Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Villanova-Delaware Game Preview

Villanova will return home to Villanova Stadium this Saturday at 3:30 PM to play it's archrival Delaware in the regular season finale.  The 'Cats are 9-1 and 6-1 in CAA conference play while the Blue Hens are 6-4 and 4-3 in conference play.  Villanova has taken the last three meetings against Delaware including winning last year's Matchup 21-7 at Delaware.  The Blue Hens are a much better team than they were last year, especially at the Quarterback position where Penn State transfer Pat Devlin has stepped in and performed admirably despite lacking weapons at the other skill positions, especially running back. 

Here are my keys to the game (after the jump):

  • Silence The Blue Hen Faithful- Delaware has arguably the best fans in the FCS (I hate calling it that.)  They always travel well to Villanova and I fully expect no less than 5,000 people wearing Blue and Yellow at the game.  They are loud and they hate Villanova (especially Andy Talley) so The 'Cats will have to come out inspired to take them out of the game early.
  • Get after Devlin- Like Joe Flacco before him, Pat Devlin is the kind of quarterback who you can't give time to.  He has a serious arm and can make any throw on the field.  Luckily, Delaware's offensive line is a serious question mark and I think Villanova Defensive Coordinator Mark Reardon's defense will throw some looks at him that he'll have difficulty with.  The most important facet of this game is how Villanova is able to pressure Devlin and how Devlin is able to deal with said pressure.  Expect The 'Cats to blitz early and blitz often. 
  • Mix it Up- For this game, I'd like to see a nice mix of run and pass to keep The Hens on their toes.  Chris Whitney has demonstrated in several games this season that he can get the job done through the air.  Part of the objective of this game is to make things difficult for potential playoff opponents, so I don't think that going closer to a 50/50 run-pass split would be a terrible idea because it would force the potential playoff opponents to prepare for the run and the pass rather than just keying on the run the entire game.
  • Dial Up The Gadget Plays-  Andy Talley is a football Purist's worst nightmare because he's been known to run a trick play from time to time.  The Delaware game two years ago was a prime example as VU ran a successful fake punt that completely stymied the Blue Hens en route to Villanova's final win of the 2007 season.  Matt Szczur has been throwing out of the Wildcat more than usual in recent weeks including last week's touchdown pass to none other than Chris Whitney.  I don't expect this recent trend to change as Szczur has two touchdown passes and hasn't thrown an interception. 

Some Interesting Tidbits on the Game, the opponent and the Series (apologies for the Dik Joakz):
  • He was always Flaccid Flacco but played like he was Huard- In two career starts against Villanova, former Blue Hen and Current Baltimore Ravens Quarterback Joe Flacco had an 0-2 record against Villanova.  In his second meeting with The 'Cats Flacco had a hard time staying erect in the pocket.  The pressure Villanova put on Flacco made him eager to ejaculate the ball from his grasp and ultimately led to what may have been the worst game of his career.
  • Haven For Runaways- Blue Hen Head Coach K.C. Keeler has made a habit of starting quarterbacks who became disenfranchised at BCS schools, Since Keeler took over for legendary Delaware head Coach Harold "Tubby" Raymond in 2002, all but one of his opening day starters at quarterback have been transfers. 
Delaware Transfer Quarterbacks Under Keeler
          1. Andy Hall 2003 (Transferred from Georgia Tech)
          2. Sonny Riccio 2004-2005 (Transferred from Missouri)
          3. Joe Flacco 2006-2007 (Transferred from Pittsburgh)
          4. Rob Schoenhoft 2008 (Transferred from Ohio State)
          5. Pat Devlin 2009-Present (Transferred from Penn State)
  • Breaking the Series Tie- Las season by beating Delaware, Villanova won it's 21st game against the Hens, breaking a tie to take the All-Time Series lead.  The All Time Series is 21-20 in favor of Villanova with one tie. 
  • Undefeated at Home?- With a win this week, Villanova will go undefeated at home for the second time in three years.  The only loss over that span was last year's ball crushing defeat at the hands of JMU. 

That's All For now, Make sure to show up and Support The 'Cats at 3:30 this Saturday at Villanova Stadium.  Let's Go Nova!

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