Szczur Wins Two Player of the Year Awards, Talley is CAA Coach of the Year
Matt Szczur is only the second player in CAA history to receive two of the league's major awards in the same season.  He is among 15 All-CAA selections from Villanova that were announced by the CAA this evening.
 
Matt Szczur is only the second player in CAA history to receive two of the league's major awards in the same season. He is among 15 All-CAA selections from Villanova that were announced by the CAA this evening.
 

Nov. 23, 2009

VILLANOVA, Pa. - Junior wide receiver Matt Szczur (Erma, N.J.) has been named both the Offensive Player of the Year and the Special Teams Player of the Year by the Colonial Athletic Association, while head coach Andy Talley of the CAA champion Villanova football team has earned Coach of the Year honors, the league announced this evening. After winning its first conference title since 2001, the Wildcats were rewarded today with three major conference awards and a total of 15 All-CAA honorees, including six first team selections.

Szczur is the second player in conference history to win two major athletic awards from the league in the same year. In 2004, William & Mary's Lang Campbell was both the Offensive Player of the Year and the Student-Athlete of the Year. This season, Szczur has continued to prove that he can do it all for the Wildcats and is the only player in Division I college football (including FBS and FCS) to register touchdowns as a receiver, rusher, return man and quarterback.

Talley is in his 25th season at Villanova and garnered the Coach of the Year award for the first time since he led his 1997 Wildcat team to an undefeated regular season. This year, Talley guided Villanova to a share of the CAA Football title and the league's automatic bid into the 2009 NCAA Division I Football Championsihp. Talley is the all-time winningest football coach in CAA history and notched his 107th conference win this past Saturday against Delaware. The 30-year coaching veteran also moved into esteemed company in 2009 when he notched his 200th collegiate head coaching win. In doing so, Talley joined a group of just 55 other NCAA football head coaches (all divisions) who have reached the 200-win plateau.

In addition to being chosen as the Offensive Player of the Year and Special Teams Player of the Year, Szczur was named to the All-CAA first team as both a wide receiver and a kick returner. The other offensive players on the first team from Villanova are junior quarterback Chris Whitney (Warminster, Pa.) and junior offensive lineman Ben Ijalana (Hainesport, N.J.). On the defensive side, both senior defensive end Tim Kukucka (Wall, N.J.) and junior linebacker Terence Thomas (Lawrenceville, N.J.) were first team selections.

 

 

Three Wildcat student-athletes were named to the second team all-conference squad, including senior wide receiver Brandyn Harvey (Spring Valley, Calif.) on the offensive side and both senior linebacker Osayi Osunde (Bloomsburg, Pa.) and senior defensive lineman Phil Matusz (Greenville, Pa.).

Villanova's third team All-CAA picks included three offensive players and three defensive players. The offensive players chosen were junior running back Aaron Ball (Los Angeles, Calif.), senior offensive lineman Brian Brannigan (Clementon, N.J.) and junior offensive lineman Brant Clouser (Altoona, Pa.). Making the list from the defensive side were junior linebacker Marquis Kirkland (Syracuse, N.Y.), sophomore cornerback Jimmy Pitts (Montclair, N.J.) and junior defensive back John Dempsey (Secane, Pa.).

The 15 all-conference selections for the Wildcats was second only to Richmond, which had a total of 16 all-conference picks and matched Villanova with six first team honorees. William & Mary received 14 all-conference choices and had freshman cornerback B.J. Webb receive Defensive Rookie of the Year accolades. Other major awards included James Madison defensive lineman Arthur Moats receiving Defensive Player of the Year honors, while the Dukes also had freshman quarterback Justin Thorpe earn the nod for Offensive Rookie of the Year.

The All-CAA selections from Villanova have helped the team to a 10-1 record this season, including a 7-1 mark in regular season conference play for the second season in a row. The Wildcats are the No. 2 overall seed in the Division I Football Championship and will play a first round playoff game at home on Saturday at Noon against Patriot League champion Holy Cross.

Below, in alphabetical order are profiles of each of the Villanova players to earn All-CAA accolades.

Aaron Ball (Junior, Running Back, 5-9, 200, Los Angeles, Calif. / Cabrillo)
CAA Third Team (Running Back)
Two-time All-CAA Selection (2008, 2009)

Ball is part of a dominant ground game for the Wildcats, who are averaging 222.2 rushing yards per game this season. Individually, Ball has carried the ball 116 times for 563 yards, with an average of 4.9 yards per carry. He ranks second on the team in total rushing yards and is tied for the team lead with five touchdowns. Ball also has four receptions for 11 yards.

During the year, Ball has tallied two games where he gained over 100 yards on the ground and scored a season-best two touchdowns in a win over Towson earlier this month. The two 100-yard games come even though the Wildcats have a balanced ground attack, with three players averaging more than 40 rushing yards per game.

Brian Brannigan (Senior, Offensive Line, 6-2, 285, Clementon, N.J. / St. Joseph)
CAA Third Team (Offensive Line)
Two-time All-CAA Selection (2008, 2009)

Brannigan is part of an offensive line this season that has helped the Wildcats emerge as one of the top performing offensive teams in the nation. Villanova is averaging 222.2 rushing yards per game this season and has run up 372.7 yards of total offense per contest. The Wildcats are averaging 31.8 points per game this season and enter the playoffs with a +18.9 scoring margin over their opponents.

Brannigan and the rest of the offensive line have done a good job of protecting quarterback Chris Whitney, who has been sacked less than three times per game. In addition, the Wildcats have given up just three interceptions and lost only eight fumbles for a total of 11 turnovers. On the flip side, Villanova has forced its opposition into 23 turnovers on the year.

Brant Clouser (Junior, Offensive Line, 6-2, 290, Altoona, Pa. / Altoona)
CAA Third Team (Offensive Line)
First All-CAA Selection

Clouser is part of an offensive line this season that has helped the Wildcats emerge as one of the top performing offensive teams in the nation. Villanova is averaging 222.2 rushing yards per game this season and has run up 372.7 yards of total offense per contest. The Wildcats are averaging 31.8 points per game this season and enter the playoffs with a +18.9 scoring margin over their opponents.

Clouser and the rest of the offensive line have done a good job of protecting quarterback Chris Whitney, who has been sacked less than three times per game. In addition, the Wildcats have given up just three interceptions and lost only eight fumbles for a total of 11 turnovers. On the flip side, Villanova has forced its opposition into 23 turnovers on the year.

John Dempsey (Junior, Defensive Back, 6-0, 210, Secane, Pa. / Cardinal O'Hara)
CAA Third Team (Safety)
First All-CAA Selection

A local product, Dempsey has been an important figure on the Villanova defense throughout his collegiate career. He earns his first all-conference nod this season. Through 11 games, Dempsey has tallied 53 total tackles (41 solo, 12 assisted) and is one of eight different players on the team with 50 or more stops. Dempsey is tied for second on the squad with 8.5 tackles for loss and has registered 4.0 quarterback sacks. He also has four pass breakups, a team-high three forced fumbles, one interception and one quarterback hurry.

The play of Dempsey and the rest of the Villanova defense has helped the team limit opponents to just 12.9 points per game, while the Wildcats enter the playoffs with a +18.9 scoring margin over the opposition. In addition, Villanova has forced other teams into committing 23 turnovers, including 17 interceptions and six fumble recoveries.

Brandyn Harvey (Senior, Wide Receiver, 6-4, 205, Spring Valley, Calif. / Monte Vista)
CAA Second Team (Wide Receiver)
First All-CAA Selection

Harvey has been the top wide receiver for the Villanova offense this season and leads the team with 47 receptions for 604 yards and five touchdowns. He averages 54.9 receiving yards per game and is also the team's top punt returner. Harvey has recorded 18 punt returns for a total of 139 yards and an average of 7.7 yards per return.

The top play for Harvey this season came in the final minute of a 21-20 victory at then-No. 1 and undefeated Richmond earlier this month. With the Wildcats trailing 20-14 and facing a 4th-and-11 situation in the last minute of the contest, Harvey made a running, one-handed catch for a 29-yard touchdown that lifted Villanova to the victory.

Ben Ijalana (Junior, Offensive Line, 6-4, 320, Hainesport, N.J. / Rancocas Valley)
CAA First Team (Offensive Line)
Two-time All-CAA Selection (2008, 2009)

Ijalana is part of an offensive line this season that has helped the Wildcats emerge as one of the top performing offensive teams in the nation. Villanova is averaging 222.2 rushing yards per game this season and has run up 372.7 yards of total offense per contest. The Wildcats are averaging 31.8 points per game this season and enter the playoffs with a +18.9 scoring margin over their opponents.

Ijalana and the rest of the offensive line have done a good job of protecting quarterback Chris Whitney, who has been sacked less than three times per game. In addition, the Wildcats have given up just three interceptions and lost only eight fumbles for a total of 11 turnovers. On the flip side, Villanova has forced its opposition into 23 turnovers on the year.

Marquis Kirkland (Junior, Linebacker, 5-10, 250, Syracuse, N.Y. / Henninger)
CAA Third Team (Linebacker)
Two-time All-CAA Selection (2008, 2009)

A three-year starter on the Villanova defensive unit, Kirkland receives all-conference honors for the second straight year this season. He is currently tied for second on the team with 8.5 tackles for loss in 10 games played and overall has tallied 54 total tackles (31 solo, 23 assisted). In addition to those numbers, Kirkland has registered one sack, one interception, one pass breakup and one fumble recovery.

His play has helped the Wildcats have a dominant defensive game this season, as the team is allowing just 12.9 points per game and enters the playoffs with a +18.9 scoring margin over the opposition. Villanova has also forced its opponents into committing 23 turnovers, including 17 interceptions and six fumble recoveries.

Tim Kukucka (Senior, Defensive End, 6-3, 250, Wall, N.J. / Wall)
CAA First Team (Defensive Line)
Three-time All-CAA Selection (2006, 2007, 2008)

Kukucka is a four-year starter on the Villanova defensive line and this season has helped the Wildcats have a strong defensive presence. Villanova is giving up just 12.9 points per contest and the team has a +18.9 scoring margin entering the postseason. Individually, Kukucka leads the team with 14.5 tackles for loss and is tied for the team lead with 7.0 quarterback sacks. His 14.5 tackles for loss are six more than anyone else on the team and he is eighth overall on the squad with 51 tackles (28 solo, 23 assisted). Kukucka has also notched one interception, one forced fumble and one blocked kick.

Phil Matusz (Senior, Defensive Line, 6-2, 300, Greenville, Pa. / Greenville)
CAA Second Team (Defensive Line)
First All-CAA Selection

Matusz has started all 11 games this season for a Villanova defense that is holding opponents to just 12.9 points per game. The Wildcats enter the playoffs with a +18.9 scoring margin over the opposition and have forced their opponents into 23 turnovers, including 17 interceptions and six recovered fumbles. Individually, Matusz has registered 19 total tackles (nine solo, 10 assisted), including 2.0 tackles for loss and one sack. He also has one pass breakup and one quarterback hurry.

Osayi Osunde (Senior, Linebacker, 6-1, 245, Bloomsburg, Pa. / Central Columbia)
CAA Second Team (Linebacker)
Three-time All-CAA Selection (2007, 2008, 2009)

Osunde has been one of the top players on the Villanova defensive unit throughout his career and is one of two three-time all-conference selections for the Wildcats this year. In 11 games this season, Osunde ranks second on the team with 71 total tackles, including 30 solo stops and 41 assisted tackles. His 7.0 tackles for loss are sixth on the team and he was 1.5 sacks to go along with two pass breakups and one forced fumble.

The play of Osunde and the rest of the Villanova defense has helped the team limit opponents to just 12.9 points per game, while the Wildcats enter the playoffs with a +18.9 scoring margin over the opposition. In addition, Villanova has forced other teams into committing 23 turnovers, including 17 interceptions and six fumble recoveries.

Jimmy Pitts (Sophomore, Defensive Back, 6-0, 180, Montclair, N.J. / Montclair)
CAA Third Team (Cornerback)
First All-CAA Selection

In his second season at Villanova, Pitts has been one of the top playmakers for a dominating Villanova defense. He currently leads the team in three different statistical categories with four interceptions, eight pass breakups and two fumble recoveries. Pitts ranks fourth on the team with 58 total tackles (44 solo, 14 assisted) and has registered three tackles for loss.

The performance this season of Pitts and the rest of the Wildcat defense has helped the team limit opponents to just 12.9 points per game. Villanova enters the playoffs with a +18.9 scoring margin over its opponents and has forced other teams into committing 23 turnovers on the year, including 17 interceptions and six recovered fumbles.

Matt Szczur (Junior, Wide Receiver, 5-11, 195, Erma, N.J. / Lower Cape May Regional)
CAA Offensive Player of the Year
CAA Special Teams Player of the Year
CAA First Team (Wide Receiver)
CAA First Team (Kick Returner)
Two-time All-CAA Selection (2008, 2009)

In 11 games this season, Szczur has contributed to Villanova as a wide receiver, running back, quarterback and kick returner. His primary position is as a wide receiver, where he stands second on the team with 36 receptions for 358 yards and four touchdowns. In addition, he is tied for the team lead with five rushing touchdowns while carrying the ball 68 times for 467 yards and an average of 6.9 yards per carry. Szczur often takes direct snaps in the Wildcat formation and as a passer is 3-of-3 for 21 yards and two touchdowns. He has also returned 23 kickoffs for an average of 27.3 yards per return, with his best effort being an 87-yard return for a touchdown against Penn earlier in the year. He has even registered six tackles while playing on special teams.

Szczur has 1,454 total all-purpose yards (132.2 per game) for the season, which not only leads the team but is nearly double the number of yards for any other player on the team. He is also second on the squad in scoring with 60 points and ranks third in total offense with 44.4 yards per game. A true all-around athlete, Szczur also plays on the baseball team at Villanova and was one of the team's top players in the spring of 2009, when he led the team in five different offensive categories.

Terence Thomas (Junior, Linebacker, 6-0, 230, Lawrenceville, N.J. / Lawrenceville School)
CAA First Team (Linebacker)
First All-CAA Selection

In his third year as a starter for the Villanova defense, Thomas is leading the team with 88 total tackles, including a team-best 50 solo stops to go along with 38 assisted tackles. He is tied for second on the team with 8.5 tackles for loss and is tied for the team lead with 7.0 quarterback sacks. In addition, Thomas has tallied one pass breakup, two quarterback hurries and one forced fumble. Thomas' play this season has helped the Wildcats defense allow just 12.9 points per contest, and Villanova enters the postseason with a +18.9 scoring margin over the opposition. The team has forced its opponents into 23 turnovers on the season, including 17 interceptions and six recovered fumbles.

Chris Whitney (Junior, Quarterback, 6-2, 230, Warminster, Pa. / St. Joseph's Prep)
CAA First Team (Quarterback)
First All-CAA Selection

Whitney has come into his own this season as a player capable of not only being a solid quarterback but one who is a dominating offensive performer. As a passer, Whitney is 123-of-185 (66.5%) and leads the CAA with a 155.94 passer efficiency rating. He has thrown for 1,413 yards while registering 16 touchdowns with only three interceptions. Whitney is also the leading rusher on the Villanova team and has gained 728 yards on 146 carries. He is averaging 5.0 yards per carry and has three rushing touchdowns.

Last season, Whitney ran for 467 yards to establish the most rushing yards ever by a quarterback under head coach Andy Talley. He has shattered that mark this season by more than 250 yards and averages 66.2 yards per game on the ground. In a win over Towson earlier this month, Whitney also caught his first career pass, a 13-yard touchdown reception thrown by junior teammate Matt Szczur.

Follow us!

Instagram

Photo Galleries