CAA Opener For Villanova Saturday At Albany

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Villanova Wildcats will play their Colonial Athletic Association opener on Saturday night when they visit the Albany Great Danes.

Villanova is 2-1 on the season and coming off of an impressive performance last weekend in their home opener against Lafayette. The Wildcats outgained the Leopards 505-77 in posting a 59-0 shutout at Villanova Stadium. It was 20-0 Villanova early in the second quarter when head coach Mark Ferrante says things really snowballed in his team’s favor.

“It started out with an interception return for a touchdown [by Jaquan Amos],” Ferrante tells KYW Newsradio. “Then their very next possession we had a [Taurus Phillips] punt return for a touchdown. Then they went for a 4th and one on their own 29; ironically enough, we had great field position and we didn’t score, we fumbled inside the five-yard line. Then they punted back to us and we scored on the next drive and then another interception return before the half [by Keeling Hunter]. So a 20-0 lead midway through the second quarter turned into 49-0 at halftime.”

And the Wildcats coasted from there, getting some back-up players some valuable reps across the board in the second half.

The Wildcats are getting great production on offense this season from a number of players. Ferrante breaks down the pass catchers.

“Obviously it starts with Ryan Bell, our tight end,” he says. “He’s our leading receiver right now, he has two touchdowns [against Lafayette]. He’s a favorite target of [quarterback Zach Bednarczyk]. Then Taurus Phillips and Jarrett McClenton are two slot receivers. I think Jarrett had [three] catches right in a row [against Lafayette], I think they were the only [three] he had in the game, but he didn’t play the entire second half. He converted a really nice first down for us, gained 19 or so yards on one of his plays. Then Brandon Chadbourn’s doing a nice job with his development.”

This will also be the CAA opener for Albany. The Great Danes are also 2-1 so far this season and coming off a 28-14 win over Monmouth last week.

“They remind me of us in the way that they run to the football,” Ferrante says of the Albany defense. “They gang tackle, they play physical, they’re very aggressive on defense, they move a lot.”

Ferrante also impressed with the skill position players the Great Danes bring to the table on offense.

“They’ve got four wide outs,” he says. “I only remember two of them from last year, so I think there’s a couple of new guys. I think they’ve got a lot of good skill and they’ve got their returning leading rusher in the backfield in [Elijah Ibitokun-Hanks], coming off a season which he had 1400+ yards. So they’re a good team.”

Villanova is 3-0 all-time against Albany, including a 24-13 win on the Main Line last year.

Saturday’s game gets underway at 7:00pm.

You can follow Matt on Twitter @Mattleonkyw.

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