CAA preview: Dukes head to Delaware

CAA preview: Dukes head to Delaware
September 26, 2013, 9:30 am
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New Hampshire @ Lehigh, Sat. 12:30 p.m.
Central Connecticut State @ Rhode Island, Sat. 1:00 p.m.
Maine @ Richmond, Sat. 4:00 p.m. on CSN
Penn @ Villanova, Sat. 5:00 p.m.
Albany @ Old Dominion, Sat. 6:00 p.m.
Towson @ Stony Brook, Sat. 6:00 p.m.
James Madison @ Delaware, Sat. 7:00 p.m. on CSN

Matchups of the week: Maine @ Richmond, Sat. 4:00 p.m. on CSN

Maine suffered their first loss last week after falling to Northwestern and will look to get things back on track this week as they head to Richmond. The Spiders managed a tough win last week over head coach Danny Rocco’s former team, Liberty. They will host the Black Bears as both teams look to separate themselves from the rest of the CAA pack.

The real action will be between Maine’s high-flying offense and Richmond’s stalwart defense. Maine is averaging 25.8 points per game and tallied 21 last week against the Wildcats at Northwestern. The offense, led by senior quarterback Marcus Wasilewski, actually out-gained Northwestern with 379 yards to 373. If not for a pair of costly pick-6s, the Black Bears may have managed a massive upset.

Richmond fields the nation’s ninth-ranked scoring defense, allowing just 14 points per game. The Spiders have grabbed an interception in 14 straight games, but more so than that, they do not allow easy points. Senior defensive back Wayne Pettus blocked not one, but two field goals last week against Liberty. The Black Bears cannot take anything for granted against this Richmond squad.

Whoever can gain the upper hand between the Maine offense and Richmond defense will walk away with the win.

James Madison @ Delaware, Sat. 7:00 p.m. on CSN

This will be the first meeting between the traditional conference powers since 2010 and both teams will come into it riding high.

James Madison racked up 522 total yards last week in their win over Charlotte thanks in large part to their running game. Running back Dae’Quan Scott rushed for over 100 yards in his fourth straight game as the Dukes pounded Charlotte on the ground for 321 yards.

The Blue Hens also coasted to an easy win over Wagner last week after putting up 42 points in the first half. The 49-6 final was the most lopsided win for Delaware since 2011. Junior QB Trent Hurly leads the CAA with a completion percentage of 72.2%.

With two offenses firing on all cylinders, this one may turn into a high-scoring affair. Luckily for the Dukes, Delaware ranks dead last in the CAA in scoring defense, allowing 29.0 ppg. If the Blue Hens can’t keep up with Scott and JMU, this one could get ugly.

Player to watch: Malcolm Eugene, WR, senior, Stony Brook

Stony Brook was routed by Villanova last week, but Malcolm Eugene still had himself one heck of a game. He caught 12 passes for 184 yards and his team’s only touchdown. Through three games, he is averaging 120.7 yards and a touchdown per game.

While last week shows that a good game from Eugene does not necessarily mean success for his team, imagine where they would be if he did not put up big numbers.

Stony Brook faces undefeated Towson this week. The Tigers are one of the best FCS teams in the nation and have the best defense in the CAA. Stony Brook will struggle to keep up with Towson, but they will have no chance if their star receiver cannot produce.

Upset alert: New Hampshire @ Lehigh, Sat. 12:30 p.m.

New Hampshire has won its last nine meetings against Lehigh and will look to extend that streak to 10 this Saturday. Lehigh, however, has started the season off hot and remain perfect after their first three games.

All three of Lehigh’s games have been nail-biters. Their largest margin of victory was a 51-44 overtime win over Central Connecticut State. They may not have beaten any top teams, but three close wins really says a lot about a team’s fortitude.

With a trip to undefeated Towson looming, it would be easy for the Wildcats to look ahead, but do not count this Lehigh team out. Good teams find ways to win and Lehigh has done just that so far in 2013.