Villanova will be on the road for the second-straight week, this time traveling to the Bronx to face the Fordham Rams on Saturday at 6:00 PM Eastern. The two teams have met annually for a couple of years now, and it has been a competitive series that coincided with a pretty impressive rise for the Rams. Two years ago, the Rams knocked off an error prone Wildcats team at their house, but they struggled on the Main Line last season, losing 50-6 (Fordham was nonetheless a playoff team last season).
The Rams are coming of a 37-35 victory over FBS Army, however, and will be feeling confident on Saturday evening. Villanova lost a competitive game against the UConn Huskies last Thursday and will be seeking to avoid an 0-2 start to the season.
Here's three things to know about the Rams:
RB Chase Edmonds is the truth
Villanova held Edmonds to -5 yards last season, but that result was more of a fluke than anything else when you look at the 2014 Jerry Rice Award-winner's resume. He rushed for 100 yards nine times last season and finished the year with 1,539 yards and 21 touchdowns. He ranked eighth nationally in rushing yards per game (128.3) and all-purpose yards per game (165.5).
The 5-9, 185-pound tailback from Harrisburg, absolutely tore it up against Army over the weekend. He torched their defense for 110 yards and three touchdowns on the ground, and picked up another 140 yards on six catches in the passing game. He's clearly Fordham's key playmaker out there, and will be one of the top candidates for the Walter Payton Award at the end of the season if he keeps up that productivity.
The Rams have a FBS Transfer at quarterback
No, not Michael Nebrich -- though he did transfer from UConn. The Rams have replaced their graduated QB with another transfer, from Marshall University. Kevin Anderson didn't appear in a game for the Thundering Herd, and served as a backup last year at Fordham, appearing in one game.
Against Army, he passed for 322 yards and completed 15 of 23 passes; he had no touchdown passes, but he hardly needed one with Edmond's productivity. He recorded 266 of those yards in the first half alone.
Anderson was a two-star recruit coming out of high school in Boca Raton, Florida; with his recruiting stock hurt somewhat when he missed two-thirds of his senior season in high school with a collarbone injury. He graduated high school early, however, and enrolled for Spring practice in 2013. In his last full high school season, he completed 123-of-254 passes for 1,712 yards and 11 touchdowns with nine interceptions and carried the rock 59 times for 107 yards and three scores.
This is a brand new defense
Fordham graduated 10 starters from their 2014 defensive unit. Former Patriot League Defensive Player of the Year, linebacker Stephen Hodge is back, after missing last season with a knee injury, and will likely be their defensive leader this season. Cornerback Jihaad Pretlow will be another key player on the Rams defense after Transferring in from Temple, where he appeared in eleven games for the Owls. Junior defensive lineman Josh Klecko (of the NY Sack Exchange lineage) also gives the Rams another reinforcement from the FBS ranks after transferring in from Rutgers.
How good is this defense though? The Rams allowed Army to chew up 389 yards, including 133 in the air (a lot for a triple-option offense). Army scored 35 points on five touchdowns as well. The Wildcats fared slightly better last week against their FBS foe, allowing just 105 yards on the ground and 307 yards of offense in total and just three scores.