Monday, September 28, 2009

Keys to Villanova-William & Mary Game: Crunk Edition

Since Villanova went on a touchdown binge last week against Northeastern, I'm taking on a drinking theme for my keys to the upcoming nationally televised game against William & Mary.

Here we go:
  1. Avoid the Hangover- Beating a team by seven touchdowns as Villanova did last week can lend to coming out of the gate flat the next week. The 'Cats cannot afford to do this against a team as talented as they will face this week. This team must be convinced by Andy Talley and his fellow coaches must convince their team that they it does in fact stink when they take a dump and that championships are not won in September.
  2. Get Rowdy- With a game like this and a Villanova team as Good as this, the crowd should be better than normal. With a good crowd behind them or not though, The 'Cats must come out with intensity. Physical Play is a necessity. Especially important will be establishing a physical presence at the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball, fighting for every yard on offense and the defense laying the lumber. If Villanova isn't as physical as The Tribe, there is a very good chance that VU could walk away from this game disappointed.
  3. Take Some Shots- Villanova was able to get a handful of 30+ yard plays against Northeastern. If VU is able to get some big plays, it greatly enhances their chances at victory. One way this can happen is to establish a running game to force The Tribe defense to commit a safety to the run and use play action to throw it deep down field. If there's one area where Chris Whitney has struggled with this year, it has been throwing the deep ball (his only interception of the season came on an underthrown downfield pass.) Maybe this is a task for Antwon Young (who should play on the third series of the game) due to his plus arm strength. I like that the effort has been there to throw the deep ball, but it's time to start executing.
  4. Sip on Some Szczurp- Junior Wide Receiver Matt Szczur is arguably the most explosive playmaker Villanova has had since Brian Westbrook left the Main Line. Szczur does everything from returning kicks to playing Quarterback. Although he's very dynamic, the opportunities have not been there for Szczur so far this year in the passing game. With a guy as tough and as fast as Szczur, it's imperative to get the ball in his hand in space. Throw him a screen once in a while and see what he can do.
  5. Hold it Down- On of the strengths of this team so far has been it's ability to hold on to the football. Winning the turnover battle is a key to winning close games like i expect this one to be. William & Mary has done a good job so far in forcing turnovers and Villanova has done a good job so far holding onto the football, so something has got to give. Coaches hate turnovers more than i hate just about anything in football, so if Villanova holds onto the ball in this game, it will make Andy Talley a happy man and greatly increases their chances of winning.
The 'Cats have rolled off to a very good start to the season and this game, with serious conference and national implications is when the season begins in earnest. The team could really use a big group of loud, enthusiastic Villanova fans. The students really need to show up in droves and act as the 12th man, because if they do, The 'Cats won't let us down. For those who can't go, the game will be televised nationally on Versus live saturday at 3:30.

Villanova Rugby off to Great Start

The Villanova Rugby Football club opened up their EPRU (Eastern Pennsylvania Rugby Union, for all of those new to rugby) season last Saturday with a convincing win over Shippensburg University. The 'Cats forwards played a very strong game and were able to control the pace of the game against a big Shippensburg pack. Nova's backline also played a great game, running all over Ship just about everytime the ball got out wide. In addition, Scrum Half Bryan McCusty contributed with two tries in a 37-10 rout of Ship.

This week VRFC took on #18 in the nation, the St. Joes Hawks. In most recent meetings the Hawks have had a severe advantage and usually run away with the game and the 'Cats dignity. However, with one of the strongest teams in recent memory, VRFC came into this game prepared to make sure that the Hawk would die. The game opened up with both teams coming out strong, and the 'Cats playing strong defense, holding off repeated St. Joe's attacks. While 'Nova's defense stayed strong, the Hawks forwards were finally able to punch in a try about 20 minutes into the first half. The Hawks made the conversion, giving them a 7-0 lead. In the past this would have started a St. Joes' scoring barage, however this new Villanova team was able to regroup and come right back with a try of their own, compliments of Senior Center, Ryan Fentin-Thompson, finishing out the half down only 5-7. Both teams opened up the second half strong, with St Joe's scoring first once again and Villanova coming right back with a try of thier own from Senior Flanker Mike Salera to tie the game at 12-12. The rest of the half was a heated battle as both teams fought to gain any advantage they could. Unfortunately for Villanova, some chances were wasted deep within the St. Joe's 22-meter line and the 'Cats were not able to find the try-zone. The game remained tied until just under ten minutes left in the game when the Hawks were finally able to break through 'Nova's pack and put down another try, going up 17-12. The missed conversion would not come back to hurt the Hawks, as they punched in one more try near the end to make the final 22-12. While the 'Cats had a win in their sights, this was a hard fought game with an outcome that made a statement: Villanova Rugby is Back. The 'Cats now sit in second place in the EPRU's Liberty Conference and third overall in Division 2. Villanova's next game is this Saturday at East Stroudsburg. The 'Cats next home game is Saturday October 10th, come out and support them as the take on the Temple Owls.

Also make sure to become a fan of VRFC on facebook:


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Sunday, September 27, 2009

Disappointing Weekend for Women's Volleyball

This weekend marked Parent's weekend for most of Villanova's students, but for the Volleyball team it meant the home opening of Big East play. A weekend normally designed for freshmen to enjoy with their families would be distinguished differently for the freshman of the very young Villanova Volleyball team. Villanova entered Friday's match up with the Cincinnati Bearcats with a record of 11-2 and the recent winners of the Villanova Classic Tournament; success the team achieved by riding the efforts of their underclassmen, freshman outside hitter Krista Andersen and sophomore defensive specialist/libero Kim Maroon whom served as catalysts to the Wildcat's past success with impressive kills and digs, respectively. Fueled by those impressive efforts on both sides of the ball, the Wildcats appeared poised to fire on all cylinders against Cincinnati. Unfortunately previous success and momentum had no bearing against the Bearcats.

The women played uninspired and quickly lost their third match of the season in straight sets despite Coach Josh Steinbach's effort to rally his lethargic team by belaboring the referees as per usual. Although Krista Andersen led both teams with a match high 17 kills, the Wildcats never got things going and were not competitive in any set that evening. Although the team had played 14 previous matches, they looked like a team playing their first that season rather than just their first Big East match with lack of concentration and teamwork. Frequently the Bearcats caught Villanova out of position and other times the Wildcats were snake bitten by mental mistakes where teammates neglected to call each other off for free balls resulting in double hits or instances when no player called for a ball and they fell unattended to the court.

Villanova looked for some better luck earlier today as they took on Louisville Cardinals but there was little to be found at Jake Nevin Field House once again as the 'Cats would fall in Big East play. The play was markedly better this time around and the Wildcats came out with an energy they did not demonstrate in the Cincinnati match. They raced out to an early lead in the first set and finished the Cardinals off easily with a score of 25-15 thanks to Ace after Ace by senior Amy Gulyas who recorded five on the day. The optimistic forecast for the day turned grim as Louisville showed a resiliency that Villanova could not mirror as they took the next three sets. The Wildcats remained competitive in each match but could never claw back fully to overtake the Cardinals, losing 25-25, 25-22, and 25-16. Credit the 'Cats with almost turning the tide in that rubber third game coming from 5 behind at set point forcing a timeout and raising the possibility of pulling off an incredible comeback only to see their hopes dashed by a punishing blow by a Louisville kill.

What was clearly a disappointing opening to the Villanova Volleyball Big East schedule, the Wildcats will look to rebound in Chicago against Depaul next Friday. The Louisville game had an attendance of 211 fans but Nova Nation needs to dig deep and support this team when they come back on October 6th (a Tuesday night, what else do you have to do on a Tuesday night?) versus Delaware, or pregame your Friday night festivities with a water bottle of classy Bankers Club on October 9th when the 'Cats take on Seton Hall. I don't know if you enjoyed or read the post but we try to cover the most Villanova sports and Women's Volleyball is incredibly exciting believe it or not. Also, there is nothing better than watching the finest looking female sports team on this campus. Give it a try. It's good times.

'Cats Destroy Northeastern 56-7

In front of a near Capacity crowd at Villanova Stadium on Saturday, Villanova unleashed one of their more dominating performances in recent memory as they came away with a 56-7 victory. The 'Cats gashed Northeastern on the ground to the tune of 410 yards including over 100 yards for Junior tailback Aaron Ball even though he didn't play at all in the second half. Perhaps the most impressive thing to note about Ball's performance is that he's been playing with a hip pointer that should have an effect on his ability to be an explosive running back. Another impressive tidbit is that Villanova played its second consecutive game without starting Right Tackle Chidozie Ekweozor, but Jon Bugli did a good job starting in his place. Next week is when the season begins in earnest with a huge game against William & Mary which is televised nationally on Versus. So It should be a big game, and a good crowd is necessary.. so bring everyone you know and make noise next week.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

BlueMan is Back

So I'm sitting in class right now bored as hell just using stumbleupon and I stumbled upon some "High speed bullet photography" and I'm scrolling down and see this:


Seriously what kind of retard would do that to a Perfectly good PBR? Probably from St. Joes. Anyway I saw this, remembered Fact telling me to write on the blog some more, and here I am. So expect some more bullshit blogs coming out of me, BlueMan is back bitches.

Keys To Villanova-Northeastern

This week, the 3-0 'Cats will open up their CAA schedule against The Huskies of Northeastern at 3:30 pm at Villanova Stadium. I normally don't feel comfortable saying this, but Northeastern is terrible. In three games so far this season, The Huskies have lost by an average of 27 points. They played Villanova tough last year in what may have been The 'Cats' most disappointing winning effort of the season. I expect Andy Talley and his staff to try and prove to Northeastern and the rest of the league that they are a force in the CAA and that last year's close game at Northeastern was a fluke.

Now to The Keys to the Game:
  • Get The Ball Rolling- Aaron Ball, the Junior Running Back from California rushed for over 1,000 yards last year and this season he's averaging less than 35 yards per game. In order for the offense to find and settle into a rhythm, they must establish a running game. Aaron Ball has great ability and is a threat to bust out a long run at almost any time. This game is the perfect opportunity for Aaron to break out as Northeastern is giving up over 200 yards per game on the ground this season. Effectively setting up the run will set up the play action pass for Chris Whitney and keep Northeastern's defense unit guessing.
  • Protect The Quarterback- The thing that concerns me the most about this team is its seeming inability to keep the Quarterback on his feet consistently. Through three games, Villanova signal callers have been sacked 11 times. Chris Whitney was in a great rhythm at the end of the Temple game when he was firing off darts right after he received the snap. Whether its an issue of the offensive line not playing to it's ability or the Quarterback holding the ball too long, this is an issue that needs to be fixed.
  • Rush the Passer- The best pass defense is a good pass rush as proved by Richmond's "Stonewall" Defense last season with Defensive Ends Sherman Logan and current Atlanta Falcons rookie Lawrence Sidbury. When Villanova's Defense is getting pressure on the quarterback, they are remarkably better than when they don't (Just ask Joe Flacco.) In three games so far this season, Northeastern has given up five sacks total, a middle of the road number. Expect short work of Northeastern if they harass the Quarterback as they did last week against Penn (six sacks.)
  • Don't look Ahead to Next Week- Next week against William & Mary is in my opinion the most important home game on the schedule as it has serious conference and national implications. Adding to the excitement for the William & Mary game is the fact that it will be shown nationally on Versus. Villanova should be able to beat Northeastern without playing 100%, but it would be nice to them to get themselves into some sort of rhythm this week as a tuneup for next week's huge game.
  • Get the Crowd into the Game- As it is Parent's Weekend, the stadium is expected to be at capacity this week. So an inspired effort by The 'Cats early on in the game could turn Villanova Stadium into a loud place. If the crowd is into it, Northeastern will get shellshocked as they're used to hearing crickets chirping in the background at their home games.
Let's Go 'Cats! Beat Northeastern

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Random Thoughts on a Wednesday

After beating Penn 14-3 this past Saturday Villanova retained it's number two ranking in the Football Championship Subdivision. This Saturday at 3:30 The 'Cats will take on CAA Whipping Boy Northeastern. In Addition to being terrible last season, The Huskies also lost 10 starters and are also breaking in new offensive and defensive coordinators (shitty.) If Villanova struggles in any facet of this game, it could be a red flag. But expect a dominant performance on the offensive and defensive sides of the ball anything less will be unsatisfactory.

Another piece of Good News: Villanova's game against William and Mary October 3rd at Villanova Stadium will Be Nationally Televised on Versus. Good thing that Comcast Execs realize the importance of this game.

Monday, September 21, 2009

It Wasn't Pretty, but A Win is a Win

I hate using cliches but defense wins championships. On Saturday night in University City, Terence Thomas and the Villanova defense looked like a championship caliber unit. It looked like it was going to be a long game when Matt Szczur (who was named CAA special teams player of the week) took the opening kickoff 87 yards to the house. The offense was anemic at best for the majority of the game, with Chris Whitney getting benched during the 3rd quarter. Antwon Young came in and led The 'Cats on a 78 yard touchdown drive that was highlighted by a 24 yard run by Young. As I said earlier, the defensive unit was simply dominant. Terence Thomas led the team with ten tackles and tied Tim Kukucka for the team lead with two sacks. Kukucka also added a blocked field goal in the fourth quarter which kept it a two possession game. Junior Defensive End Mario Johnson added one and a half sacks for the 'cats. It was a sloppy effort overall on offense, but Andy Talley's boys can never seem to put Penn away. Next Saturday is the CAA opener against perennial doormat Northeastern hopefully we can finally see the offense and defense play well in the same game for the first time.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Keys To Villanova-Penn Game

After a big victory over Lehigh which moved Villanova into second in the rankings, they will head to Franklin Field this Saturday night to take on city rival Penn. Penn has been an annoyance to Coach Talley and the Wildcats in recent years because although VU has had the superior teams, Penn seems to always keep it close. Coach T refers to this as "Penn's Bowl Game" because they have nothing to play for except the Ivy League title (Ivy League teams aren't playoff eligible.)

Anyways, here are the keys to the game.

  1. Make Penn's Quarterback Scared- Last year at Franklin Field, one of the reasons that Penn was able to keep it close is that they all but neutralized Villanova's pass rush. This season unfortunately the pass rush has been fairly stagnant in the first two games (only one sack combined.) In order to put Penn away, Tim Kukucka and friends need to make Penn QB Kiefer Garton their bitch. Garton is a good runner, so if he's scared whenever he drops back to pass, it will render Penn one dimensional and that way The 'Cats can focus on playing the run.
  2. Protect the Damn Football!- Last year against Penn, Antwon Young was an interception machine, throwing four picks against The Quakers including three in the endzone. It was that game that led to Antwon's benching and the installment of Chris Whitney (BTW Chris Whitney>Matt Simms) as Villanova's starter at Quarterback, a job that he will have until he graduates. Villanova has done a fantastic job this season protecting the football (only one turnover in two games) and if that trend continues against Penn, it could be a long day for The Quakers.
  3. Pound the Rock- While Andy Talley run football teams used to be known for slinging the ball all over the field, The past two and a half seasons of Villanova Football have been defined by a bruising running game. Last week The 'Cats ran for 310 yards and if they can come anywhere close to that in this game, Penn may have to rethink why they scheduled a game so close to Rosh Hashanah.
  4. Quiet the Crowd Early- Since this game is at the other team's home field, the crowd can become a factor in the game. If I'm Andy Talley, I would come out firing to try and make sure this game isn't close at halftime. The longer Penn is in the game, the more the crowd will be into it and that's not something Villanova wants. Fans wearing red and blue leaving at halftime is ideal.
  5. Step on Their Throats- Once the 'Cats get the lead, its imperative that they don't relinquish it. A close outcome is not ideal by any means, all of these close games are starting to piss me off. I wanna be able to walk out of Franklin Field without having to reconcile the fact that Villanova had a scare against an inferior opponent. So please, come out swinging and kick some ass.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Kim Clijsters/Villanova Weekend Sports Update/Anti-Kanye Call To Arms

I'm too lazy to do a full recap of the football game because I was tipsy and I left at halftime, so that would require watching the full game. All you need to know is that Villanova dominated Lehigh 38-17. So suck it Lehigh.

Anyways, the real reason why i decided to actually decided to do this. Kim Clijsters, wife of all time Wildcat good guy Brian Lynch (who looks like he got lost in the woods for a few weeks) came out of retirement and won the US open 18 months after giving birth to an adorable little nugget (for the record, I normally hate kids, but this could be a future Villanovan!) Of course Serena Williams had to be a bitch and sully the moment for everyone. It's good to see the nice people win every once in a while especially when they bitchslap the Williams sisters in the process.

Also, I'd like to call on everyone to illegally download as much Kanye West music as possible, burn it onto CDs and start passing them out on the streets of the nearest major city. Nobody fucks with Taylor Swift and gets away with it. By the way, Beyonce's music video was bland at best. All she did was take the premise of one of her Destiny's Child songs (Independent Women) and rip off a J-Lo video. The mere mention of that video being one of the greatest ever probably made Axl Rose shit his pants.

Music Video Greatness

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Keys to Villanova-Lehigh Game

If expectations for The 'Cats were not high enough when the season started, the victory over Temple sent them into the stratosphere. Now ranked third in the nation in both the coaches and media polls along with being ranked second in the fan run AGS poll. The 1-0 Wildcats will take on The Mountain Hawks of Lehigh this Saturday night at Villanova Stadium.

Here are my keys to Saturday night's game:

  1. Show Up- Lehigh got beat by Central Connecticut State last Saturday 28-21. CCSU controlled the clock for something like 48 minutes. I know that Villanova is probably riding high after the thrilling win over Temple (which they should be,) but they still have to be there and be ready to play against Lehigh. As long as the 'Cats bring their B-Game, they should beat Lehigh and if they bring their A-Game, you might see a bunch of people dressed in brown heading to their cars early. It is worth noting that Villanova destroyed the Auto Bid from the Patriot League in the playoffs last year.
  2. Establish the Run- One thing Villanova didn't do well in the Temple game was run the football. Over the past two seasons, running the ball has been the bread and butter of our offense and if we can't run the ball against teams like Richmond, we will have a hard time beating them. Lehigh was surpisingly one of the few teams last year who was able to stop Aaron Ball and company on the ground last year. Villanova can still win without getting 200 yards on the ground, but it would be a good rehearsal for later in the season when the games will be close and they will have to pound the rock to use up clock toward the end of games.
  3. Avoid Big Passing Plays- One thing I gathered from last week against Temple is that our defense struggles against long passing plays. I was terrified that Temple would get the ball back with the chance to launch a hail mary to tie or win the game. Thank Yahweh that didn't happen, but it would be nice to see the deep downfield coverage improve over the game against Temple.
  4. Get Pressure on the QB- The best way to kill an offense is to give the opposing Quarterback happy feet. Lehigh's QB turned the ball over several times against Villanova last year and did a poor job of protecting the ball last week as well. They got pressure on Temple QB Vaughn Charlton at times last week, but he wasn't hit enough and wasn't sacked a single time. I would like to see the defense play "meet me at the Quarterback" this week.
  5. Don't Let Up- I would like to see the 'Cats make a statement with this game. It's pretty obvious to me that Villanova will go into the game with a talent advantage and I'd like to see that translate onto the field. A close game is not acceptable in my opinion. Limiting mistakes, forcing mistakes and dominating both the defensive and offensive lines of scrimmage are what I would like to see. I'd love to see a two touchdown or more halftime lead so the starters don't have to play extensively in the fourth quarter.

Additional Thoughts
  • I would like to see the offense try the Pistol Formation. It would capitalize on both of the offense's strengths; power running and Chris Whitney's mobility from the shotgun.
  • I also think that It would be beneficial to the defense if they came out in a four man front once in a while. After the Temple game I have no doubt that the three best defensive linemen the 'Cats have are Tim Kukucka, Phil Matusz and Thomas Weaver. It would be nice to be able to get all three of those guys on the field at the same time. Maybe subtract a defensive back and play a 4-3 defense on early downs once in a while then revert back to the 3-3-5 in passing situations. Just a thought.
  • I just looked at stats the other day and Chris Whitney is the active FCS career leader in completion percentage, good for him.
So everyone don't forget to go to the game at 7 PM this Saturday at Villanova Stadium. You should be able to get tickets on the cheap (around ten bucks) and Students get in Free when they show their Wildcard!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Late Temple Recap: 'Cats Win 27-24

Editors Note: Sorry that it's taken so long, but i was busy for most of the long weekend.

When the rumors began to circulate that Villanova was going to start a series against Temple at Lincoln Financial Field I was excited, not only because Temple and Villanova have a fierce rivalry on the basketball court, but also because Temple has been a perennial doormat in FBS football. One thing became clear after last year though; these Owls the 'Cats would be facing would not be my Dad's Owls. Coach Al Golden has done a decent job with Temple, but it was still not enough as Villanova won the game 27-24 to capture the inaugural Mayor's Cup.

Here are my thoughts on the Game

  • Chris Whitney was spectacular. He had the best game of his career with a career high 278 passing yards (including 208 of those yards in the second half) and two touchdown passes with no interceptions. He also added 33 yards on the ground. He was constantly under pressure, but got the ball off quickly and was able to hit his receivers with great success.
  • Wide Receiver Brandyn Harvey also had a career game with nine receptions for 142 yards and a TD. He had a costly fumble in the first half but more than made up for it and as a result of his performance on thursday he was named CAA Offensive Player of The Week.
  • Senior Safety Ross Ventrone was a beast on defense. He led the team with eight total tackles and added an interception and a fumble recovery that he returned 59 yards for the first Touchdown of his Career.
  • Nick Yako, the Redshirt Freshman Kicker was a perfect 2-2 on FGs (including the game winner) and 3-3 on extra points. It's safe to say that he has icewater in his veins. For his efforts, he was named CAA Special Teams Player of The Week. Not bad for someone playing in his first collegiate game.
  • Andy Talley and his staff thoroughly outcoached their counterparts on the Temple sidelines as Villanova was outplayed for most of the game, yet still won.

Come out to support the 'Cats this Saturday as they take on Lehigh. Your Support is appreciated help fill the Stadium every week!.

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