This weekend the Villanova Wildcats take a long bus ride up to Kingston, Rhode Island for a game against the 3-5 Rams. Despite their weak record, the Rams already have a win over the 5-3 New Hampshire Wildcats this season, a match-up that they have rarely won the past few years. This is not an opponent that you can look past.
Senior WR/QB/KR Matt Szczur will still be sitting out this week -- his earliest return would be at home against New Hampshire or in the last week of the season at Delaware. Expect Mikey Reynolds to fill in for him at slot receiver and RB Angelo Babbaro will continue to take any wildcat-formation snaps as they have since the injury occurred in week 2.
Villanova is 14-2 all-time against Rhode Island and a loss, even in Kingston is unlikely if the 'Cats keep their foot on the gas this week. Just last year the 'Cats demolished this team 36-7 in the rain on homecoming.
While the Wildcats' running game has been strong for the past few weeks, including some excellent running from Chris Whitney himself, the offense was in danger of becoming far too predictable last weekend, almost always running on first down. Predictability in football leads to ineffectiveness.
In Szczur's absence, Whitney has evolved into Villanova's superman on the field. So far the senior quarterback is 4th in the nation and leads the CAA (home to highly touted QBs like Pat Devlin, Aaron Corp and Greg Paulus) in passing efficiency while scoring 15 touchdowns passing and 7 more with his feet. He currently ranks 10th in FCS football (and tops in the CAA) for "points responsible for."
The Rams have a 2-1 record at home this season and can lock up their first winning home record at home since 2001 with a win. It is without a doubt that this will be a motivated team.
Quarterback Steve Probst has registered very few big passing games for the Rams, but he is one of the team's leading rushers. Rhody's run-heavy offense is a good match for the Wildcats who have had their best defensive efforts against run-heavy teams.
In each of Rhode Island's three wins, they also won the turnover battle. Limiting mistakes will therefore be a point of emphasis for Andy Talley as his team travels north for the game.
The game kicks off at Noon from Kingston, RI and will apparently not be televised
on the Comcast Network and Comcast SportsNet New England.