An Overview of the 2009 Wildcat Football Season: Past, Present and Future
By Chris Fujimoto
Click here for photos. Photos Courtesy of Matt Crawford
The #2 Ranked Villanova Wildcats have stormed out to a 4-0 start with wins over Temple, Lehigh, and most recently a demolition over Northeastern. For the Wildcats the rush attack has been the pulse of the offense with the Wildcats rushing for over 100 yards in three of their four wins and rushing for over 300 yards in two of the wins. Andy Talley’s squad rushes the ball from all positions. Junior Quarterback Chris Whitney has topped 100 yards rushing in two games which adds another element to his already effective passing game. The two running backs Angelo Babbaro and Aaron Ball have contributed to a balanced running attack for the ‘Cats and the elusive and athletic Matt Szczur is always a threat rushing the ball from the aptly named Wildcat position. Currently Villanova is second in the CAA in rushing offense behind James Madison, averaging 228 yards per game. The powerhouse Villanova offense is also second in the CAA in scoring offense averaging 33.8 points per game. The Pass Offense for the Wildcats hasn’t necessarily struggled but it is currently second to last in the CAA averaging only 150 yards a game. What is characteristic with the offense this season is that the pass isn’t implemented to light up the stat sheet, it is meant to be efficient. The small ball passing game ranks second in completion percentage, third in the CAA in touchdowns, and leads the CAA with only one interception thrown all year. Senior receiver Brandyn Harvey is the leading receiver for the team and has great size to help Whitney in the passing game and is a great blocker. Senior Antwon Young has been a surprise this season. The Quarterback has emerged as a reliable player who can spell Whitney in long periods and is showing off his passing and rushing abilities that made him the starter two years ago. The one weak spot of Villanova’s offense has been the offensive line. Villanova Quarterbacks have been sacked 12 times this season, worst in the CAA
As impressive as the Villanova offense has been so far, the defense has been just as impressive, if not more impressive. The defense leads the CAA in scoring defense, giving up only 12.8 points per game. Linebackers Osayi Osunde and Terrence Thomas lead a tenacious defense that is very disciplined. Junior John Dempsey is one of the leaders of the secondary that has forced eight interceptions. The Villanova defense may be good at keeping opponents out of the end zone but overall the defense has been average, at best. In overall defense Villanova ranks sixth, conceding 279 yards per game. The defense needs to continue to be as strong as it has been through the first four games for the Wildcats to continue their run toward a championship.
The toughest part of Villanova’s schedule is coming up within next few weeks. Next weekend the 2nd ranked Wildcats will play the 5th ranked William & Mary Tribe on Versus, the first Nationally Broadcast CAA game. Villanova then travels on a 2 game road trip against New Hampshire and nationally ranked James Madison, who knocked Villanova out of the playoffs last season. The game that the entire FCS division will have circled occurs on November 7th, #2 Villanova at #1 Richmond. Last season the Wildcats upset Richmond at home when Richmond was ranked #1 and Andy Talley’s squad hopes to repeat the task. If the offense and defense plays at the caliber they have been performing at, they will have a great chance.