‘Cats looking to squash spiders

James Evans

The ‘Cats start a three-game road trip this week, beginning in Richmond, Va. and ending in Maine. The three-game stretch will be absolutely crucial if they want a chance at the Atlantic 10 title and a playoff berth.

As ‘Nova looks forward to its playoff push, it has no time for a let-down, especially on the road against its remaining opponents.

Its finale against Delaware at home is by far and away the hardest that ‘Nova still has to play; but any game that has the ‘Cats traveling to Maine in late November is never easy.

This week the ‘Cats will have to focus on the Spiders, and look to get back to their winning ways after a heart-breaking loss to UMass last weekend.

The Spiders are not a dominant team, with a record of 2-5, but won their last two games and the ‘Cats need to make sure not to get tangled in any of their webs.

PASSING: Everybody loves a quarterback controversy, except for the coach that has to make that decision and the players that he has to choose from.

Well, just like Tom Brady vs. Drew Bledsoe in New England some years ago and Marc Bulger vs. Kurt Warner in St. Louis this year, the Main Line has been hit by its own quarterback question, redshirt freshman Marvin Burroughs vs. sophomore Joe Casamento.

Going into last week, Casamento was still the star of the A-10, averaging 250 yards a game and having the best completion rating in the conference.

However, after some poor decisions and a couple of costly interceptions last week, head coach Andy Talley went with Burroughs.

Burroughs impressed the crowd with his speed and his arm, and if not for a bizarre and costly fumble late in the game, he would have led the ‘Cats to a comeback win.

With all that being said, the ‘Cats’ air attack will be sure not to miss a beat no matter who plays quarterback tomorrow.

The Richmond passing game staggered out of the gates, but of late has been getting back on track.

Spiders quarterback Bryson Spinner had his fifth straight game passing for over 200 yards. He has also reached double figures in touchdown passes with 10, but he can be wild as well, as he has thrown for 10 interceptions.

Advantage: Villanova

RUSHING: The ‘Cats’ running game was non-existent last week, only gaining 135 total yards, with Martin “Mo” Gibson and Terry Butler once again carrying the load. Butler gained 47 yards on nine carries and Gibson gained 40 yards on eight carries.

The running game started off well, but the ‘Cats were down early and decided to try to pass their way back into the game.

However, ‘Nova is a solid running team and should look to get back to the ground attack this week against the Spiders.

Richmond’s running game is pathetic averaging only 141 yards, and is ranked third to last in the Atlantic 10 in rushing.

The Spiders are also having trouble finding one back that can be counted upon, as they have split the job up between three backs.

Not one of those backs is averaging over 50 yards a game, but the three have combined for eight touchdowns.

Advantage: Villanova

DEFENSE: The number one A-10 defense seems to get better as the weeks come and go.

Last week lineman Darrell Adams stepped up and had a huge game and showed how single-handedly he could dominate a game.

Adams led the team with eight tackles in the game, including a sack.

The most amazing thing was that number of tackles he had on the other side of the line, getting to the running back before he could make a move or run to the outside. Adams had five tackles in the backfield, which totaled 19 yards in losses for the Minutemen.

The defense also played solid the whole game and if not for a miscue on a deep ball, they could have held UMass to only field goals.

Richmond’s defense is practically the mirror image of the ‘Cats. Its run defense is ranked dead last in the A-10 giving up 238 yards per game. However, where it lacks on rush defense it makes up with passing defense.

Richmond has one of the better defensive secondaries in the league, only allowing 175 yards in the air. If head coach Andy Talley is smart, he should keep a constant ground attack going.

Advantage: Villanova

SPECIAL TEAMS: The ‘Cats’ special teams has been a solid contributer to the team this year, never giving up big plays, while still giving the team good field position.

As for the punting game, Adam James is in the middle of the pack, averaging 40 yards a kick. James has hit four of six field goals this year and has been more reliable.

The Spiders punter Chris Radford has been a steady player this year, averaging 40-yards a kick. However, their field goal kicking crew is somewhat shaky. Kicker Joseph Fore has attempted just eight field goals this year, but has been able to hit only two of them.

Advantage: Villanova