Villanova Football Kicks Off 2018 Season


Courtesy of

Villanova Football Kicks Off 2018 Season

Nick France

Mark Ferrante’s second year at the helm will begin at Lincoln Financial Field this Saturday as the Villanova Wildcats pay a visit to the Temple Owls for a 12 p.m. kickoff.

Ferrante’s 5-6 record in his debut season was rather disappointing. However, much of the team’s struggles can be attributed to an unavoidable issue, injury. Many of the essential players lost to injury last season have returned for another year in the blue and white.

The offensive side of the ball is led by Zach Bednarczyk, who returns following a year in which an early injury caused him to miss much of the season. Following his injury, the Wildcats suffered from an endless quarterback carousel for the remainder of the year. In addition, many receiving targets went down injury throughout the year, such as Changa Hodge, Adeyemi DaSilva, Julian Liaci and tight end Ryan Bell. With consistency under center in 2018 and the return of offensive weapons, the Wildcats should look to bounce back from a year in which they were the second-to-last passing offense in the CAA.

On the ground, meanwhile, the Wildcats return their entire stable of backs. Notable among these returnees are Matt Gudzak and captain Aaron Forbes, the team’s top two rushers from a year ago. The pride of this offense, however, would be the offensive line, led by All-Conference and All-American offensive lineman Ethan Greenidge. Anchored in the crucial left tackle spot, Greenidge looks to be the top dog on a line complimented by three other returning starters, Brandon Hitner, Louie Csaszar and Paul Grattan.

 Despite the trouble on the offensive side of the ball in 2017, the Wildcats held together with a stout defense. The Villanova defense finished fourth in the nation in rushing yards allowed, holding opponents to only 76.2 rushing yards per game. The Wildcats held the same Owls who they will match up against this week to just 79 rushing yards in last year’s Mayor’s Cup matchup.

Seniors Rob Rolle and Jeff Steeb are the two most significant leaders on the defensive side of the ball, after having been named captains by their teammates earlier in the offseason. Rolle is in his second consecutive season as a preseason All-American, despite the injury that cut his season short a year ago. Steeb, meanwhile, is coming off a season in which he led the Wildcats in tackles for loss, as well as finishing second in total tackles.

This Saturday, the Villanova football team will look to kick off their season with an upset against a bitter rival, the Temple Owls. The Owls finished last season 7-6 and ended their campaign with a 28-3 victory in the Gasparilla Bowl over FIU. This is the Owls’ second year under head coach Geoff Collins after he was selected to replace current Baylor coach, Matt Rhule. The Owls are predicted to finish third in The American Conference East division by the AAC media poll.

The Mayor’s Cup matchup should be an interesting one, despite the rarity of FCS upsets over FBS teams upsets. Temple leads the series 16-15-2, and have won eleven of the last fifteen matchups since 1971, including the previous four. However, an ailing Villanova team nearly beat out Temple last year, losing only 16-13. With the number of returnees for the Wildcats combined with the chips on their shoulder from last year’s disappointment, look for this game to be a close one.