Kukucka continues defensive dominance

Jon Albert

When the Villanova defensive line lost two all-conference seniors to graduation this past spring, some experts thought the performance of the team’s defensive line would suffer greatly. Thanks to senior defensive end Tim Kukucka, those very experts are being proven wrong.

Kukucka, a four year starter on the ‘Nova defensive line, has performed admirably this season while replacing two of Villanova’s most decorated defensive linemen in recent history.

During the regular season, Kukucka led the team in both tackles for loss (14.5) and sacks (7.0). Those numbers, coupled with his 51 tackles, an interception, a forced fumble and a blocked kick, helped Kukucka earn All-CAA first team honors. Kukucka has helped anchor a defense that has held opponents to only 13.6 points per game this season, the second lowest total in the conference.

His head coach isn’t surprised.

“Tim is our best defensive lineman,” Talley said.  “He is one of our exciting leaders on the defense and brings a lot of energy.  His enthusiasm and excitement push the other kids on the team to step up.”

Kukucka supplemented his All-CAA statistics with a jaw-dropping performance in this past Saturday’s 46-7 blowout of rival New Hampshire.

Kukucka led the team with six tackles, including 3.5 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks and a forced fumble. Needless to say, neither the wintery conditions nor the UNH offensive line could stop the Wildcats’ stellar showing.

When asked to compare his current star lineman with graduated all-conference defensive linemen Dave D’Allesandro and Greg Miller, Talley said he believed Kukucka to be better than both of them.

“He’s not very big, but he’s real quick,” Talley said. “He is one of those guys you have to get on real fast. He is only about 250 pounds, but he comes flying up the field.  He’s the same at the end of the game as he is at the beginning.  He plays every game full speed ahead.  That can be contagious.  Once he gets going, he can get a lot of our people going.”

The ‘Cats certainly look to Kukucka as a spark for their defense, and as he goes, so go the Wildcats. In the team’s only loss this season, Kukucka registered only half a tackle.

Kukucka will help lead the football team tomorrow night in their semifinal rematch against conference foe William & Mary. With a trip to the national championship on the line, the senior leader will no doubt try to match his impressive performance from his last encounter with the Tribe. On Oct. 3, Kukucka led the team with two tackles for loss and a sack, en route to a hard-fought, 28-17 win.