Reporting Matt Leon
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – A couple of teams that really need a win will meet Saturday night at Franklin Field, as Villanova takes on the University of Pennsylvania.
The Wildcats are a very uncharacteristic 0-3, while the Quakers lost their season opener last week in uncharacteristic fashion, 37-12, at home to Lafayette.
Penn head coach Al Bagnoli says his team needs a lot of improvement from its week-one performance.
“I think it starts with me and our preparation and our approach to the game and our energy level,” he says. “And then hopefully we can focus in a little bit better and correct some of these mistakes that we had against Lafayette.”
Hear Matt Leon’s full interview with Penn coach Al Bagnoli in this CBS Philly SportsPod…
The Wildcats come into this game after losing, 20-9, last week to Monmouth on the Main Line. Head coach Andy Talley says that was a frustrating defeat.
“We just really couldn’t put anything together offensively and struggled somewhat and left them in the game, and they got us at the end,” Talley says. “We had a couple of touchdowns called back that we thought were good. So when that happens, we’re just not good enough right now to overcome that.”
Hear Matt Leon’s full interview with Villanova coach Andy Talley in this CBS Philly SportsPod…
Click to download Andy Talley interview
These Penn-Villanova games have been classics over the past decade, with just about every matchup coming down to the final quarter — if not the final drive or even the final play.
However, Villanova always comes out on top: they’ve won ten straight against Penn. Despite not having a win in this series to his credit, Bagnoli enjoys playing the Wildcats:
“It’s good for our kids. It challenges them. It puts them in an environment where they have to produce. And they have to play at a high level for 60 minutes or things can get ugly pretty quick.”
Talley says he knows the Quakers will bring their “A” game on Saturday, because they always do against his Wildcats.
“National Championship year (2009), they almost beat us. We won the game on the last play of the game. So they are very, very good and very talented, so we know it’s going to be a rough game,” Talley tells KYW Newsradio.
On offense, Talley is giving the keys to that unit to a third different starting quarterback already this season.
“We’re going to go with Christian Culicerto, he’s our senior. He’s a walk-on guy that we love. I think (he) is pretty gutty and gritty, and we are hoping he can create some excitement for us Saturday night.”
Culicerto is 21-43 this season, throwing the football for 278 yards, one touchdown, and one interception.
Bagnoli says he knows that Villanova is much better than their 0-3 record would indicate.
“Hopefully this isn’t the week that they put everything together. But they certainly have the athletes and they certainly have them in a position where, if they can iron out some of these mistakes, they can be very dynamic.”
Kickoff is set for Saturday at 7:00pm, at Franklin Field.
Reported by Matt Leon, KYW Newsradio 1060