Villanova (5-1 Overall, 3-0 CAA) travels to Richmond (5-1 Overall, 3-0 CAA) for a 3:30 kick-off of an important CAA match-up on Saturday (game is televised on ComcastSportsNet and can be heard on 610 WTEL-AM). The Cats hammered URI last week, 35-0 while Richmond won a 36-30, 3OT thriller at Albany.
Back in the preseason, Richmond was picked to win the CAA and had both the Preseason Offensive and Defensive Player of the Year selections in QB, Kyle Lauletta and S, David Jones respectively. The Spiders had five other players chosen to the preseason All-Conference team as well - FB, James Pavik, WR, Brian Brown, OL, Thomas Evans, OL, Nicholas Vergos, and LB, Omar Howard. In other words, Richmond is loaded with talent on both sides of the ball. IN contrast, for the Cats, only DL, Tanoh Kpassagnon received preseason conference and national recognition.
Keys to the Game:
- Can Villanova get adequate pressure on the QB and adequate coverage to limit the Richmond aerial attack?
- Which defense can do the best job of bending without breaking?
- How effectively can the Cats run the ball and dominate time of possession?
- Turnovers loom large in this closely matched battle.
- Richmond averaging 439.0 yards per game of total offense (Nova 400.7)
- 292.7 mpg comes through the air for the Spiders
- 31.7 ppg in scoring offense for Richmond and 30.2 ppg for Villanova
- The two best teams CAA teams in total defense square off with Villanova allowing 265.5 ypg and Richmond allowing 278.5
- Villanova has held opponents to 92.3 ypg rushing (CAA best)
- Richmond has held opponents to 139.0 ypg passing (CAA best)
- Scoring defense: Villanova 15.2 ppg and Richmond at 25.2 ppg
Coach Talley Quotes:
VUSports: Two parter - first, what are you keys as you prepare for Richmond - what are you focused on this week and secondly, in regards to the development of your team to date, do you feel you are a bit ahead of where you thought you would be or do you feel a little untested still?
Andy Talley: I think Richmond is a very big challenge. For one thing, it is not an easy ride from Villanova to Richmond so we are on the road. I think Kyle Lauletta is certainly the quarterback that everyone thought he could be in this league - an all-league quarterback - and he is performing that way. I am very impressed with Richmond's football team, as usual. They have skill sets across the board. Defensively, they are a tough group and they run really, really, well. I have had a lot of respect for their coach and their team for a long time. They have done a really great job. This will be homecoming down there. They had a triple overtime win against Albany that was tremendous for them so they have good momentum. The second part of your question: we have really had a nice building block in the last four or five games coming off the Pitt game to play against FCS teams and sort of build our team in terms of good offense, good defense, and our special teams has come around so I think we are at the point now where we are in the heart of our schedule and Richmond is certainly a very difficult out for us so I think we will find out a little about the Villanova football team and found out if we are really for real.
Moderator: Talk about how nice it is as a Coach to have three running backs as options …
Andy Talley: We are fortunate because all three running backs are really unselfish and they are not worried about who gets the ball. We have tried to split it up three ways. Aaron Forbes, the sophomore running back, had a 68 yard run and is playing great. Javon White came back off a sprained ankle and had a good showing and Matt Gudzak, after missing the first five games of the year, has stepped back on the field. So we have three guys right now that it wouldn't matter to me who was in the game. All three of them are really good and a lot of that has to be because of the offensive line group that we have up front that has done a good job. They are not real healthy but they have managed to hang in there and be there every game. That has really helped and Zach being a run and pass threat has helped us. So we kind of have what we need to kind of overcome the fact that we are really young at wide receiver.
Moderator: Talk about how well your defensive is playing up front.
Andy Talley: I think Tanoh Kpassagnon is a force on the edge and Brian Osei has done a really good job for us at defensive end as well. We have played six down line kids on defense and that has helped. The strength of our group right now is our linebacker corps, Austin Calitro and that group there. We have been fortunate defensively because we have controlled the ball, time-wise, offensively in the last couple of games and they haven't been on the field a lot and that helps keep a defense fresh.
Moderator: Is that going to be pretty critical against an offense as high-powered as Richmond's to try to do the same thing this week?
Andy Talley: Well, Richmond is a different story now. You have got a seasoned quarterback down there now with a lot of skill around him both at running back and wider receiver so we will be in a real battle. That is going to be a very tough game - a very difficult game for our defense. Our defense is going to have to come up with a scheme and hopefully come up with a way - you are not going to stop Richmond - you have got to slow them down a little bit.
More 'Nova Notes:
Richmond Depth Chart:
Villanova Depth Chart:
CAA Schedule Week 7:
CAA Standings Week 7:
FCS Polls Week 7: