That was a tough loss for Villanova last weekend up at New Hampshire, and the injuries continue to pile up with WR Joe Price likely out for the season, while WR Jamal Abdur-Rahman continues to be labeled week-to-week with a knee injury. Down to his second options through the air, John Robertson hasn't been slowed down, winning his second straight CAA POTW honor.
Here's what 'Nova needs to do to beat Maine, which has become a necessity in the minds of many fans and analysts if the Wildcats hope to make the FCS playoffs.
1. Robertson keeps going
With each week that passes, it seems that John Robertson puts more and more onto his shoulders. That plan hasn't failed yet, but it's leaving Villanova's star player exposed to more damage. At this point, it looks like Andy Talley has no choice but to go for broke and rely on the sophomore signal caller.
With Price and possibly JAR out again this year, the running game will need to carry the load. It would be nice to see Kevin Monangai and Austin Medley rip off a few big runs to loosen up the defense, which will certainly be keying in on #19. That hasn't happened in the last few weeks though.
2. Run defense
After getting gashed in the first two weeks of the season on the ground, Villanova switched from their base 3-3-5 defense to a 4-2-5 and 4-3-4 base defense, resulting in a great deal of success. Most notably, they held the Towson's Terrance West to just 61 yards rushing.
Maine, like New Hampshire, sports a balanced attack with QB Marcus Wasilewski and RB Nigel Jones both splitting carries out of the backfield, and Wasilewski's arm is just as dangerous as his legs. It will be interesting to see how the 'Nova defense responds, but one thing is for sure - last week's ground disaster cannot happen again.
3. Homecoming crowd
I'm hard pressed to say that Villanova came out flat last weekend - after all they took a 14-6 lead into halftime. However, the defense clearly tired in the second half while the offense had to rely on the heroics of John Robertson late in the game to give them a chance to win. How fresh the team is coming into the weekend remains to be seen.
One thing that can help - the hometown crowd factor. It should be a great turnout with Homecoming weekend, and if Villanova Stadium gets behind the team early, it could give them the necessary extra lift that sees them through this vital game and back into first place in the CAA. Get loud, 'Nova Nation!
What are your keys to a Villanova victory on Saturday afternoon?