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Football Hosts Delaware in Annual Battle of the Blue Game
Nov. 17, 2017

COMPLETE COVERAGE OF SATURDAY'S REGULAR SEASON FINALE AGAINST DELAWARE

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The Last Meeting
Villanova41
Delaware10
November 19, 2016
Newark, Del.
Battle of the Blue Trophy Heads Back to Villanova After 41-10 Victory
Since it won last year's annual rivalry game, No. 13 Villanova (8-3, 6-2 CAA Football) brought the Battle of the Blue trophy with it to Delaware Stadium for Saturday afternoon's regular season finale. Following a dominant performance in their clash with the Blue Hens, the Wildcats brought the trophy right back home with them. Villanova cruised to a 41-10 victory over Delaware and won the Battle of the Blue game for the ninth time in the 10 years that the annual meeting with the Blue Hens has been billed as such.

VILLANOVA, Pa.--The regular season finale and Senior Day are on Saturday afternoon when Villanova (4-6, 2-5 CAA Football) hosts Delaware (7-3, 5-2) in the annual “Battle of the Blue” rivalry game. Kickoff at Villanova Stadium is at 1 p.m. and the Wildcats will recognize 23 senior student-athletes in a ceremony prior to the start of the game. Villanova has won 10 of the last 11 meetings against the Blue Hens and leads the series against its rivals by a 28-21-1 margin.

Saturday’s game will be televised by Fox College Sports Atlantic (channel finder) and can also be seen on Dish channel 499 and DirecTV channel 608. The radio broadcast with Ryan Fannon and Kevin Reilly can be heard on 610 Sports WTEL-AM, and streaming audio of the broadcast can be accessed online at villanova.com. Click on the links at the top of this release to access broadcast and other relevant game information, including live stats and game notes.

This is the 11th year that the Wildcats annual game against Delaware is being billed as the “Battle of the Blue” game. Villanova has won the Battle of the Blue Trophy in nine of the 10 years it has been presented, including each of the last five seasons, and retained the trophy with a 41-10 victory at Delaware Stadium last year. Saturday’s game will be the 51st meeting overall in the series, and the Blue Hens are the only opponent that the Wildcats have faced at least 50 times in their history.

“We want a victory against our rival opponent,” Villanova head coach Mark Ferrante said. “We want to make sure we go in well-prepared and play a good rivalry game against a team fighting for a playoff spot. I’m sure [Delaware] is going to come up here with a lot of emotion. It is that type of rivalry game. You throw the records out the window when you play these types of games. Hopefully the rivalry, Senior Day and that trophy is enough to get our guys going emotionally to come out on Saturday and try to win it.”

Despite a four-game losing streak entering Saturday’s season finale, the Wildcats defense has held steady as the season nears its end. Villanova is currently ranked third in the nation in rushing defense (71.7) and is ninth in scoring defense (17.0). In their 10 games during the 2017 campaign, the Wildcats have limited more opponents to fewer than 50 rushing yards (four times) than they have allowed teams to rush for over 100 yards (two times).

Senior linebacker Ed Shockley (Millville, N.J.) has recorded 57 tackles against the run this season, and with 91 total stops overall needs nine tackles to become the first Villanova player since 2014 to reach 100 tackles in a season. He leads the team in both total tackles and tackles for loss (7.5), while junior linebacker Jeff Steeb (Sweetwater, N.J.) has a team-best five sacks among his 78 total stops.

One of the big playmakers on defense for the Wildcats has been sophomore linebacker Keeling Hunter (Franklin, Tenn.), who ranks fifth in CAA Football and is among the top 25 in the country with four interceptions this season. He had one of those interceptions in last week’s game at Rhode Island, and freshman defensive end Malik Fisher (Bronx, N.Y.) recovered his third fumble of the season in that contest to push Villanova’s turnover margin to plus-four on the season.

First-year quarterbacks Jack Schetelich (Cranford, N.J.) and Kyle McCloskey (Fort Washington, Pa.) have each earned starts under center since incumbent starter Zach Bednarczyk went down with an injury during the Towson game on September 30. Schetelich made the start against the Rams last week and threw for 170 yards, the highest total he has posted in his three starts. He and McCloskey are each expected to see action in the finale.

Delaware has won two straight games and five of its last six to contend for an FCS playoff spot. In their final regular season home game last week, the Blue Hens tallied a 22-3 victory against Albany. Delaware is similar to the Wildcats in its reliance on a stingy defense. The team ranks fifth in the nation in turnovers gained (26), interceptions (16) and turnover margin (+13), as well as sixth in scoring defense (15.7).

Schedule