‘Cats looking to show their Pride

James Evans

Villanova heads to New York this weekend to play Hofstra, game two of its three game road trip along the Eastern Coast. The No. 7 ranked ‘Cats must make sure they take care of business up on Long Island this weekend, because a loss at this time of the season to the 1-8 Pride, would be devastating to any playoff chances.

PASSING: With the quarterback controversy settled for now under the emergence of Marvin Burroughs at the helm the ‘Cats seem to have gone back to the air attack, which they had started the season with. Burroughs lit up Richmond last week throwing for 245 yards and five touchdowns. Some may argue that those numbers were inflated because he was playing against Richmond, a bottom dweller of the Atlantic 10. Well, it should only get better then for him this week when he takes on the last place team in the A-10, Hofstra. It also has to be comforting for Andy Talley to know that if Burroughs ever gets injured he can turn to Joe Casamento, who dominated the A-10 for the first five weeks of the season.

Pride junior quarterback Andrew English comes into the game averaging 180 yards per game, good enough to rank him seventh in the conference. However, his knack for throwing interceptions has hurt the team. He has a one-to-two ratio, having thrown only six touchdown passes, yet throwing 12 interceptions.

Advantage: Villanova

RUSHING: The ‘Cats running attack has really begun to click of lately. Martin “Mo” Gibson ran for 87 yards this past week on 16 carries and scored a touchdown. Terry Butler also contributed by carrying nine times for 51 yards. Butler’s ability to catch also provides Burrroughs with an outlet if he gets in trouble. However, Burroughs main target coming out of the backfield is fullback Phil DiGiacomo. DiGiacomo has caught 32 passes and is tied for the team lead in touchdowns with four. Another reason the ‘Cats should look to keep the ball on the ground this week, is that Hofstra is ranked second to last in the A-10 in rush defense, giving up 223 yards per game.

The Pride has a tandem at tailback of Trevor Dimmie and Terry Crenshaw, who together have combined for 102 yards on the ground, ranking them dead last in the A 10. If the Pride does get inside the red zone, look for them to hand the ball off to Dimmie, as he leads the team with five touchdowns.

Advantage: Villanova

DEFENSE: Once again the ‘Nova defense finds themselves part of the upper crust of the A-10 standings. The ‘Cats are ranked second in the league when the quarterback drops back to pass only giving up 170 yards a game. Senior cornerback Clarence Curry is the main reason why. He leads the league in passes defended, averaging 1.38 pass break-ups a game. When the opponent runs the ball, the defensive line and linebackers do a good job closing holes and forcing the tailback to run where they want him to. The ‘Cats are giving up a respectable 127 yards on the ground.

On the other hand Hofstra on defense is the tale of two cities. The Pride’s pass defense ranks third in the A-10, shutting down opposing teams quarterbacks and only giving up 180 yards in the air. However, when teams run the ball on them, holes open up big enough for fire trucks to drive through. The Pride’s opponents have gained an outstanding 223 yards on the ground and scored 23 touchdowns.

Advantage: Villanova