"It was a lot tougher game than the score indicated," Coach Andy Talley said of his Wildcats' 42-14 win on Saturday night. "Towson has a lot of pedigree left [from their National runners-up performance last season]."
Indeed, the Tigers were not easily demolished by Villanova until a series of events in the fourth quarter that allowed the 'Cats to pile on the points in relatively quick succession. The Tigers did well running the ball with Darius Victor, who has been a dangerous runner this season in the starting role. Talley called him, perhaps, the best running back in the CAA, and his statistics would seem to confirm that -- 10 touchdowns and an average of 111.5 yards per game (5.4 per carry).
The Wildcats needed the win after a heartbreaking one-point loss on the road a week prior.
"It was critical to get back on our horse and start flying again," Talley said of his team. The offense had been particularly pedestrian at Richmond, and the 'Cats had been averaging over 40-points per game before that. They now lead the CAA with an average of 38.5 points per game.
Though his quarterback, John Robertson, didn't score more than he has before, pass for more yards, or win the CAA's Offensive Player of the Week, Talley thought his performance was maybe his best of the season.
"He makes us go, for sure."
Robertson passed for three touchdowns and ran another in to account for four of the Wildcats' six touchdowns in the contest. He rushed for 107-yards with his left hand finally out of the soft cast. Even so, he was sacked four times in the contest.
"I think John holds the ball just a hair too long," while looking for a pass, his coach critiqued. Though, Ross Hall's absence has also been a factor, as has defenses' tendency for man-coverage against the 'Cats.
Defensively, the 'Cats did a great job, and Joe Sarnese led the way from the Safety position.
"Joe is the leader in our secondary," Talley noted, "he's playing at the very highest level right now. He's a captain of our team along with Poppy Livers. He's more of a quiet leader, not a holler-guy."
The Wildcats are ultimately hoping to finish the season strong across the last two games; at home versus Albany on Saturday, then a road trip to Delaware a week later. Winning both should be enough to earn the Wildcats a seeding in the 24-team FCS playoff bracket, and hopefully a stretch of home games.
"I think it's incredibly important," Talley said of winning out and securing a home stand. "If we can run the table and get to 10-2," it will set up for a good playoff run.
Travel in the playoffs can be tough, especially if you have to travel far and wide to games, as the 'Cats did on their 2010 run to the Semi-Finals at EWU.
"We had to fly to Spokane and the game was moved to Friday, so we had one-less day to prep," he explained the challenge of being on the road in late December. "The best deal is to be in your place, even if there isn't a big crowd."
For their chances in the final two games, Talley remained cautious. Albany is a 6-4 team that is, "starting to develop a bit of a pedigree," and could challenge the Wildcats next week. When travelling to rivals Delaware, "anything can happen in that game."