Thursday, November 26, 2009

Villanova-Holy Cross Playoff Game Preview

 Who Will be Playing the Role of Muslim in the Crusade?
On Saturday Villanova will host a playoff game for the second consecutive season.  Last season, The 'Cats dismantled Colgate 55-28 in a game that was more lopsided than even the four touchdown differential indicated in the final score.  This game could be different though.  Last year Colgate was a one dimensional running team which played into Villanova's strength of stopping the run.  Holy Cross is a team that spreads the ball around the field through the air which is something that Villanova has been vulnerable at from time to time.  In the end though, I think Villanova wins handily. 

Here's How I think they do so:
  • Make the Game a Track Meet: It has been apparent in the last several games against Patriot League opponents that Villanova has simply has had superior athletes to their opponents.  In games like that, as long as the team with the better athletes does not make too many mistakes they will generally win.  I expect Villanova to use their speedy players such as Matt Szczur, Dorian Wells, Mikey Reynolds and Angelo Babbaro on runs and short passes to the outside early in the game to force the Crusader defense to play conservatively in order to stop the outside run.   If the Holy Cross defense is forced to contain the outside run, it will open up other facets of the game such as power runs up the middle with Aaron Ball and passes to the middle of the field. 
  • Limit Yardage After The Catch- Holy Cross has a prolific passing game courtesy of their NFL prospect Quarterback Dominic Randolph.  Based on the Delaware game last week, Villanova will most likely try to take away the run and the deep pass while conceding short to mid range passes.  If they can limit or eliminate the yardage the Crusader receivers get after the catch, it could mean a short day for the massholes in purple.
  • Don't Reinvent Yourself- I'm glad that Villanova's offensive coordinator Sam Venuto can make adjustments because if he wasn't able to make said adjustments Villanova would be screwed.  Villanova is classically a passing football team but Chris Whitney is better equipped to run the ball.  Andy Talley, Venuto and the rest of the coaches realized that Villanova had the best chance of winning if they ran the ball.  Now is not the time for that to change, they must continue to pound the rock.  The forecast is also calling for wind another reason to rejoice because HC will struggle more if theres a lot of wind.
  • Get a Consistent Pass Rush- When The 'Cats get a good pass rush, their defense is near impossible to get yardage on but it can be picked apart through the air if they don't.  Expect to see blitzes from all angles (per usual) and hope that the players from the good team will dwell in the Crusader backfield.  Junior linebacker Terence Thomas  and Senior defensive end Tim Kukucka have had great seasons rushing the passer as they have combined for 14 sacks between the two of them, with Kukucka also registering 14.5 Tackles for loss total.  During the regular season, Villanova had ten players register at least one sack.  If Randolph doesn't have time, Villanova wins simple as that.  

So that's it for the game preview, Let's go 'Nova!
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