Like the rest of you, I woke up this morning not feeling too much better than I felt when I finally turned the TV off last night. The public outpouring of 'Villanova should have won' and 'these guys can compete in the FBS' level is great to see, but isn't erasing any of the sting.They really should have won. Hell, even the TNIAAM crowd succumbed to that feeling.
What we need to remember, however, is that this game is pretty insignificant to the rest of the season. Sure, it's a feather in the cap and a W on the recod, but win or lose, the FCS playoff committee is going to mostly go off of your record in the FCS. So the main focus was what Andy Talley originally preached - get experience and don't get hurt.
Through two overtimes, 'Nova had accomplished both. The offense looks like it has juggernaut potential. The defense looked equally fantastic. And after two overtimes and with a considerably thinner roster than their counterparts, it was win or go home time for Andy Talley. It was a gutsy call, and one that I applaud even today. His players earned the chance to win the game right then and there, especially after they had just gotten their noses bloodied again by a Syracuse fake field goal.
What I can't get over is the play call. The offense had already been in this position midway through the fourth quarter. Then they had 3 tries to get in. The calls were option-read, QB draw, and a rollout pass (where Poppy Livers was wide open, but a defender knocked the pass down at the line). Robertson power runs didn't work then, and Talley and Sam Venuto should have known better when they had one call to win it.
That's where I have regret. John Robertson looked excellent last night. No doubt in my mind he should have had the ball in his hands. But even more than with his legs, he was masterful through the air. Poppy Livers was having himself a night. Gary Underwood, Mike Burke, and Earnest Pettway had already made huge catches. Why not roll Robertson out and give him the run-pass option? Even if it hadn't worked, there was probably a better chance of success with the entire defense keying on Robertson.
At the end of the day, 'Nova should have already been celebrating on the bus at that point. But to come so far, endure the missed kicks, and execute the goal line stands...it's just a tough pill to swallow.
Good thing they have a quick turnaround next week with a massive OOC game against Fordham. No time to dwell on the past. Eyes forward.