"If you were a fan, it was a great game," Villanova head coach Andy Talley opened his press conference with a reference to the tight contest the 'Cats had at William & Mary on Saturday. His team won 35-31 on the road, trailing at times against a Tribe team that seemed energized by a solid homecoming crowd. It is a tough trip for the Wildcats, who spent 6 hours on a bus Thursday night to get to the colonial outpost.
"William & Mary was playing their best game of the year," Talley noted. "which was an unfortunate one for us."
"Tre McBride had over 200 yards, he was phenomenal in the game," he said of the Tribe's top receiver. McBride was seemingly always open, slicing through Villanova's secondary. The Wildcats expected him to be a factor, but as Talley stated, they may have given him too much respect, giving him room to get open in an attempt to prevent the big play.
The big news of the morning, however, was that quarterback John Robertson was named the CAA's Offensive Player of the Week for the fifth time in seven games. Talley was glowing when asked to talk about his redshirt junior signal-caller.
"He's really unflappable," he said. " We will be really excited when we get the cast off his left hand. He's the man -- he's the show for us.
"He's really pushing to be one of the best, if not the best quarterback that ever played at Villanova."
That is some very high praise from a coach who has had some tremendous talent at quarterback in the past, including All-American Brett Gordon. In 2002, Gordon passed for 4,290 yards with a 66.7% completion rate and threw for 36 touchdowns -- he passed for 9,639 yards and 83 scores in his career on the Main Line.
More than halfway through the season, Robertson may not reach Gordon's passing yardage mark, but with 22 passing touchdowns, he is every bit as much a threat to score with his arm as the former All-American was in 2002.
Now the Wildcats will move on to prepare for a homecoming contest against Morgan State on Saturday. Returning to Villanova Stadium, the 'Cats will step out of their CAA slate for a week to face the MEAC school. The Bears are 4-3 on the season and 3-1 in the MEAC, with a Walter Payton candidate of their own at running back -- Herb Walker, Jr.
"We needed a 12th game and they were available," Talley said. "You'd like to stay on schedule with your league games, but in this case, coming off a barn-burner . . . there's not as much pressure since it does not count in the league standings."