Looking to finish strong, No. 3 ‘Cats travel to Towson for final road game

Joe DeNicholas

Coming off a thrilling win against top-ranked Richmond, the Wildcats look to build momentum as they battle Towson this Saturday in Maryland.

The Towson Tigers have not had a great season thus far, owning an overall record of 2-7 and 1-5 in CAA play. All season the Tigers have struggled mightily to put up significant points on the board. They were shut out 31-0 in their latest defeat at the hands of William & Mary last weekend. Towson’s only victory in conference play came against a lowly one win over the Rhode Island squad.

If the ‘Cats manage to beat Towson on Saturday and defeat Delaware in the season finale, then Villanova will lock up home-field in the playoffs. The two opponents are having less-than-stellar seasons, allowing the Wildcats to control their own destiny if they can take care of business. Home field advantage is huge for the ‘Cats, whose only loss this season was on the road at New Hampshire.

“In the playoffs it is incredibly important to be home, especially in light of some of the teams we are going to end up having to play,” explained Head Coach Andy Talley, “We have to run the table. We can’t leave it up for grabs.”

In last year’s playoffs, Villanova lost in their first away game.

“Last year we were 9-2, we weren’t seeded and we got the first home. Then they sent us to play at No. 1 James Madison. You don’t want to be there, so it is critical for us to concentrate on Towson.”

Towson has had a rocky season, making them a very desperate team capable of surprising its opposition.

“They are a team that has nothing to lose,” Talley said. “They can throw just about anything they want out there, and they are going to be very loose. It is a team that has been knocked around a little bit but has given teams a tough time in the first half.”

Starting cornerback Eric Loper is nursing a sprained MCL, and his status for the game is uncertain. Center Brian Brannigan re-aggravated his foot injury, and his status for this weekend is also uncertain.

Loper has been a dependable member of one of the stronger secondaries in the conference this season after supplanting former starter sophomore Joshua Potts.

Brannigan has been a four-year starter shifted to center after playing guard earlier in his career. Both players would be missed if absent.

Winning in such dramatic fashion against Richmond could lead to an emotional letdown against Towson, but Talley is relying on the maturity of his players, especially the upperclassmen, to maintain the high level of play.

“We come into the game coming off a high, and now we will probably come down a bit, but we need to just play evenly to get this win.”

Talley and his Wildcats are not taking the opponent lightly and are preparing as usual to secure home field advantage.

“I think we are probably better than they are,” Talley said. “We need just to play sound football, don’t get crazy and play the way we have been playing.”