PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Villanova opens play on Saturday in the FCS (formerly 1-AA) college football playoffs as the team travels to Nacogdoches, Tex. to tangle with the Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks.
The 10th-ranked Wildcats are the defending national champions and coming off a 7-4 regular season, which included a regular season finale win at then-number-one Delaware.
This is actually a second-round playoff game; Villanova earned a first-round bye and head coach Andy Talley (above) says they needed and enjoyed the rest.
“The bye was awesome because it came at a great time — over Thanksgiving,” Talley says. “The players were all able to go home, we were able to get healthy, (wide receiver) Matt Szczur (who has been battling an ankle problem) looks like he is going to be able to play. A lot of our kids who were limping around are feeling a lot better, so it was awesome for us.”
Hear the entire Andy Talley interview in this CBS Philly SportsPod…
Talley says the Lumberjacks, especially their passing game, present a lot of problems:
“A very difficult team to prepare for. Jeremy Moses, their quarterback, has thrown for over 12,000 career yards — broke Ty Detmer and Steve McNair’s record. So they are the number one passing team in the country. So we have to do a great job on defense and try to control the ball on offense.”
Moses has put together a phenomenal senior season for the Lumberjacks. He has thrown for 3,658 yards and 34 touchdowns this season alone, while being intercepted just four times. He is one of the three finalists for the Walter Payton Award — given annually to the offensive player of the year in 1-AA/FCS football.
Villanova has never won a road playoff game in its history, losing all six postseason match-ups away from the Main Line.
The Wildcats qualified for the playoffs for three straight seasons, and that is a first for the program. Kickoff on Saturday is set for 3:30 PM.
Reported by Matt Leon, KYW Newsradio 1060.