‘Cats prepare for Big Five showdown at the new ‘Link’

James Evans

The Wildcats will take part in a monumental game tomorrow, when they take on Temple, at the first ever collegiate game to be held at the Lincoln Financial Field, the new home of the Philadelphia Eagles. The Owls are coming off a closely contended game against the nationally revered Penn State, 23-10.

“What I was hoping for is that they would have looked past us, because of their game against Penn State,” Villanova head coach Andy Talley said. “I have a feeling though everyone will be focused on the game so they will probably be ready for us, just because it is such a big local game”

The Owls are a Division I team from the Big East resulting in a schedule that includes playing Miami, Virginia Tech, Pittsburgh and Boston College yearly. So to say they are well tested out is an understatement.

The ‘Cats have fared well themselves recently against D-I teams, when they thrashed Rutgers last year, at Rutgers beating them 37-19. The win marked the first time ‘Nova defeated a D-I school since rejoining collegiate football in 1985 as a I-AA program. However, this time around the ‘Cats are playing a better team that has more depth and is nationally more respected than the Rutgers football program.

“Temple is a better team than Rutgers and they are much more competitive, they had Miami in trouble last year and they had Pitt in trouble,” Talley said. “They have more athletes and they are a more established program than Rutgers was.”

The ‘Cats played Rutgers tight last year and headed into halftime with a 17-13 lead. After a closely contested third, were able to blow away the Scarlet Knights in the fourth quarter.

“For us when you play a team like that the problem you always have when you play a Division I team is lasting into the second half,” Talley said. “They usually wear you down with their size and speed. So we have to be able and the thing we were able to do against Rutgers, we overtook them in the third quarter and actually wore them down last year.”

“That’s what I am hoping, our team last year could probably hang with a lot of Division I-A teams, this team this year, I’m not sure yet,” Talley said.

“But we have to be able to get into the fourth quarter with Temple and convince them that we have a chance to win the game.”

The ‘Cats go into the game as the obvious underdog. This, however, is not always a negative because then people expect the favored team to win which can cause pressure on that team.

“Because they [Rutgers] don’t think there is anyway we can beat them, that is a real advantage for a us,” Talley said. “We have to go into that game and establish ourselves early and when the big punches are thrown we have to be able to stay there in the third and fourth quarter and keep swinging and then just hope you’re on the long end of stick at the end. And that’s what we did at Rutgers, because we really broke that game open in the fourth quarter.”

The ‘Cats may be blown of the field early Saturday, but if quarterback Joe Casamento plays the way he did last Thursday and the defense stays stingy, the ‘Cats could be off to a very impressive 2-0 start, with a couple of big wins under their belts.