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VILLANOVA, Pa.--Next up on the schedule for No. 14 Villanova (2-2, 0-1 CAA Football) is a Saturday evening contest against Towson (2-2, 0-1) at Johnny Unitas Stadium, and the game marks a turning point of sorts in the 2017 schedule. The game against the Tigers will be the fourth road contest in the first five weeks of the season for the Wildcats, who will then play on the road just twice more over the next seven weeks. This year marks the first time since 2001 that Villanova will have played just one home game by the end of September.
Saturday’s game against Towson kicks off at 6 p.m. and can be heard locally on 610 Sports WTEL-AM with Ryan Fannon and Kevin Reilly on the call. The radio broadcast will also stream online at villanova.com and is available to fans with a Nova Nation All-Access subscription. Click on the links at the top of this release to access the streaming audio, along with live stats and other relevant information. The contest is the 14th all-time between the Wildcats and the Tigers, and will be Villanova’s seventh road game in the all-time series.
The home team has won the past three games in the series, although the Wildcats are 3-3 at Johnny Unitas Stadium and last won there when they tallied a 45-35 win during the 2013 season. Villanova’s last trip to Maryland in 2015 resulted in a 28-21 loss, the only game in the series since 2008 to be decided by a touchdown or less.
Four games into the 2017 campaign, the biggest storyline for the Wildcats has been the play of the team’s defense. Villanova has given up just 17.0 points and 307.5 total yards per game on the season. The defense also leads CAA Football and is ranked fourth among all FCS teams in rushing defense, allowing just 60.0 yards per game on the ground and an average of 2.2 yards per carry. Senior linebacker Ed Shockley (Millville, N.J.), who is tied for the team lead with 28 tackles, has recorded 20 of his 28 stops on rushing attempts.
On the offensive side of the ball, junior quarterback Zach Bednarczyk (Wallington, N.J.) has impressed with his consistency. Bednarczyk moved up two spots into sixth place on the Wildcats all-time total offense list at Albany last week. He has played in 28 career games and has 5,714 total yards, including 4,575 passing yards and 1,139 rushing yards. Bednarczyk ranks seventh in the nation with a 70.2 percent completion rate (80-of-114) through four games, and he has thrown for 1,021 yards with six touchdowns and no interceptions.
The top-to-bottom quality of CAA Football has been noticeable in the early weeks of the season, and six conference teams appear in this week’s STATS FCS Top 25 poll. Villanova and Towson are each coming off narrow losses in their league openers last week, when the Wildcats fell in overtime at Albany (19-10) and the Tigers lost to Stony Brook (25-17).
Villanova returns home next week when it hosts Maine for a Saturday afternoon tilt.