CAA preview: Villanova looking for second big win

CAA preview: Villanova looking for second big win
October 17, 2013, 9:15 am
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Villanova @ New Hampshire, Sat. 12:00 p.m. on CSN
William & Mary @ Maine, Sat. 12:30 p.m.
Richmond @ Rhode Island, Sat. 1:00 p.m.
Towson @ Albany, Sat. 3:30 p.m.

Matchup of the week: Villanova @ New Hampshire, Sat. 12:00 p.m. on CSN

Villanova established itself as the team to beat last week with a big 45-35 win over previously undefeated Towson. Villanova was led by the outstanding effort of quarterback John Robertson who threw for 182 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for 150 yards and another three touchdowns. He had only a single incompletion for the game. Prior to last week’s game, Towson had the league’s top rushing defense allowing an average of only 87.2 yards per game, but Villanova torched the Tigers for 269 yards on the ground.

Villanova will put their 3-0 CAA record on the line in New Hampshire Saturday against a team eager to rebound from a tough start.

Many people dismissed New Hampshire after a 1-3 start, but take a look at who they lost to: FBS opponent Central Michigan, one-loss Lehigh, and the previously undefeated Towson. New Hampshire had a brutal schedule to start the season, but still remain a threat to challenge for the CAA title. Just ask Rhode Island. Perhaps taking out some of their early season frustration, New Hampshire routed the Rams last week 59-19 thanks to five second half touchdowns and 333 rushing yards.

New Hampshire presents a tough challenge to Villanova in the battle of the Wildcats. Villanova has not won in New Hampshire since 2003. We will see if they have enough left in the tank after last week’s huge victory to remain atop the CAA.

Player to watch: Terrance West, RB, junior, Towson

Currently third in the nation among FCS running backs in rushing yards, West has been a force all season long. The Tigers’ offense revolves around him and he has responded, already recording a whopping 17 rushing touchdowns this season.

Despite a great start to the season, this Towson team began to show signs of weakness for the first time at the end of September as Stony Brook jumped out to an early 14 point lead against them. Since then, the Tigers have struggled at the start of every game and it finally cost them last week.

Towson is coming off its first loss of the season as they fell at home to Villanova. The Tigers are in need of a bounce back game and they will look for their star running back to lead them.

Albany has the worst rushing defense in the league, allowing an average of 201.7 yards per game. It has been a long season for the Great Danes and it will get even longer this weekend as this team simply does not have an answer for West. Look for him to have a big time game to get his Tigers back in the win column.

Upset alert: William & Mary @ Maine, Sat. 12:30 p.m.

Maine has quietly established itself as a CAA contender this year going 5-1 in the first half of the season. Their only loss thus far has been to FBS Northwestern and they sit at 2-0 in conference play. They also have the distinct advantage of not having Towson on their schedule. The biggest test remaining for the Black Bears is their October 26th matchup in Villanova. A win over the Wildcats could very well mean an 11-1 record on the season and probably a CAA championship.

Villanova, however, is next week. William & Mary is this week.

Perhaps the only team more under the radar than Maine in the CAA is William & Mary. The Tribe boasts a record of 4-2 and gave FBS West Virginia just about all they could handle, losing by only a touchdown in Morgantown. Their other loss? A 20-16 heartbreaker in Villanova, where the Wildcats took the lead with only 28 seconds remaining.

The Tribe come into this matchup with the best defense in the CAA and seventh best in the nation. Defensive lineman Mike Reilly leads the team with six sacks and will look to give Maine quarterback Marcus Wasilewski fits.

For Maine, an 11 win season is a very real possibility. If their eyes get too big for their heads, that possibility will end this week thanks to a stingy Tribe defense.