COMPLETE COVERAGE OF SATURDAY'S HOME FOOTBALL GAME AGAINST MAINE
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Game Notes: Villanova | Maine | CAA Football | FCS Insider
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VILLANOVA, Pa.--There will be plenty to see and do during an action-packed weekend of athletic events on campus, including the second home football game of the season on Saturday at 1 p.m. when No. 12 Villanova (3-2, 1-1 CAA Football) hosts Maine (1-2, 0-2 CAA Football) at Villanova Stadium. Saturday is Community Day and the Wildcats annual Pink Game for breast cancer awareness, and the gridiron matchup is also this week’s CAA Football Game of the Week on College Sports Live. A broadcast of the game can be seen free of charge by accessing the streaming link at the top of this release.
Fans are encouraged to get to campus early on Saturday due to a number of events taking place. A good place to start is with the “Wildcat Walk” which takes place at 10:30 a.m. The band, cheerleaders, dance team and twirlers will lead the football team through the A-2 parking lot on the way to their locker room in the Andrew J. Talley Athletic Center. The men’s basketball team is hosting its annual Blue/White Scrimmage and Open Practice in Jake Nevin Field House beginning at 11 a.m. The event is open to the public but admission will be capped at 1,500 in the intimate field house setting.
Tickets are on sale for the football game versus the Black Bears and can be purchased online via the link above. The Fan Fest in the west end zone of the stadium, which was a huge success when it debuted during the home opener against Lafayette last month, opens at 11:30 a.m. and will remain open until the end of the third quarter. Saturday’s game can be heard live on 610 Sports WTEL-AM with Ryan Fannon and Kevin Reilly on the call, while the live audio is accessible on villanova.com with a Nova Nation All-Access subscription. The other links at the top of this page direct to pertinent day of game information.
This season marks the first time since 2001 that Villanova is not playing its second home football game until October. Four of the Wildcats first five games this season have been on the road, with the only previous home contest being a 59-0 shutout of Lafayette three weeks ago. In its two games since, Villanova has lost at Albany (19-10 in overtime) and won at Towson (24-9).
Redshirt freshman quarterback Jack Schetelich (Cranford, N.J.) is expected to make his first collegiate start on Saturday after playing nearly the entire game last week. He stepped in on the first series of the Towson game when junior Zach Bednarczyk (Wallington, N.J.) went down with an injury. Schetelich threw a touchdown pass to senior wide receiver Taurus Phillips (Beacon, N.Y.) on that opening drive and later rushed for a pair of touchdowns in the fourth quarter to help seal the outcome. He had 59 yards passing and 40 yards rushing in the defensively-dominated game.
The biggest story for the Wildcats thus far in 2017 has been the play of the defense, which has given up just 15.8 points per game overall while dominating against the run. Villanova ranks fourth among all FCS teams in rushing defense with an average of 56.8 yards allowed per game, and the Wildcats have held their opponent to fewer than 100 rushing yards in seven consecutive contests dating back to last season. Senior linebacker Ed Shockley (Millville, N.J.) leads the team with 41 tackles this season, including three games with double digits in total stops. He has recorded 29 of his 41 tackles on rushing attempts.
Maine comes into Saturday’s contest having played only three games, a result of having an early bye week and also having their scheduled game at FBS member UCF last week cancelled. Two of the Black Bears three outings have been league contests, and they have fallen to then-No. 13 New Hampshire by a narrow 24-23 margin in addition to losing to top-ranked and defending national champion James Madison, 28-10.
Sophomore running back Josh Mack leads Maine and CAA Football with an average of 167.3 rushing yards per game. He has run for 502 yards and four touchdowns on the season and is averaging better than 20 carries a game. The matchup of the Villanova defense against Mack will be one of the keys to watch on Saturday.
“We have been fortunate enough to have a good style of defense so far,” Wildcats head coach Mark Ferrante said. “We defend the run well and we are hoping our strength will match up with their strength from their offensive side of the ball, but you have to find a way to execute and win at least two of the three phases to win the game. Maine does a great job in their special teams as well, leading in stats like kickoff returns and so on. Their defense is an aggressive-style defense. They’re physical, good athletically, they run fast and they gang tackle.”
The busy weekend of athletic events begins on Friday with the annual Villanova Baseball Golf Outing at Lulu Country Club in Glenside, Pa., while the field hockey team hosts BIG EAST rival Connecticut at the Conshohocken Proving Grounds on Friday night. In addition to the Blue/White Scrimmage and the football game on Saturday, the men’s soccer team takes on Xavier at 4 p.m. in a BIG EAST matchup, while the women’s soccer team will be home with Georgetown on Sunday at 1 p.m.