FB Preview: ‘Cats travel to William & Mary

David Cassilo

The first team taking aim at the Top 15 Wildcats will be William & Mary. The Tribe will not only look to pull off the upset but also avenge last year’s 63-24 loss to the Wildcats.


In the win over Richmond, Head Coach Andy Talley chose to start sophomore quarterback Chris Whitney over previous starter red-shirt junior Antwon Young. Whitney was adequate under center as he completed 14 of his 22 passes for 176 yards while throwing one interception. The story of the Wildcat offense, though, was red-shirt sophomore running back Aaron Ball. The tailback had the game of his life, rushing for 134 yards and two touchdowns on 18 carries. Look for the Wildcat offense to rely heavily on Ball again against the Tribe because the team may not be ready to come out throwing with Whitney.


The Wildcat defense should be proud of the work it did against Richmond. The Spiders were only able to run the ball for 83 yards, and senior quarterback Eric Ward never got into a good rhythm for his offense. Much of the credit for last week and the entire season has to be given to the defensive line, where seniors Dave Dalessandro and Greg Miller and junior Tim Kukucka have been pressuring offenses all season. Look for those three to once again anchor the defense on Saturday.


The Tribe enters the game with the No. 1 scoring offense in the CAA, totaling 39.3 points per game. Their total offense and rushing offense are both second in the conference at 403.3 yards per game and 215.3 yards per game, respectively. However, the Tribe has yet to play a CAA opponent. The offense is led by four-year starter red-shirt senior Jake Phillips, who has thrown eight touchdowns and six interceptions thus far this season. Phillips’ go-to receiver is junior D.J. McAulay. The dangerous wideout already has 222 yards receiving and five touchdowns in just three games. Sophomore running back Terrance Riggins has handled the load rushing the football and is averaging 87 yards per game on the ground. Despite having so many playmakers on offense, the Tribe has had trouble holding onto the football and already has 11 turnovers.


William & Mary’s defense has allowed the least yards (277) and passing yards (126.7) per game so far in the conference. Much of that success can be credited to a talented and experienced secondary. Red-shirt senior defensive backs Derek Cox and David Houff each have already intercepted two passes this season for the Tribe. Fellow defensive back junior David Caldwell leads the team in tackles. The junior has amassed 22 tackles in three games.


The Tribe has been able to do almost whatever it has wanted on offense and defense this season, but it has yet to play a conference game. The contest against Villanova will present its hardest FCS opponent of the year thus far. The Tribe should be well-prepared for the contest, coming off a bye week. Look for the Villanova defense to once again control the game, and while the offense may not score 63 points like they did last year, they should be able to put enough on the board for the victory.

Villanova 33

William & Mary 17