Nov. 18, 2012
VILLANOVA, Pa.--One day after the Wildcats earned an automatic bid to the FCS playoffs the bracket for the Division I Football Championship was announced in a live selection show on ESPNU on Sunday afternoon. Villanova (8-3) will go on the road for the first round and face Stony Brook (9-2) next Saturday, with kickoff scheduled for 3 p.m. at Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium in Stony Brook, N.Y.
Wildcats head coach Andy Talley is leading Villanova into the postseason for the 10th time in his career, including the fourth time in the last five years. This year's selection marks the second time since 2009 that the Wildcats have gone into the Division I Football Championship as the CAA automatic bid.
In its previous nine appearances in the FCS playoffs Villanova has a 10-8 (.556) record, including a 7-2 (.778) mark in its last three playoff appearances. The Wildcats advanced to the quarterfinal round in 2008, won their first-ever national championship in 2009 and reached the semifinals in 2010.
Stony Brook enters the postseason with a 9-2 overall record and was one of 10 at-large selections to the 20-team playoff field. The Seawolves, who play football in the Big South Conference, went 5-1 in league play this season and finished in a three-way tie for first place with Coastal Carolina and Liberty. Based on tie-breakers in that league Coastal Carolina was awarded an automatic bid.
This is the 14th season of football at the FCS level for Stony Brook, which moved all of its sports to Division I in 1999. This season the Seawolves only two losses have each been on the road, at BIG EAST member Syracuse (28-17) on September 15 and in the regular season finale at Liberty (28-14) on November 10.
The winner of Saturday afternoon's game between Villanova and Stony Brook will face No. 3 seed Montana State (10-1) in the second round on Saturday, December 1. The Bobcats were an automatic bid from the Big Sky Conference.
Upon the completion of the regular season schedule on Saturday night Villanova stood in a four-way tie for second place in the CAA standings. Old Dominion finished in first place with a 7-1 record but was ineligible for the league title due to their move to the FBS level and Conference USA effective next season. As a result all four of the teams in the second place tie are recognized as co-champions in the league, while the Wildcats were designated as the league's automatic bid based on tie-breakers.
All four of the teams with a 6-2 record had played Old Dominion and from that group Villanova is the only team to have defeated the Monarchs. On October 13 in Norfolk the Wildcats scored a 38-14 victory over Old Dominion, which entered that game ranked No. 3 in the country.
Old Dominion was revealed as the No. 4 overall seed when the playoff selections were announced today, while New Hampshire also earned an at-large bid to the field out of the CAA.
Villanova has now won at least a share of a conference championship for the sixth time in Talley's coaching tenure. The Wildcats were co-champions of the Yankee Conference in 1989 and 1991, won outright Atlantic 10 championships in 1997 and 2001 and also were the CAA outright champion back in 2009.
Even with all of the success that Villanova has had in the past five years it is an absolutely remarkable accomplishment for Talley to lead this particular team to a league championship. Last season a young Wildcats team finished with a 2-9 overall record and had just one conference victory.
This year, with many of the same players on the field, Villanova has stormed through the regular season with a dominant rushing game and terrific defense. The Wildcats finished the regular season as the leading rushing team in the CAA with 2,897 rushing yards and an average of 263.4 yards on the ground per game. The rushing attack is led by sophomore running back Kevin Monangai (Roseland, N.J.), who leads the CAA with 1,190 rushing yards (108.2 yards per game).
On the defensive end Villanova is giving up 21.0 points per game and owns a +10.2 scoring margin as well as a +5 turnover margin. Each of the Wildcats eight victories this season have come by double digits, with the closest win being by 15 points against Fordham (28-13) and then-No. 9 James Madison (35-20).
Stony Brook averages 39.1 points per game while limiting the opposition to 16.0 points per game and 296.8 yards of total offense. The Seawolves have won 12 straight home games dating back to last season.