Two of the most tenured coaches in the FCS will meet this weekend at Villanova Stadium as Andy Talley (27th season at the helm) and Jimmy Laycock (32nd season) face-off in a CAA matchup. The game starts at 12:00 p.m. ET and will actually be shown on TV! Saturday afternoon's game will be televised live by the Comcast Network and will also air on Comcast SportsNet New England and on Cox 11 in the Tidewater area.
William & Mary has quickly become an FCS power in recent years - Villanova was able to upset them in the FCS semi-finals en route to the national championship in 2009 but didn't fare as well last year, falling 31-24 away.
The Tribe were expected to be one of the very best the FCS had to offer this season, but have gotten off to a rather slow start (2-2) including a loss to James Madison last weekend.
Join me after The Jump for more on the Tribe.
William & Mary On Offense
Sophomore QB Mike Graham is averaging just 154 yards passing per game so far, though he was able to improve on that last week against JMU. The return of Ryan Moody seemed to help Graham, as the two hooked up for 82 yards through the air. His other main target, D.J. Mangas, has compiled 11 receptions for 199 yards through 4 games. Alex Gottlieb rounds out his top trio of WR's.
On the ground, Johnathan Grimes is the top man, yet he's only averaging 76 yards per game so far this year. The Walter Payton award candidate is off to a slow start, but he'll likely be chomping at the bit to attack a Villanova LB corps that has struggled mightily this year.
William & Mary On Defense
Christian Culicerto will likely have his hands full against a typically stout Tribe defense. Though, the 'Cats did one piece of good news as star LB Dante Cook will not play this week after sustaining an injury against JMU. Make no mistake about it though, this is a lunch-pail type of unit for Laycock that has come up big more often than not.
Culicerto will once again need to rely heavily on his running game. Doss, Medley & Monongai will need to have a big game and help open things up for Dorian Wells and Mikey Reynolds through the air.
Why William & Mary Will Win
They're a better all-around team. Their offense is very good, and Villanova's defense has struggled. Plus, despite Culicerto finding more success last week than any other 'Nova QB all season, this will be the best defense they've faced since Temple. I'm not getting my hopes up.
Why Villanova Will Win
We'll have to capitalize and be opportunistic on defense to have a shot. Don't expect many 80-yard drives out of the offense, so like last week, the defense will need to make some big plays. They have the playmakers in the secondary and along the defensive line to do it. Now it's about going out and doing it.
I'm in the NYC area so I will not be able to watch this game on TV (unless I can find an internet link) but we'll throw up an open thread and hopefully get some of our more loyal readers (KShark - that's your cue) to update us in the comments section.