A Great Day for ‘Nova Nation: Wildcats Win First Ever NCAA Football Championship

On Friday night, Villanova football defeated the Montana Grizzlies, by a score of 23 – 21 to claim their first ever NCAA Championship title in Division I-AA (FCS).

Matt Szczur and Chris Whitney are the saviors of this Villanova team. Szczur caught two touchdown passes and ran for 159 yards, sparking the Villanova offensive surge in the second half, even after coming up lame after a play in the first half. Szczur, a catcher for the Wildcats baseball team, was drafted in 2007 by the LA Dodgers, and speculation is, that although he is only a junior, he may depart Villanova through the draft this summer.

Whitney, the junior quarterback from Warminster, PA, was also essential to the Villanova rushing attack, with several hard hits and incredible blocks. He racked up 103 yards rushing and threw for 142 yards with one touchdown. He is an unorthodox quarterback in that the greatest asset to his game is his physicality and strength. His passing game is solid, but it is his other skills that fit in perfectly with offensive coordinatior Sam Venuto’s offense. 

Villanova’s victory and strong play in the second half, as well as their success all year, is due to their toughness and physicality. They are a hard hitting team, have a great rushing game, and have many strong role players who do not receive enough credit – namely Marquis Kirkland, Tim Kukucka, Ross Ventrone, Eric Loper, John Dempsey, Martel Moody, Brian Brannigan, Aaron Ball, Angelo Babbaro, Brandyn Harvey, Fred Maldonado, James Pitts, Joshua Potts, Osayi Osunde, Terrence Thomas, and many many more. All of Villanova should be very proud of this gutty, smart, passionate 2009 Villanova football team.

But tonight, the individual who is the most proud is of course Villanova head coach Andy Talley. A graduate of Southern Connecticut University, he spent 5 years coaching the St. Lawrence Saints, before heading to Villanova in 1985 to restart our football program, which had been dropped in 1980 after being a D-1A program for many years, and producing several football greats, most notably Howie Long. He has coached the likes of talented NFL players Brian Westbrook and Brian Finneran (who watched from the sidelines), although this is the first championship for Talley and the Wildcats.

Congratulations Villanova Football Team!

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