Sunday, September 30, 2012

Video: Villanova-Maine Highlights

Richmond next week.

Kevin Monangai's Historic Performance

In yesterday's game at Maine, sophomore tailback Kevin Monangai had one the greatest single game rushing performances in Villanova history. His 192 rushing yards represented the eighth highest single game total in school history. Of course that list is dominated by Brian Westbrook, but Monangai's performance is better than anything Westbrook did before he was a senior. Don't get my message wrong here, because Villanova never really ran the ball much back in those days.

Rank Name No-Yds Game Date
1. Brian Westbrook . 26-287 Hofstra . 11/10/01
2. Pat Kennedy . 21-249 William & Mary 10/26/91
3. Brian Westbrook . 27-233 William & Mary 11/24/01
4. Brian Westbrook . 33-228 James Madison . 10/6/01
5. Brian Westbrook . 24-202 Maine . 9/23/00
6. Pete D’Alonzo 23-201 Duquesne 9/23/50
7. Pat Kennedy 23-193 Boston University 11/17/91
8. Kevin Monangai 30-192 Maine 9/29/12
9. Gene Filipski . 21-191 Detroit 10/4/52
10. Brian Westbrook . 23-188 Northeastern 10/14/00

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Villanova Beats Maine 35-14

For the first time all season, Villanova gave up a lot of passing yards, but that was only because they dominated all game. After the first quarter, it was clear that Villanova was not going to let Maine beat them as they ran for over 300 yards for the first time since week two of 2010. Sophomore running back Kevin Monangai was the star, carrying the ball a career high 30 times for 192 yards and two touchdowns. That total was the most rushing yards for a Villanova ball carrier since the final game of Brian Westbrook's legendary career.

The win vaulted Villanova to 4-1 on the season, winning four straight games for the first time since 2009, and 2-0 in the CAA, keeping them tied for a share of the conference lead.

More to come.

Villanova Leads 21-7 At The Half

  • John Robertson went 9/13 for 114 yards, two touchdowns and the first interception of his career, and six rushes for 17 yards on the ground.
  • Kevin Monangai had 14 carries for 72 yards and a touchdown.
  • Joe Price had three catches for 43 yards and a touchdown.
  • Norman White had four catches for 51 yards and a touchdown.
  • Reggie Paris, Marlon Johnson, Devon Bridges, and Rakim Cox had sacks, and Shane Harris had an interception.
Maine will get the ball after the half. 

Austin Medley Will Play Against Maine

Good news.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Villanova Is A Problematic Matchup For Maine

For a team like Maine, who are coming off of a tough home loss to Albany last week, a red-hot team like Villanova is not who they want to be playing. Especially because Maine is most vulnerable in an area where Villanova can exploit them the most: rushing defense. Through three games, Maine is giving up almost 172 rushing yards per game, and if Villanova surpasses that number, expect them to win.

There's a problem: Villanova is pretty bad in Orono. Andy Talley has two wins there all time. That's not very good. Still though, trust in John Robertson and it shall be good.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Freshman Ace Jordy Williamsz Cleared To Compete For Villanova

It was a bit murky because there were some NCAA clearinghouse issues (Like anyone's really getting paid to run track at Villanova) but now the Aussie 3:36 man will be allowed to begin his Villanova career.

12 Years Ago Tonight: Mike Neill Wins Gold In Baseball

Yes, baseball was an Olympic sport, and no, the US did not dominate it. Cuba did, because Major League Baseball didn't release their players to play in the games, which probably led to the failure of the sport. The US did beat Cuba once, in the 2000 Sydney Olympics, a team that included the heroics of Villanova alum Mike Neill, who hit two home runs in the tournament, including one in the clinching game and made a fantastic diving catch to make the 27th and final out of the same game (below). Neill's gold medal was the most recent won by a Villanova alumni.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Future Hall of Famer Maalik Wayns Speaks at Roman Catholic

I know that there's an unquenchable thirst for all things featuring Villanova legend Maalik Wayns, so I give the readership what they want.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

12 Years Ago Tonight: Sonia O'Sullivan Gets Silver

12 years ago tonight, Villanova alum Sonia O'Sullivan of Ireland was just barely edged by Gabriella Szabo of Romania in the Olympic 5000m final at Sydney. Sonia's medal is the most recent won by a Villanova athlete in an individual event, and the most recent in track and field.

Better quality here

Video: Villanova's Last Visit To Maine

The single best statistical game of Chris Whitney's illustrious career.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Villanova's Pass Defense: Anomalous or Improved?

 Craig James: A Big Part of The Turnaround

The singular common thread among Villanova's awesome teams late in the last decade was their awesome ability to stop the run, coupled with an impotent pass defense. So impotent that it likely cost them a return trip to the National Championship in 2010 in their game against Bo Levi Mitchell and Eastern Washington on that awful red turf. In Villanova's 2009 National Championship season, Villanova gave had one of the worst passing yardage defenses in the country, and only middling pass efficiency defense numbers. Through four games this season, Villanova is near the top of the country in both passing yardage defense and pass efficiency defense. Last year, the defense was just awful in all aspects, and that's why this turnaround is so amazing.

In an ever-growing sample size, it's clear that Villanova is defending the pass quite well this season, and while they're not stopping the run particularly well, you have to wonder whether they have to, considering the fact that they're running the ball so well and haven't turned the ball over since the first game of the season. It's a different recipe for success defensively, but I would argue that it's a better one given the types of offenses that have been prevalent in FCS football throughout the years, and will be especially helpful against teams like Old Dominion, whose quarterback, Taylor Heinecke threw for a staggering 730 yards last week against New Hampshire.

Whatever defensive coordinator Billy Crocker is doing, it's working and he should keep doing it.

John Robertson Wins CAA Rookie of the Week Again

For the third consecutive week, Villanova's sensational freshman quarterback John "Pinball" Robertson has won CAA Rookie of the Week. After four games in the season, Robertson is second on the team in rushing, and leads the team in passing, total offense, total touchdowns, and is tied with Kevin Monangai for the team lead with four rushing touchdowns.

In just four weeks, Robertson has passed the total offensive output that Villanova legend Chris Whitney put up in six weeks as a freshman.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Villanova Beats Penn 24-8, Surpasses 2011 Win Total


1911. 1911. That was the last time Penn beat Villanova in football. That wouldn't change today, as Villanova thoroughly dominated the Quakers, scoring the first 24 points of the game before Penn scored a garbage time touchdown in the waining moments of the fourth quarter. Despite the absence of Austin Medley, Villanova ran for over 200 yards for the fourth consecutive game, with Kevin Monangai leading the way with 17 carries for 105 yards and a touchdown.

The real story though was freshman sensation John Robertson setting a new career high in passing yards, going 13-20 for 213 yards and a touchdown, while adding 55 rushing yards and a touchdown on the ground. The biggest deal about Robertson is that he hasn't turned the ball over once this season. That's huge.

More on this later.

Villanova Leads Penn 10-0 At Half

After a monstrous first half by wide receiver Joe Price, where he collected five catches for a career high 113 yards, Villanova leads Penn 10-0. Quarterback John Robertson completed 9/12 passes for 152 yards  and a touchdown pass to Norman White.

Villanova kicks off to Penn in the second half.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Friday Night Enjoyment: Simon & Garfunkel In Central Park

31 years ago this Wednesday.

Leading Rusher To Miss Penn Game, White Will Play

After suffering a hamstring injury in the Rhode Island game, Villanova sophomore tailback Austin Medley will miss the Penn game (tomorrow, 3:30 PM on Comcast Network). After three games, Medley leads the team in rushing yards. Expect true freshmen Gary Underwood and Javon White to absorb some of Medley's carries until he's healed.

On the good news front, All-Everything wide receiver Norman White will play tomorrow after suffering a shoulder injury in last week's game.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Three Games at Wells Fargo Center This Season

In a move that has a very good reasons, the Villanova basketball team will be playing only three games at the Wells Fargo Center this season. Of course, the only reason they are doing this is so that they are eligible to play NCAA tournament games in the arena if they are fortunate enough to make the tournament. They have taken advantage of that twice in the Jay Wright era, most recently in 2009, when they beat American and UCLA at home in the first and second rounds on their way to making the Final Four for the first time since 1985. Another good thing about this being a year where the Center will be hosting the NCAA Tournament is that they won't play a stupid exhibition game in Philadelphia in front of 5,000 people and nearly 15,000 empty seats.

Here's Villanova's schedule of games at WFC:

1/22 Louisville
1/26 Syracuse
3/6 Georgetown

One small note: I would rather play Pitt at WFC and Georgetown at home, but I don't have a say in the matter. Also, let's not count our NCAA chickens before they hatch.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Haven't We Heard This Before?

Color me skeptical, for now.

Build For A Better Tomorrow: Redshirt Dan Shirey

At the beginning of the season, I thought the Villanova offensive line was going to be a problem. It was occasionally awful, and never good last season, and its best player, senior center Dan Shirey was going to miss at least the early part of the season with an Achilles tendon injury. There was some talk about bringing him back in the middle of the season, but that would be foolish. Unless the coaches believe this team can make a deep run at the playoffs, doing anything but allowing Shirey's injury to heel and redshirting him would be foolish. For the sake of program stability, that is the right thing to do.

First: What does Shirey have to gain by coming back and playing at less than 100%? The answer to that is little, if anything. Even if he has ambitions of playing in the pros, his best laid plan would be to fully rehabilitate and then show off his ability to NFL scouts next season.

Of course, there are no guarantees that he'll be healthy next season, but the quicker that he tries to come back, the more chance there is for him to re-injure himself. Discretion is key here, folks, and nothing big is going to come out of this season, so it's better to position Villanova to have a dominant offensive line in 2013, than it is to make a decent offensive line slightly better in 2012 by playing someone who had a fairly recent, and very serious injury. 

Monday, September 17, 2012

Expanded Villanova-URI Highlights


Historical Occurences Since Penn Last Beat Villanova

 This Guy Was President

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.

Here are some things that happened after that game, but in the same decade (in no particular order):
  1.  The sinking of Titanic
  2. Woodrow Wilson is elected as the 28th President of the United States
  3. New Mexico and Arizona become the 47th and 48th states.
  4. The assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo, starting World War I
  5. D.W. Griffith's The Birth of a Nation is released.
  6. Camel Cigarettes were introduced.
  7. The Treaty of Versailles.
  8. The births of Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, and John F. Kennedy.
  9. Babe Ruth is sold to the Yankees.
  10. The Russian Revolution.
  11. The 1912 Olympics are held in Stockholm.
  12. Members of the Chicago White Sox conspire to throw the World Series.
Yeah, Penn hasn't beaten Villanova in a long time. 

    If You Needed More Evidence That Greg Schiano Is A Dick

    Remember: ruck futgers.

    We already knew other incriminating things about him, (after the jump,) but this takes the cake.

    John "Pinball" Robertson Named CAA Rookie of The Week

    That's two weeks in a row, and unless his play takes a pretty steep dropoff, he's looking good for rookie of the year.

    His nickname will from this point forward is "Pinball". Deal with it.

    John Robertson stats:

    31 completions
    61 attempts
    384 passing yards
    1 passing touchdown
    41 rushing attempts
    188 net rushing yards (taking sacks into account)
    3 rushing touchdowns.

    Saturday, September 15, 2012

    Villanova Beats Rhode Island 31-10

    In front of a near sellout crowd at Villanova Stadium, Villanova again shut out their opponent in the second half on the way to beating Rhode Island 31-10. John "Pinball" Robertson led the way for Villanova with 171 passing yards on 14-27 passing to go along with 63 rushing yards on 11 attempts with a touchdown. Norman White had his best game of the young season with 88 yards on seven receptions.

    What was good: The second half
    What was bad: The entire first half after the first drive.
    The turning point: John Robertson's one yard quarterback keeper on the first drive of the second half to put Villanova up 14-10

    Davis Center Tour Featuring James Bell

    Friday, September 14, 2012

    Villanova Blooper Reel

    That's cute. Tomorrow: Rhode Island, 3:30 at Villanova Stadium. Be there.

    Tuesday, September 11, 2012

    I Feel Alright

    9/11 was a horrible chapter in our country's history, but it unlocked one of the times that I was proudest to be an American. In this time of political bullshit, it would be nice for us to have that same sense of kinship again, like when it was cool to be an American rather than a Republican or Democrat, black or white, Jewish or Gentile.

    Thank God 9/11 wasn't in an election year, because then it would have sucked even more.

    NFL Scouts At Villanova Practice Today

    Norman White, Antoine Lewis, Rakim Cox and others probably getting looks. Or they were just doing the rounds, because that's what scouts do.

    New Greatest .GIF In History


    Monday, September 10, 2012

    Could This Be The Greatest Running Game In Villanova History?

    The common in Villanova's playoff runs from 2008-2010 was simple: All three teams had a prodigious ability to run the football. If they keep up their 248 yard per game rushing average from the first two games,(which includes an offensive 3.5 sacks given up per game,) this year's Villanova team will have more rushing yards in the regular season than they did in the 2009 National Championship season. Now it would be laughable to take one statistical category and proclaim this team is better than that (amazing) team at anything, and total rushing yards are (generally) a pretty crappy indicator of how good a team is at running the ball, but the stat is there and I'm running with it!

    First: Let me qualify this by saying that I think the real key to the effectiveness of the 2009 Villanova offense was Chris Whitney's ability to throw efficiently.

    The fact that other teams couldn't load the box so easily because Whitney was throwing over them to his phalanx of very good wide receivers. At the same time, the 2009 team was generally trying to protect some type of lead, so they used the ground game as a means of clock management. What that team did not have, is two running backs and a quarterback who were capable of long touchdowns. Whitney was good for six or seven every carry, so was Aaron Ball, and Angelo Babbaro but aside from Matt Szczur, there really wasn't a home run hitter running the ball. In 2012, there are at least three players who can consistently break runs of more than 30 yards: John Robertson, Austin Medley, and Kevin Monangai. I don't know if any of the three main options this season are as good at grinding out the intermediate yardage as the guys in 2009, but the players in 2012 are more explosive, and game-breaking ability in the running game is something that many teams sorely lack.

    There is one advantage that the 2012 team does not have that the others did: The greatest run-blocking offensive line in school history. Judging by what has happened in the first two weeks, I don't know how much that matters, and it makes their achievements so far even more impressive.

    Sunday, September 9, 2012

    John Robertson To Remain The Starting Quarterback

    After winning his first career start, John Robertson will remain Villanova's starting quarterback, according to Andy Talley.

    With his win against Fordham, Robertson equaled the win total of the other two players on the Villanova roster (Dustin Thomas and Chris Polony) who have started games at quarterback. He's also the first quarterback to win a home game since Chris Whitney.

    Saturday, September 8, 2012

    Villanova Beats Fordham For First Home Win Since 2010

    For the first time since October 30, 2010, Villanova has won a game at Villanova Stadium, beating Fordham 28-13.

    After a lackluster first half that saw Villanova trailing 13-7 going into the intermission, John Robertson and company turned it on in the second half, scoring 21 unanswered points and winning by a score of 28-13.

    What was good: The second half, John Robertson and Austin Medley.
    What was bad: The first half and the rain.
    The turning point: A stupid unsportsmanlike penalty by a Fordham player which led to Villanova taking the lead.

    Andy Talley on The Quarterback situation

    "Both will play, but I would like to settle on one quarterback"- Source

    UPDATE: The game has been pushed back two hours due to severe weather. It will now start at 8 PM.

    Here's the forecast:

    Friday, September 7, 2012

    Villanova-Fordham Preview

    Tomorrow afternoon, Villanova will play their first home game of the season against the Fordham Rams, a team that they last played in the second round of the 2002 playoffs, when Villanova beat Fordham 24-10. Of course, both teams are coming off of historically terrible seasons, and are aching for some meaningful wins.

    Fordham key numbers (national rank):
    265 passing yards per game (22)
    265 rushing yards per game (16)
    530 total yards (9)
    55 points per game (5)
    126 yards per game on defense (3)
    0 points given up (1)

    Of course, those numbers are essentially meaningless because they played against an awful division 2 team last week. So what should you look for? I really have no idea. Both teams play a fast paced spread offense, so it could be pretty high scoring and exciting.

    Villanova Football Week Two Depth Chart

    I'm venturing to guess that John Robertson will start, but the coaches aren't tipping their hands. If he does start, he'll be Villanova's third different freshman starter at quarterback since week one of last season.

    Thursday, September 6, 2012

    Good News: Villanova Is Actually Promoting Football!

    The problem is that this is probably a targeted ad-buy and I'm going to be going anyway.

    Video: Fordham Week One Highlights

    Preview coming at you tomorrow.

    Alex Zanardi: My Hero

    I don't know if you remember it happening. I only vaguely do, because I was not a racing fan at the time.

    In 2001, Alessandro "Alex" Zanardi was one of the best drivers in the world. A smooth talking Italian who gained a fan base because he was affable, funny, self deprecating, media savvy, the ballsy way in which he raced, his then-unique post race celebration, and most of all, the fact that he was great with the fans.

    Alex Zanardi lost his legs in a horrific racing accident in Germany just days after 9/11, and he probably should have died. He didn't die, and he didn't stop racing. The Pineapple (as his fans affectionately refer to him) switched from IndyCars to touring cars, where he won several races, before retiring from auto racing entirely and devoting himself to hand-cycling. Last November, he won the New York Marathon's hand-cycling division, and yesterday he capped that off by winning the hand cycling time trial at the 2012 Paralympics. Every time I think that some part of my body hurts, or that my life sucks, I remind myself that a man who lost his legs and his career in a split-second is in Italy training on a hand-cycle, and is smiling because he survived that horrible accident almost 11 years ago.

    Thank you, Pineapple for inspiring me every day.

    Wednesday, September 5, 2012

    Villanova's 2012-2013 Schedule is Complete*

    Good stuff

    11/9: Villanova vs. UDC

    11/11: Villanova vs. Marshall

    11/15: Villanova vs. Purdue at Madison Square Garden

    11/16: Villanova vs. Alabama/Ore St. at Madison Square Garden

    11/20: Villanova vs. Columbia

    11/25: Villanova at LaSalle

    12/1: Villanova at Vanderbilt 5 p.m. ESPN2 SEC-BIG EAST Challenge

    12/5: Temple at Villanova 9 p.m. ESPN2 

    12/8: Villanova at Penn

    12/11: Saint Joseph's at Villanova 7 p.m. ESPNU 

    12/16: Delaware at Villanova 4 p.m. ESPNU

    12/22: Villanova @ Monmouth 7 p.m.

    12/28 NJIT @ Villanova

     Big East schedule After Jump

    Tuesday, September 4, 2012

    Matt Szczur Ends An Up And Down Season

    The season is over for the Tennessee Smokies, the Chicago Cubs' AA affiliate. which means that former Villanova superstar Matt Szczur has completed his second full season of minor league baseball. The results? Decidedly mixed, which means that he will definitely repeat AA to begin next season. Szczur's final season line in AA was .210/.285/.357 in 158 plate appearances, which added to his line in Daytona (.295/.394/.407 in 352 PA) brings his season total line to .267/.360/.390, which looks pretty good, but his age, relative low ceiling, and increasing strikeout rate (in the double digits for the first time) call his future success into question, as strikeout rates tend to increase as the level gets higher.

    Bottom line: there needs to be more power, a prodigious walk rate, or superb defense or else you're looking at a fifth outfielder.

    Monday, September 3, 2012

    The Villanova Quarterback Situation Should Not Be A "Controversy"

    Since the first time I saw Villanova's second year quarterbacks in practice I made up my mind: John Robertson is more suited to be a college quarterback than Chris Polony.  Robertson has greater mobility, gets rid of the ball quicker and is the perfect quarterback to run the spread offense. He may not have the size, or the big arm of his counterpart, but he has everything that Polony lacks: mobility, accuracy, speed, playmaking ability. I do not feel this is a situation where Villanova can win with either player. I think Robertson is a natural playmaker, and Polony is someone who will have one brilliant game and then three or four games that are absolutely woeful. It's okay to have a quarterback controversy when you can win with either player, like the one in 2008 between Antwon Young and Chris Whitney, but that is not the case this year. There is a gulf in productivity between these two players that simply cannot be ignored.

    There should be no "controversy" here. The only defensible move the Villanova coaches can make is to name John Robertson the starting quarterback.

    Villanova Is One of Those Teams

    Also, Bama was god awful in 1950.

    Sunday, September 2, 2012

    Congratulations On A Great Career Mrs. Lynch

    As you may have seen, Belgian four time grand slam winner Kim Clijsters, whose husband is former Villanova guard Brian Lynch is retiring from tennis. Clijsters and her mixed doubles partner Bob Bryan lost today, ending her competitive tennis career.

    Here at Fact on Villanova Sports, we would like to wish the Lynch family the best as they move to the next chapter of their lives.

    Saturday, September 1, 2012

    LSU Frat Bros Are Jerks


    Turnovers, Miscues Cost Villanova in Loss

    Well, I guess Temple is no longer an also-ran, because they proved last night that the 2011 matchup against Villanova was not a fluke by winning the final installment of the Mayor's Cup 41-10 despite being outgained by the 'Cats. Despite the scoreline being reasonably similar as the game last year, Villanova played far better than they did last year, as two of Temple's touchdowns came off of turnovers at a time when Villanova was moving the ball quite well, and a third came on an end of half running play, about as fluky as things can get. So despite the perceived ass-whipping, Villanova didn't look like they'll be a two win team this season. How good will they be? :shrugs shoulders:

    One the good/bad front for Villanova (depending on how you look at it,) John Robertson came in for a struggling Chris Polony and impressed, basically affirming my observations of him from last summer when I said that he impressed me more than Polony. Why is this bad, you say? Well it's not a good thing because if he starts the next game, Robertson would be the fourth quarterback to start a game in a calendar year after having Chris Whitney start just about every game for two and a half seasons. I'm not a believer in the whole "if you have two quarterbacks, you have no quarterbacks" nonsense, but I do think it's nice when one superior player can get all the rep, and I don't know if Polony is superior to Robertson and vice/versa.

    Some additional thoughts:
    • The tackling was pretty atrocious. If there weren't 30 missed tackles by Villanova in that game, I'd be shocked.
    • Other teams are going to game plan for Norman White, so forcing the ball to him isn't going to work. Chris Polony threw one of the ugliest interceptions I've ever seen by doing exactly that.
    • Austin Medley is the most explosive running back Villanova has had in a long time. He's a threat to take it to the house whenever he gets past the first level of the defense. He's clearly the best tailback on this team, and should probably be treated as such.
    • At least Temple didn't pass the ball well. Then again, they didn't really need to.
    • Turnovers are bad, mmkay.
    • Temple has some really classy fans.
    That's it for this game. Hopefully nobody really got hurt.