FBALL Preview: ‘Cats host Towson in home finale


Following a strong victory over No. 8 New Hampshire on Nov. 8, Villanova will host the Towson Tigers in its final home game of the ’08 regular season.

At 7-2, the Wildcats have moved into a three-way tie for second place in the CAA, joining New Hampshire and William & Mary behind No. 1 James Madison.

At 3-7, the Tigers are the last-place team in the CAA’s South Division. They are currently on a three-game losing streak, including last week’s 31-21 defeat at Delaware.

Saturday’s contest will make this season the fifth-consecutive year of matchups between Villanova and Towson, with the most recent resulting in a 14-12 victory for the Wildcats.


The Towson offense has an extremely pass-heavy attack, averaging 37.2 pass attempts per game. This attack centers around senior quarterback Sean Schaefer, a fourth-year starter who has amassed 2,645 passing yards and 19 touchdowns so far this season. Schaefer distributes his passes to a wide variety of receivers, four of whom have 35 or more receptions this year. Look for Schaefer to try and carry the offense himself on Saturday and for the majority of his passes to be aimed at senior wide receiver Marcus Lee, who leads the team with 44 catches and four touchdowns.

As for its rushing game, Towson has certainly struggled this season – its 57.2 yards per game average is the worst in the CAA. Averaging only 1.9 yards per carry as a team, do not expect Towson to give its ground attack much of a chance against Villanova, whose CAA-best rushing defense will be looking to improve on its average of 84.9 yards allowed per game.

Villanova is expected to be without All-Conference defensive end Greg Miller.


The Towson defensive unit, meanwhile, ranks between eighth and last in the CAA in every defensive category. Its struggles are due in part to a difficult schedule – the Tigers have played three ranked opponents already this season and finish the year by visiting Villanova and hosting No. 1 James Madison.

However, they have found a strong defensive leader in senior linebacker Jordan Manning, who currently leads the team in tackles for the third-straight season with 85. Look for Manning to play hard as his collegiate career nears its end and for the rest of the Towson defenders to attempt to follow his lead.

Still, the team will have to perform well above the statistics it has amassed so far this season if it hopes to stop the Villanova offense.


Saturday’s meeting will exemplify the common example of a ranked team jockeying for playoff position facing a team with no postseason hopes playing strictly for pride. The key for Villanova will be to make sure it does not take the game lightly and play hard, despite being the clear favorite to win.

If Villanova can consistently create openings for standout sophomore running back Aaron Ball to gain yardage and move the chains on the ground, it will be difficult for Towson to stay in the game. However, if the Tiger defense can make some stops and Schaefer is able to run an efficient offensive attack, Towson has a chance to give the Wildcats some problems.

Villanova 35, Towson 14