Nov. 21, 2012
VILLANOVA, Pa.--For the fourth time in the last five years Villanova (8-3) is in the playoffs and the Wildcats will open up postseason play this Saturday afternoon when they travel to Stony Brook (9-2). Kickoff at Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium is scheduled for 3 p.m. and the game can be seen live on ESPN3 or through the Watch ESPN mobile app. A broadcast of the game also airs locally on 950-AM (WPEN).
During the regular season the Wildcats posted the biggest turnaround in the nation from last year and earned a share of the CAA Football championship. Villanova received the league's automatic bid to the Division I Football Championship and carries a streak of five consecutive opening-game victories in the playoffs into Saturday's contest.
The first round game for the Wildcats comes against a Seawolves team that Villanova has not previously faced. Stony Brook is a member of the Big South Conference and finished in a first-place tie with a 5-1 league record this season. The Seawolves were an at-large selection to the field of 20 playoff teams.
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.
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).
Earlier this week Talley and redshirt freshman quarterback John Robertson (Paramus, N.J.) were named finalists for national awards given out by the Sports Network. Talley is a finalist for the Eddie Robinson Award and Robertson is a finalist for the Jerry Rice Award. Those honors are given to the top FCS coach and freshman, respectively, each year.
Talley was also named the CAA Coach of the Year and Robertson earned CAA Offensive Rookie of the Year merit. In the announcement of the league's postseason honors the Wildcats had four players named first team all-conference, while three players were on the second team and five others made the All-CAA third team.
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.