Friday, September 23, 2011

Let's Make it a Century! Villanova-Penn Preview

Let's flash back to 1911: William Howard Taft was president, Fenway Park and RMS Titanic were still under construction, there were 46 states in the union, Ray Haroun won the inaugural running of the Indianapolis 500, and the University of Pennsylvania beat Villanova College 22-0 in a football game.

In the 99 years and ten meetings since, Penn has not beaten Villanova one time. I know, I know.. They've only played ten times, but I just wanted to point out some of the things that were happening the last time that Villanova lost to Penn. This year likely represents Penn's best chance to win since the series resumed. Villanova is decimated by injuries and they haven't played very well in either of their first three games either, winning none of them. Due to the peculiar scheduling practices of the Ivy League, Penn has only played one game so far, a home loss where they were thoroughly outclassed by Lafayette, losing 37-12.

After coming in and performing admirably after true freshman Chris Polony stunk up the joint against Monmouth, senior Christian Culicerto should be the starter and get the vast vast majority of the snaps against Penn. Culicerto was a hard luck loser thanks to some awful mistakes by his receivers. He deserved to win that game. With its depleted wide receiver corps, and less than ideal quarterback situation, look for Villanova to try to run the ball frequently. Villanova's best running back thus far in 2011 has been redshirt freshman Austin Medley, who is questionable for this week with a back injury. In three games this season, Medley leads the team with three runs of 25 yards or more including a 36 yard touchdown run last week.

On defense, Villanova was better against Monmouth than they were the previous two weeks. Not great, but better. Cutting down on the long third down conversions in addition to forcing more turnoversf are things that absolutely must happen in order for this team to right the ship.

The game tomorrow will be a Villanova home game at 7PM at Franklin Field (I know it doesn't make sense). It will be on the radio on 950 AM in Philadelphia.

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