PHILADELPHIA (CBS) –– A week after going down to Nacogdoches, Tex. and blowing out Stephen F. Austin in the second round of the 1-AA (“FCS”) playoffs, Villanova is now traveling to Boone, NC to battle national power #1 Appalachian State on Saturday afternoon in the quarterfinals.  And the Wildcats are hoping to take another step towards defensing their national championship.

The Wildcats scored 47 of the game’s final 50 points last week in that 54-24 win over the Lumberjacks.  Wildcats head coach Andy Talley says that was a top-flight performance by his squad:

“I think we played as well as we could play down there in Texas,” Talley told KYW Newsradio.  “It was a long ride, 8½ hours by plane and bus, but we got there and our kids played extreemly well and played a very good football team, but we brought our A game for sure.”

As for the Mountaineers, Talley says they are just as talented as the Appalachian State teams that won three straight National Championships from 2005 to 2007.

“They are one of the elite teams in the country,” Talley said.  “They have a great player — quarterback — in DeAndre Presley.  (He is) much like Armanti Edwards, their great quarterback of four years, and an awesome football player.  They run and throw, (average) over 450 yards of total offense. They have a good defense and they swarm to the ball.”

Hear the entire interview in this CBS Philly SportsPod…

The Wildcats got a huge boost in the win over Stephen F. Austin from a healthy Matt Szczur.  Hampered virtually all season by ankle issues, the all-everything wide receiver is now healthy and caught 11 passes for 128 yards and a score against the Lumberjacks, while also rushing for 68 yards.

The performance was exactly what Talley wanted to see:

“Matt Szczur is back.”

Kickoff on Saturday is set for noon.  If Villanova wins, they would face the winner of Eastern Washington and North Dakota State in the semifinals.

Reported by Matt Leon, KYW Newsradio 1060.

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