|« Villanova routs New Hampshire, reaches semifinal||Montana readies for Stephen F. Austin attack »|
'Nova gets ready for a football rematch
Andy Talley won’t emphasize the revenge factor.
Sure, the Villanova coach remembers the 28-24 setback to New Hampshire earlier this season. After all, the road defeat in Durham, N.H., on Oct. 10 was the only loss of the season for the Wildcats, ranked second in the Football Championship Subdivision.
And at 3:30 p.m. today, Villanova (11-1) will meet the 10th-ranked New Hampshire Wildcats (10-2) again in an FCS quarterfinal at Villanova Stadium.
“For us, it is not necessarily a revenge situation at all,” Talley said. “We played fairly poorly in that game. We had a slow start.
“That loss turned out to be a positive. From that time, they really hit the [field] ready to play.”
Since falling behind by 15 points in the second quarter of that game, Villanova has looked unstoppable in the first halves of games.
It has outscored opponents, 138-23, before intermission in the six games since. In its last three games, Villanova has scored on 13 of 18 first-half possessions.
“We sort of realized that we have to come out ready to play,” Talley said.
It can be argued that today’s game is one of the biggest contests in the Talley era.
A win would advance Villanova to its second semifinal appearance in school history. The Wildcats would also tie the school’s single-season victory record (12 wins).
To achieve those things, Villanova must do something it couldn’t do in the first game: stop the big plays.
New Hampshire had 15 plays of 10 yards or more from scrimmage. The longest was quarterback R.J. Toman’s 53-yard completion to tight end Scott Sicko on New Hampshire’s second possession. The duo later combined on a 50-yarder to set up New Hampshire’s go-ahead field goal early in the fourth quarter.
Toman finished with 292 passing yards and a touchdown pass. Sicko, a first-team all-CAA selection, caught three passes for 135 yards.
‘Nova gets ready for a football rematch
By Keith Pompey, The Philadelphia Inquirer