By Matt Leon
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Villanova football’s remarkable bounce-back season continues on Saturday as the Wildcats open play in the FCS playoffs, visiting Stony Brook in the first round.
Villanova won just two games in 2011, but this year they have returned to their usual place in the postseason after going 8-3. Head coach Andy Talley is proud of his young team.
“They worked real hard in the off-season and we were shooting for a terrific year and we had it,” Wildcats head coach Andy Talley tells KYW Newsradio. “Kind of got lucky at the end and got the automatic qualifier. The last two weeks we’ve been lights out, beat JMU, beat Delaware at Delaware. So this is a good team.”
Talley likes where his team is heading into the post-season.
“We’re playing very well. We’re banged up, but that’s what happens in the black-and-blue league that you end up with. If we could’ve gotten a bye it would’ve been great, but we didn’t. So we’ve got to go into this first round ready to play championship football, because it is one and done.”
Villanova got a tough first-round draw with this very good Stony Brook team out of the Big South Conference that went 9-2 during the regular season. Talley says they have an impressive resume.
“They beat Army (23-3), at Army. They gave Syracuse a great game up in the dome, 28-17. They’re very physical, very physical. Terrific running game. They have the leading rusher in the country in FCS football. And play really good defense.”
That leading rusher is senior Miguel Maysonet, who pounded out 1,721 yards and 19 touchdowns this season while averaging an incredible 7.7 yards a carry. He is the Big South Offensive Player of the Year.
However, Villanova knows how to tote the rock as well, as they average more than 260 yards a game on the ground with the one-two punch of sophomore running back Kevin Monangai (1,190 yards and 11 touchdowns) and redshirt freshman quarterback John Robertson (936 yards and 13 touchdowns). Talley says they have to be able to run the football on Saturday to have success.
“We need to run the ball against these guys, take some time off the clock and score. But they’re going to do the same thing to us. So it’s going to be a battle of will I’m pretty sure.”
Villanova and Stony Brook kick-off at 3:00pm on Saturday afternoon in Stony Brook, New York.
You can follow Matt on Twitter @mattleonkyw.