Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Keys To the Villanova-New Hampshire Game

Coming off a big 28-17 win over CAA South rival William and Mary, The second ranked 'Cats travel to Durham, NH to take on the fifth ranked University of New Hampshire Wildcats. This marks the second time in as many weeks that Villanova will take on the number five team in the nation. It's Homecoming in Durham and UNH will want to do all of their alumni proud in what should be an electric environment. Andy Talley's squad has experience in big games on the road such as the heartbreaker against JMU in the playoffs last season and that will help them face what should be a formidable opponent in New Hampshire. Villanova won last year's meeting against UNH at Villanova Stadium and a win in this year's game would put The 'Cats in a very comfortable position in the national picture. Now let's get on with the keys.
  1. Travel Well- Saturday's game will be the first time this entire season that Villanova will leave the Philadelphia area for a game, so naturally It's tough to know what to expect from the team this week as it will be the first time this season they will have to leave their comfort zone to play a game. The last time Villanova traveled to Durham in 2005, they were handed a 45-17 beatdown at the hands of former UNH quarterback Ricky Santos and his star receiver David Ball. This is a different Villanova team though and after rolling through the first five games of their schedule, we can only hope that The 'Cats are not only confident, but ready to play against the "Other Wildcats."
  2. Limit The Mistakes- UNH is forcing turnovers at a ridiculous rate so far this season and on top of that, they're scoring 37 points a game. Villanova must continue to protect the ball like they have been doing so far this season so they don't give UNH a short field on offense. On defense; The 'Cats must play stingy and get pressure on the quarterback. If they're unable to get a pass rush, UNH will pick them apart in a not so pleasant way. On both sides of the ball, stupid penalties cannot be afforded by Villanova. So far, they've done a great job limiting the penalties and if that doesn't change this week, it bodes very well for VU.
  3. Force Mistakes- Both Villanova and UNH are among the top teams in the FCS in turnover margin, and not so coincidentally, they're both undefeated. teams that win the turnover margin rarely lose games. Last week's game against William and Mary is a perfect example of turnovers affecting the outcome of a game as Villanova was outgained in nearly every statistical category except for turnover margin and penalties yet still won the game by more than a touchdown. I'm confident that if Villanova wins the turnover differential by two or more, they will win this game.
  4. Go For Broke- With last week's game against William and Mary, this week's game at UNH and next week's showdown at JMU, Villanova is entering the toughest regular season stretch I can ever remember. In the CAA, no game can be taken lightly, especially these next two games. Villanova must play this game like it is a playoff game because even though they're still in a good position with a loss to UNH, one loss can mean the difference between homefield advantage in the playoffs and having to play in Missoula, Montana in the middle of December (not ideal.) An inspired effort from Villanova can also take the crowd (which is expected to be overflow) out of the game early, an ideal situation.
  5. Protect The Quarterback!- Villanova is still giving up WAY too many sacks. If you want Chris Whitney to stay healthy, protecting him is essential. The offensive line has been dominant at times, but they still have yet to go a game without giving up a sack. That needs to change if Villanova wants to prevent turnovers.
So there we go, The game is on 950 ESPN radio at Noon this saturday.. no tv this week. Let's Go Cats!

1 comment:

  1. too many things are in bold for me to read this. oh and we lost.