Andy Talley has been coaching football longer than any of his players have been alive. He's seen it all, and he knew that after a tough win on the road at William & Mary, things may have been a bit rough on Homecoming weekend. With a surprising Morgan State team heading into town, the expectations may have been a bit high.
"I knew we'd have a little bit of a letdown," the coach said. "In the third quarter, I think we woke up and played the kind of football we're capable of."
The Wildcat shined in the third quarter against Morgan State, but were a bit behind the curve through the first half. They handed the Bears 14 points on two muffed punts by Poppy Livers -- normally a safe bet to field the ball cleanly and often a threat to pick up yardage on punt returns (Livers has twice scored on punt returns).
"Poppy's family was here from California, and his grandfather -- a Villanova legend in track and field -- was here. They had a mass for his grandmother in the morning and I think he was tied up in the emotion," the coach explained. He mis-judged one of the punts and they had a strong cross-wind in the stadium that afternoon, which didn't help.
After the second muffed punt, Talley decided to put Joe Sarnese in to field anymore punts and to let Livers "concentrate on being a receiver."
Looking forward to this weekend, the Wildcats will travel to Richmond for the first of three-straight televised contests. The Spiders are ranked this season with an overall record of 6-2, with their only FCS loss coming against a high-flying New Hampshire team.
"Richmond is big and very physical," Talley noted. Which could bode trouble for the banged-up Wildcats added Gary Underwood's MCL sprain(four weeks) to their list of casualties this weekend. Talley expects that the road-trip will be "a pivotal game for both of us."
"I'm very concerned about the physicality of Richmond," he added. "I'm expecting a very, very tough game on Saturday."
"Winning on the road in the CAA is very difficult."
The trip will be the Wildcats' first to Richmond since they opened the 8,700-seat E. Clairborne Robins Stadium on campus in the 2010 season. Prior to the new facility opening, the Spiders played home games at City Stadium -- a 22,000-seat municipally-owned facility located three miles from the campus and shared with a number of professional and semi-pro soccer teams.