ball away at the goal line in the second OT. But Pitt barely missed a 33-yard field goal after a high snap, and Lou Holtz could breathe again. Freshman Everett Golson would end it on a quarterback sneak.

There was a pass interference call on a fourth-and-4 that even Notre Dame Harvey admitted was bad, that directly led to the TD that got the Irish within 20-12 (missed PAT) early in the fourth, but stuff happens.

And didn't ND just get a controversial OT win over Stanford in South Bend?

The bottom line is, ND is 9-0 for the first time since 1993.

Then Alabama, after doing virtually nothing on offense the entire second half, drove 72 yards in five plays in the final 1:34 to win at LSU, 21-17. AJ McCarron went 4-for-5, including the 28-yard score on a screen to freshman T.J. Yeldon at 0:51. It's the kind of game big-time teams have to win at some point.

The Tigers have been pretty much unbeatable in Baton Rouge once the sun goes down under Les Miles. But they missed two long field goals, botched a fake FG and got stopped on a fourth-and-short in the fourth at the 'Bama '24. Hard to overcome all that against the Tide, but they sure came close.

Of course that doesn't matter. So 'Bama is still very much in play to defend its title.

While that was going on, Oregon was outscoring Southern Cal at the Coliseum, in what was still a three-point game late in the third. And Kansas State was taking care of visiting Oklahoma State, despite losing Heisman Trophy leader Collin Klein - who had 300 yards before leaving - in the third with an undisclosed injury. We'll have to see if it's serious or a scare.

K-State and Notre Dame have three games left. Alabama and Oregon hope to have four. So let the jostling continue. Maybe some more dramatics as well.

DID YOU NOTICE?

* USC, which began playing in 1888, has never allowed 62 points or 730 yards before.

* Iowa State has lost 21 straight at home to Oklahoma, a streak that has now reached 52 years.

* Colorado was shut out at home (by Stanford) for the first time since 1986, a string of 150 games.

* San Diego State beat a ranked team (at Boise State) for the first time since 1996.

* UCLA (7-2) has a better record through nine games than LA neighbor USC (6-3) for the first time in 11 years.

* Army beat Air Force for the second time in 16 tries to snap a 13-game service academy skid, and can win its first Commander-in-Chief's Trophy since 1996.

* Nebraska won at Michigan State by four, on a 5-yard pass with 6 seconds left, the first time it led.

MIKE KERN'S TOP 10

1. Alabama (9-0). Beat LSU, 21-17. Haven't played Texas A&M since 1988. Saturday: vs. Texas A&M.

2. Oregon (9-0). Beat USC, 62-51. Only an SEC defense can hope to contain Ducks. Maybe. Saturday: at Cal.

3. Kansas State (9-0). Beat Oklahoma State, 44-30. It might all depend on Collin Klein's injury status. Saturday: at TCU.

4. Notre Dame (9-0). Beat Pitt, 29-26, 3 OT. At this point it's not so much about the how part. Saturday: at Boston College.

5. Georgia (8-1). Beat Ole Miss, 37-10. One win away against bad team from spot in SEC title game. Saturday: at Auburn.

6. Florida (8-1). Beat Missouri, 14-7. Gators basically off until at Florida State on Nov. 24. Saturday: at Louisiana.

7. Ohio State (10-0). Beat Illinois, 52-22. Get week off before last road trip. Next: Nov. 17 at Wisconsin.

8. Florida State (8-1). Idle. Haven't been to Virginia Tech since 2007 (40-21 loss). Thursday: at Virginia Tech.

9. Louisiana State (7-2). Lost to Alabama, 21-17. Les Miles has had better games. Saturday: vs. Mississippi State.

10. South Carolina (7-2). Idle. Has lost three straight to Arkansas, all by 16 or more. Saturday: vs. Arkansas.

FRAUD FIVE

* Arizona: It's OK to lose at UCLA. But maybe not by 56, the week you jump into the Top 25 after beating USC.

* North Carolina State: Nobody should be losing by 27 to Virginia at home.

* Virginia Tech: It should be self-explanatory by now.

* Mississippi State: It's OK to lose to Texas A&M, even at home. But at least try not to get outgained by nearly 400 yards.

* Southern Cal's defense: I know it was Oregon but 62 still seems like a lot, especially at home from a team that was preseason No. 1.

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