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Daily Times assistant sports editor Terry Toohey covers the college sports beat like no other reporter. Catch his latest updates here.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Oropollo honored by MAC

Lycoming's Nate Oropollo (Cardinal O'Hara) was a busy man Saturday and Lycoming upset No. 22 Delaware Valley because of his active play on defense.
The senior defensive lineman got to the quarterback five times in the first half and was credited with three full sacks and two half sacks to lead the Warriors to a 24-14 triumph over the Aggies.
That effort earned him MAC Defensive Player of the Week honors for the first time in his career.
It was the most sacks by a Lycoming player since Mark Seagraves set the record with six against Wilkes in 2000. The win also was Lyco's four over a ranked team in the last five years.
Oropollo's pressure on the quarterback helped the Warriors erase a 7-0 deficit and take a 17-7 lead into the locker room at halftime. That 10-point advantage was enough to give Lycoming its first win over Del Val since 2008. He finished with four solo tackles and three assists.
Teammate Kabongo Bukasa (Academy Park) also came up big for the Warriors. He was in on nine stops including two solo tackles.

Robertson earns CAA Rookie honors

Villanova quarterback John Robertson was named the CAA Rookie of the Week.
Robertson, a redshirt freshman, threw for one touchdown and ran for another to guide the Wildcats to a 28-13 come-from-behind victory over Fordham last Saturday.
Villanova scored 21 unanswered points after the Rams took a 13-7 lead in the second quarter.
Robertson threw a 25-yard TD strike to Norman White in the first quarter to get Villanova on the board and closed out the scoring with an 8-yard run in the fourth quarter. He completed 8 of 17 passes for 78 yards and ran for another 46 yards as the Wildcats rushed for more than 200 yards for the second straight week.
Villanova opens CAA play this week at home against Rhode Island. Kickoff is 3:30.

McGrath shines again

It was another big day for Liam McGrath (Haverford) and the Carnegie-Mellon defense. A week after he was named the University Athletic Association Defensive Player of the Week, McGrath was in on a career-high four solo tackles as the Tartans (2-0) rolled over Allegheny, 37-7.
Carnegie-Mellon’s defense forced 10 straight punts and 11 consecutive scoreless possessions after Allegheny scored the first time it had the ball. McGrath, a senior cornerback, recorded the first two interceptions of his career in a thrilling 21-20 season-opening victory over Grove City a week earlier. His first pick came in the end zone and ended a Grove City drive. His second interception was in the fourth quarter and sealed the victory. He also was in on three solo stops.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Dueling quarterbacks at Villanova

Much to his chagrin, Andy Talley has a quarterback dilemma at Villanova.
Does he stay with sophomore Chris Polony or go with redshirt freshmen John Robertson when the Wildcats host Fordham in the home opener Saturday night at Villanova Stadium?
"That’s what we have to figure out," Talley said Monday during the CAA's weekly teleconference. "Robertson played so well that that you have to really give him consideration. He’s normally, obviously, a terrific runner, but a lesser passer than Chris Polony. Chris did nothing wrong really in the game, it’s just that when we put John in he sparked us and we stayed with him. It’s not like (Polony) lost the quarterback job so we have two good ones."
Robertson was the more effective of the two quarterbacks in Villanova's 41-10 loss to Temple. He completed 9 of 17 passes for 135 yards, carried the ball 15 times for 78 yards and directed Villanova's only touchdown drive.
"John surprised me," Talley said. "He had a lot of poise and that was our concern. He can be a little helter skelter and he played great for a redshirt freshmen. I was really impressed that he was faster than some of Temple’s people. He gives you that dual threat of a run-throw guy so we’re back in that two quarterback thing like we were with Chris Whitney and Antwon Young so we’ve got to continue to look at this thing so I’m not sure what we’re going to do yet."
Polony struggled against the Owls. He was 2-for-7 for 18 yards and threw an interception for a touchdown that broke the game open. Polony also had just six yards on five carries.

"I think the big thing with Chris was that the game was going a little fast for him," Talley said. "Maybe with a lesser opponent he would have been a little more on par, but I think that Temple’s defense was tough to catch up with. They played a lot of man coverage and when you play (against) man coverage you have to wait for your people to get open and the rush was so strong that he didn’t have that extra second to get the ball into somebody so he sort of was a victim of circumstance early in the game. He’s not going to run real well against a speed team like that, where John gave you that opportunity to get out of trouble to keep a pass play going or make 10 yards on a run. It was really more set for John that it was for Chris."
While the quarterback situation is unsettled, Talley said he took a lot of positives from the game. First, and foremost, was that the Wildcats came out unscathed. Talley said there were no injuries to report.
He also was happy with the play of running backs Austin Medley and Kevin Monangai, who combined for 121 yards on 21 carries. The Wildcats ran for 212 yards and had a 365-362 advantage in total offense. Talley also was pleased with Villanova's overall defensive performance, especially against the pass.
The problem. though, was turnovers and special teams play. The Wildcats had two turnovers, both of which led to Temple touchdowns, and allowed the Owls to average 21 yards on four punt returns.
"Against a I-A team, if you have two turnovers, you're going to be in harm's way so the score's a little deceiving," Talley said. "The fact is we lost the game. They were a better team. What I was looking for was a competitive effort and I thought we were competitive. I thought we should have gone into halftime down 17-14. (The Owls) have a lot of speed and size. We're not quite there yet, but we are getting better."
Now he just has to figure out the quarterback situation.
"We had planned to play John Robertson, our second quarterback, in a moderated kind of format and he ended up giving us a spark and played really well in the game," Talley said. "He ran for over 70 yards and did a good job in the passing game and now we're back to two quarterbacks, which is what I really don't want to do, but we have two guys who can play and we'll see where we go from there."