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Timeline of a Championship Season

Matt Szczur

Dec. 6, 2008 - Wildcats Fall To JMU In FCS Quarterfinals, 31-27
Rodney Landers and James Madison beat Villanova again, and this time they didn't need a last play Hail Mary. Landers threw for three touchdowns and ran for the go-ahead score with 1:38 to play Saturday as top-seeded James Madison rallied to beat Villanova 31-27 in the Football Championship Subdivision quarterfinals.

June 11, 2009 - Wildcats Ranked Fourth in Pre-Season Poll
The Villanova Wildcat football team is ranked No. 4 in the sixth annual pre-season (AGS) poll. Villanova returns 15 starters and 31 letterwinners from last year's NCAA quarterfinal team that went 10-3 overall and 7-1 in CAA play.

July 29, 2009 - Villanova and Richmond Picked to Win CAA Championship
The Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) held its annual football media day on Wednesday, July 29 at the ESPN Zone in Baltimore, Md. In the pre-season predicted order of finish, Villanova and defending National Champion Richmond earned a first place tie to win the South Division with nine first place votes each. The two schools were also chosen as the co-overall champions of the league. New Hampshire was picked to win the North Division title.

Sept. 3, 2009 - Villanova Tops Temple, 27-24
Redshirt freshman Nick Yako kicked a 32-yard field goal as time expired and Villanova (1-0) completed a late comeback with a 27-24 victory over Temple (0-1) in the inaugural Mayor's Cup game played on Thursday night at Lincoln Financial Field. The Wildcats trailed by 10 points in the middle of the fourth quarter before coming back to tally their third-ever win against a Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) opponent.

Sept. 7, 2009 - Villanova Jumps to No. 3 in National Polls
The Villanova Wildcats moved up two spots to No. 3 in both the Sports Network and the FCS Coaches polls. Villanova was No. 5 in both polls last week and moved up the two spots after its 27-24 win over FBS member Temple.

Sept. 12, 2009 - Wildcats Run Past Lehigh 38-17 in Home Opener
Led by an unstoppable ground game, Villanova (2-0) produced two 100-yard rushers and cruised to a 38-17 win over Lehigh (0-2) on Saturday night in its home opener at Villanova Stadium. The Wildcats ran for 310 yards and defeated the Mountain Hawks in their first home game for the second straight year.

Chris Whitney

Sept. 20, 2009 - Szczur's Game-Opening Kickoff Return Highlights 14-3 Victory at Penn
Junior wide receiver Matt Szczur (Erma, N.J.) ran back the game's opening kickoff 87 yards for a touchdown and No. 2 Villanova (3-0) then settled into a scrappy defensive battle against Penn (0-1) on Saturday night at Franklin Field, eventually coming away with a 14-3 victory. The win marked the first time since 2003 that the Wildcats have won their first three games to open a season.

Sept. 26, 2009 - Wildcats Topple Northeastern 56-7 in Conference Opener
Junior running back Aaron Ball (Los Angeles, Calif.) ran for over 100 yards in the first quarter alone and No. 2 Villanova (4-0, 1-0 CAA) ran for a season-high 410 yards in a 56-7 win over Northeastern (0-4, 0-2 CAA) on Saturday afternoon at Villanova Stadium. The Wildcats improved to 4-0 for the first time since 2003 and won their conference opener for the third straight year.

Oct. 3, 2009 - Wildcats Stay Undefeated, Top No. 5 William & Mary 28-17 on National Television
In a battle of top five teams on Saturday afternoon, No. 2 Villanova (5-0, 2-0 CAA) struck for a touchdown on the first offensive play of the game and went on to a 28-17 victory over No. 5 William & Mary (4-1, 1-1 CAA) at Villanova Stadium. The Wildcats won their sixth straight home game and improved to 15-1 on their home turf since the middle of the 2006 season.

Terence Thomas

Oct. 10, 2009 - Second Rally Falls Short as Wildcats Fall to New Hampshire 28-24
A pair of field goals in the fourth quarter were the difference in the game and No. 2 Villanova (5-1, 2-1 CAA) lost its first game of the season by a 28-24 margin to No. 5 New Hampshire (5-0, 2-0 CAA) on Saturday afternoon at Cowell Stadium. After the visiting Wildcats rallied from a 15-point deficit in the first half to take a 24-22 lead, the hosts of the same name went on top for good in the fourth quarter and fended off another comeback bid by Villanova.

Oct. 17, 2009 - Wildcats Blank No. 16 James Madison 27-0, Notch First Shutout Since 2002
Sixth-ranked Villanova (6-1, 3-1 CAA) bounced back from its first loss of the season a week earlier and posted its first shutout since 2002 with a 27-0 victory over No. 16 James Madison (2-4, 0-3 CAA) on Saturday afternoon at Bridgeforth/Showker Stadium. Head coach Andy Talley recorded his 199th career victory with the win as the Wildcats got back on a winning track in a big way.

Oct. 24, 2009 - Talley Wins 200th Career Game as Wildcats Top Rhode Island 36-7
Head coach Andy Talley won his 200th career game and No. 4 Villanova (7-1, 4-1 CAA) won its Homecoming game on Saturday afternoon by a 36-7 score over Rhode Island (1-6, 0-4 CAA) at soggy Villanova Stadium. Junior wide receiver Matt Szczur (Erma, N.J.) ran for one touchdown an threw for another in a productive opening half for the Wildcats, who built a 21-0 lead at halftime on a rain-filled afternoon and eased past the Rams the rest of the way to go into their bye week with a victory.

Nov. 7, 2009 - Harvey Makes Game-Winning Catch as Wildcats Upset No. 1 Richmond, 21-20
Senior wide receiver Brandyn Harvey (Spring Valley, Calif.) made a running left-handed catch for a game-winning 29-yard touchdown with 59 seconds left and No. 4 Villanova (8-1, 5-1 CAA) upset defending national champion and No. 1 Richmond (8-1, 6-1 CAA) by a final of 21-20 on Saturday afternoon in front of 11,667 at UR Stadium. With the win, the Wildcats snapped the Spiders 17-game winning streak which dated to the middle of the 2008 regular season.

Brandyn Harvey

Nov. 9, 2009 - Wildcats Move To No. 3 in National Polls
The Villanova Wildcats moved up one spot to No. 3 in both the Sports Network FCS Top 25 and the FCS Coaches Poll. Villanova is one of five CAA teams in the Top 25. CAA teams occupy four of the top eight spots in the polls. Villanova is coming off a thrilling 21-20 win at No. 1 Richmond. The victory snapped Richmond's 17 game winning streak and improved the Wildcats to 8-1 overall and 5-1 in CAA play.

Nov. 14, 2009 - Wildcats Pounce Early in 49-7 Victory over Towson
Third-ranked Villanova (9-1, 6-1 CAA) was off to the races early on and defeated Towson (2-8, 1-6 CAA), 49-7, on Saturday afternoon at Johnny Unitas Stadium. The Wildcats scored on all five of their drives in the first half and led 35-0 at the intermission along the way to their fourth straight win.

Nov. 16, 2009 - Wildcats Match a Season-Best with Return to No. 2 Spot in Sports Network Poll
Following its fourth consecutive victory this past weekend, Villanova (9-1, 6-1 CAA) has moved up one spot to No. 2 in the Sports Network Top 25 poll released earlier today. The team remained at No. 3 in the FCS Coaches Poll for the second straight week. The ranking by the Sports Network matches a season-high for the Wildcats and is the first time the team has been ranked No. 2 since just prior to the team's only loss of the season.

Nov. 21, 2009 - Villanova Tops Delaware 30-12 for First Conference Championship Since 2001
In the regular season finale on Saturday afternoon, No. 2 Villanova (10-1, 7-1 CAA) wrapped up its first conference championship since 2001 with a 30-12 victory over No. 25 Delaware (6-5, 4-4 CAA) in front of a packed house of 12,073 fans at Villanova Stadium. The win secured for the Wildcats the Colonial Athletic Association's automatic bid to the Division I Football Championship. The 16-team playoff field will be announced on Sunday afternoon at 3 p.m. live on ESPN News.

Antwon Young

Nov. 22, 2009 - Villanova Receives No. 2 Overall Seed in Division I Football Championship
One day after winning its first conference title since 2001, the Villanova football team has received the No. 2 overall seed to the Division I Football Championship. The Wildcats are the second seed in the 16-team field which was announced this afternoon on ESPN News. Villanova is now set to host Holy Cross next Saturday in a first round game. Kickoff time will be announced later Sunday or on Monday morning.

Nov. 23, 2009 - Szczur Wins Two Player of the Year Awards, Talley is CAA Coach of the Year
unior wide receiver Matt Szczur (Erma, N.J.) has been named both the Offensive Player of the Year and the Special Teams Player of the Year by the Colonial Athletic Association, while head coach Andy Talley of the CAA champion Villanova football team has earned Coach of the Year honors, the league announced this evening. After winning its first conference title since 2001, the Wildcats were rewarded today with three major conference awards and a total of 15 All-CAA honorees, including six first team selections.

Nov. 28, 2009 - Villanova Advances to Playoff Quarterfinals with 38-28 Win over Holy Cross
VILLANOVA, Pa.--In the first round of the Division I Football Championship on Saturday afternoon, No. 2 Seed Villanova (11-1) defeated Holy Cross (9-3) by a final score of 38-28 at Villanova Stadium to advance to the quarterfinal round for the second straight season. The Wildcats will host New Hampshire (10-2) next Saturday at 3:30 p.m.

Dec. 2, 2009 - Andy Talley is 2009 AFCA Region 1 Coach of the Year Winner
Villanova football head coach Andy Talley has been named the Region 1 Football Championship Subdivision Regional Coach of the Year, as announced by the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA). Talley was also a 2008 AFCA Regional Coach of the Year winner; the 2009 award is his fifth given by the AFCA.

Head Coach Andy Talley

Dec. 5, 2009 - Wildcats Rout New Hampshire 46-7, Advance to FCS Semifinals
On slippery, snow-covered turf at Villanova Stadium, No. 2 seed Villanova (12-1) advanced to the semifinals of the Division I Football Championship with a 46-7 win over New Hampshire (10-3) on Saturday afternoon. Villanova tied the school record for wins in a season with the victory and will host CAA rival William & Mary (11-2) in the semifinals next Friday or Saturday.

Dec. 11, 2009 - Wildcats Rally Past William & Mary Into National Championship Game
Junior wide receiver Matt Szczur (Erma, N.J.) ignited the offense with a 62-yard touchdown run and executed a fake punt that eventually led to a one-yard quarterback sneak by junior quarterback Chris Whitney (Warminster, Pa.), as No. 2 seed Villanova (13-1) advanced to the title game of the Division I Football Championship with a 14-13, come-from-behind victory over William & Mary (11-3) on Friday night at Villanova Stadium. The Wildcats scored touchdowns in the third and fourth quarters to rally for the win, which set a new program record for single-season victories (13).

Junior wide receiver Matt Szczur (Erma, N.J.) rushed for a career-high 159 yards and carried No. 2 seed Villanova (14-1) to its first national championship on Friday night in front of 14,328 at Finley Stadium. The Wildcats knocked off No. 1 seed and undefeated Montana (14-1) to win a national title as head coach Andy Talley reached the pinnacle of college football in his 25th season on the Main Line. Szczur racked up 270 all-purpose yards en route to being named the championship game's Most Outstanding Player.