Monday, March 21, 2011

Villanova Wildcats 2010 Review

2010 Record: 9-5 (5-3), tied 3rd Colonial
2010 Postseason: Semifinals, Defeated Stephen F. Austin 54-24, Defeated Appalachian State 42-24, Lost to Eastern Washington, 41-31
2010 Schedule/Results: @ Temple, L 31-24, @ Lehigh, W 35-0, Towson, W 43-7, Penn, W 22-10, @ William & Mary, L 31-24, @ Maine, W 48-18, James Madison, W 14-7, Richmond, W 28-7, @ Rhode Island, L 17-14, New Hampshire, L 31-24, @ Delaware, W 28-21, @ Stephen F. Austin, W 54-24, @ Appalachian State, W 42-24, @ Eastern Washington, L 41-31


     Andy Talley did a very nice job holding th Wildcats together long enough to make a very nice run into the FCS playoffs in 2010. Villanova had some bumps and bruises sandwhiched in between some nice liitle 3 game runs during the season, and it was enough to keep them alive to get the CAA a 4th bid to the playoffs, a feat that the CAA pulls off regularly these days. The Cats were sitting aat 6-4 in Novemeber, and when the going got tough, the Wildcats kicked into gear to push their way forward into the fray, having beaten heavyweight Delaware on the road to secure that playoff bid with only 7 wins. What the Wildcats did next was nothing short of awe inspiring such as was the Green Bay Packer run to the Super Bowl. The Wildcats, including the win over Delaware, went on a 3 game road winning run, which included two playoff wins over strong men Stephen F. Austin and Appalachian State, before falling short in a tough road date at eventual champ Eastern Washington. It was a fun run to watch, and Villanova fans should be proud of what their team did in 2010.
     Chris Whitney, for lack of a better term, was a slippery bastard to take out. Whitney passed for a strong 2241 yards with 22 TDs and only 7 picks, but when he had to, he could kick his legs into action and racked up a very solid 407 yards with an incredible 13 rushing scores on the season. Whitney was almost a one man wrecking crew. Here's some bad news. Whitney is all done at Villanova, and a replacement has to be found. That's a huge hole to have to fill.
      The Wildcats shared the load in the rushing game, as 3 players including Whitney rushed for over 400 yards on the season. Aaron Ball had a line of 162-744-5 to lead the team, while Angelo Babbaro also busted loose for 511 yards and 3 scores. Matt Szczur also rushed for 4 TDs on 63 carries.
     Five Wildcat receivers had at least 20 receptions in 2010, and they were led by Norman White. White caught 69 passes for 886 yards while hauling in a very respectable 11 TDs. Dorian Wells had a very solid effort as the number 2 option, hauling in a line of 37-554-4. Mikey Reynolds, Babbaro, and Szczur all surpassed the 200 yard mark, and all of them caught scoring passes. In all, 11 different Wildcats caught passes, with 7 of them catching TD passes.
     Defensively, you did not run against the Villanova defense. As a matter of fact, the Nova rush D only allowed 99.6 yards per game on the ground, which is a very nice mark.
     Five different Wildcat defenders picked up at least 80 tackles in 2010, and they were led by senior LB Marquis Kirkland and his 104 tackles. The others were James Pitts (84), Fred Maldonado (84), Terence Thomas (83), and John Dempsey (81). This was a very senior laden group, so rebuilding on defense is on the horizon for 2011.
     Kirkland was a beast in the backfield as well, as he made a terrific 19 TFLs on the season, and he was joined in doube figures by Rakim Cox (10) and and Thomas Weaver (10). Maldanoado (9) just missed joining the group. Kirkland also led the team with 5 sacks.
     Pitts and Maldanado were very active in a pass D that allowed 224 yards passing per game. Pitts finished the season with an impressive 11 pass breakups, while Maldonado collected 6 on the year. What was impressive about players breaking up passes was the active nature of Rakim Cox, a defensive lineman, who defended 7 passes on the season. Pitts and Martel Moody led the team with 3 picks a piece, a number that Talley would love to see increase in 2011, but Pitts is the only guy in this group returning in 2011.
     Nick Yako, a sophomore, did a horrid job at PK in 2010. He only connected on 2 of 7 FGs on the season, and so Talley will have to find someone to push him out or replace him, as this number does not solidify his hold on the job, nor should it. Dominic Scarnecchia, on the other hand, was a gem at punter, having led the CAA with an average of 43.15 yards per punt as a junior.


Villanova, for a team that barely made the FCS playoffs in 2010, had a very nice run once they got there. They did so with senior leadership, and a driving desire of successes of past seasons in their recent histor, including an FCS championship that they wished to repeat. The run was very special for the Wildcats, but now comes the reality of having to replace several departing seniors in 2011, as they lose many of their stars that drove the machine, specifically Whitney at QB. There are some very large shoes to fill for next season, so I would say that 2011 may be in doubt for another playoff run. Expect the absencem if it happens, to be short lived, as Talley never let's Villanova stay down for long.

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