Football set to face defending runner-up at home

Pat Ralph

After a tough road loss this past weekend against the Richmond Spiders, the Wildcats’ football team will look to get back to its winning ways this Saturday at home against conference foe Towson. 

The No. 4 Wildcats (7-2, 4-1 in CAA play) enter this weekend’s CAA showdown coming off a heartbreaking 10-9 loss this past Saturday against conference opponent Richmond, in which the Spiders snapped Villanova’s seven-game win streak. 

While the ’Cats’ defense was on point all day against Richmond, Villanova played a very sloppy game offensively. 

The attack was kept in check by the Spiders’ defense and managed only 253 yards, its lowest output in over three years. In addition, the Wildcats committed three turnovers.

In order to get back on the winning side of the column Saturday, the ’Cats will need to play a much stronger, cleaner game on the offensive side of the ball. 

One of the biggest reasons for the Wildcats’ success this season has been the explosiveness and efficiency of junior quarterback John Robertson and the offense. 

The ’Cats will need to regain that offensive swagger on Saturday if they still want a shot at the CAA title. 

The one important positive to take into Saturday’s game is the incredible job Villanova’s defense has done all season. 

This past Saturday was no exception, as the ’Cats’ defense forced two fumbles and interceptions. 

The Wildcats’ intensity on defense should be there on Saturday, as it is a huge factor to whether or not the ’Cats can capture a win against Towson.

Speaking of the Tigers, the 2014 season has been an atypical one for the football power. 

After advancing to the national championship last season, the Tigers have struggled this year to 3-5 overall and 1-3 in the conference. 

Unlike the Wildcats, the Tigers have lost to both conference foes Maine and James Madison this season. Towson’s lone CAA win came on the road against Delaware a few weeks back.

Saturday’s game could be exactly what Villanova’s offense needs to get back on track, as Towson’s secondary is not one of its strengths. 

Opponents average over 230 passing yards against Towson’s subpar secondary and have thrown for 11 touchdowns so far this season. 

On the other hand, the Tigers’ passing game has thrown only five touchdowns and averaged just over 130 yards per game. 

Towson’s passing game and defense may not be the strongest, but its run game will be of key concern for the Wildcats’ defense on Saturday. 

The Tigers have rushed for 10 touchdowns and averaged just over 160 yards per game on the ground so far this season. 

The Wildcats’ defense will need to contain Towson’s running attack in order to come away with the victory on Saturday. 

While the Tigers’ rushing attack is strong, their run defense is nothing to brag about. 

Opponents are averaging over 150 yards per game on the ground season and have accumulated 18 touchdowns by way of running the football. 

The strongest part of Towson’s defense is the Tigers’ pass rush. So far this season, the Tigers have racked up over 20 sacks against opposing quarterbacks. 

It will be crucial for the Wildcats’ offensive line to protect Robertson in the pocket and allow him adequate space and time to make big plays and get the ball to his plethora of playmakers. 

While the Villanova-Towson game is always highly anticipated, the matchup this season does lack some of the intrigue of past years, due to Towson’s struggles so far this season. 

If the Wildcats can take advantage of Towson’s weak pass defense and win the battle at the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball, Villanova could very well be on the right side of the scoreboard Saturday evening. 

Kickoff for Saturday’s game at Villanova Stadium is at 7 p.m. 

If you are unable to make the game, the contest can be seen on the All Sports Network and heard on CBS Sports Radio 610 AM.