This is a season of firsts for Villanova. It is the first time they get to defend a national championship, the first time they've made it to the playoffs three consecutive years, the first time they have won a road playoff game (two and counting,) and the first time they've made it to the semifinals in successive seasons. On Friday night, The 'Cats will play Eastern Washington for the right to defend their championship. The Eagles are already missing their All-American running back Taiwan Jones for the semifinal match up and will have to rely on a couple of inexperienced backups to shoulder the ground game. This is a very winnable game, but complacency is not acceptable.
Here are the keys to the game:
- Harass Their Receivers- Without Jones, the EWU passing game will have to shoulder the load. Since the VU pass rush has been suspect at best, the best hope is to make the opposing receivers dread making plays over the middle. Limiting yards after the catch will be paramount.
- Capitalize on Mistakes- EWU quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell threw 33 interceptions in less than two full seasons at Southern Methodist, so it would be safe to say that he's turnover prone. If Mitchell makes ill advised throws in this game, it is imperative that Villanova makes him pay.
- Play Villanova Football- Luckily for Villanova, their brand of football works in all conditions. In all likelihood it will be cold and windy with a possibility of snow, which works in our favor. Solid defense and a ball control offense are paramount when the conditions are less than ideal.
- Ignore the Red Turf- Because it's just obnoxious.