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Villanova football ranked 23rd in STATS preseason poll

The Wildcats will open the 2016 football season — coach Andy Talley’s last -- in the rankings.

Villanova FB vs. BC

The Wildcats will open the 2016 Football season ranked 23rd in the nation.

Villanova finished out of the playoffs in 2015, after superstar quarterback John Robertson’s knee injury forced them to hand the reigns of the offense over to freshman Zach Bednarczyk a season earlier than expected. Bednarczyk was turnover-prone as a freshman, but showed some promise.

The Wildcats return a lot of familiar faces on both sides of the ball, and should be particularly strong on defense. While linebacker Don Cherry will be missed this fall, Austin Calitro will become one of the leaders of a strong linebacker corps, and defensive end Tanoh Kpassagnon is expected to turn in a very strong season. If some of the young players get off to a fast start this season, the ‘Cats could turn in a strong performance this Fall to send-off the program’s longtime coach, Andy Talley.

That’s why the ‘Cats open the season in the STATS FCS Preseason top-25 poll. Voted on by a panel of sports information and media relations directors, broadcasters, writers, and other FCS “dignitaries,” the STATS poll is the most-respected ranking of FCS football programs.

The poll is topped by North Dakota State for the sixth year in a row -- no surprise, given their five-straight national titles.

Villanova is joined by five other programs from the CAA. Richmond checks in highest on the list at 4th, followed by number-nine William & Mary and number-12 JMU. The Wildcats are bookended by number-22 New Hampshire and number-24 Towson.

Rank School Votes Prev
1 North Dakota State (0-0) 3941 (152) NR
2 Sam Houston State (0-0) 3636 (2) NR
3 Jacksonville State (0-0) 3569 (4) NR
4 Richmond (0-0) 3418 NR
5 UNI (0-0) 3413 NR
6 Chattanooga (0-0) 2758 NR
7 Charleston Southern (0-0) 2734 NR
8 South Dakota State (0-0) 2554 NR
9 William & Mary (0-0) 2517 NR
10 Illinois State (0-0) 2303 NR
11 McNeese State (0-0) 2151 NR
12 James Madison (0-0) 2037 NR
13 Montana (0-0) 1921 NR
14 Eastern Washington (0-0) 1879 NR
15 Citadel (0-0) 1535 NR
16 Coastal Carolina (0-0) 1397 NR
17 Portland State (0-0) 1262 NR
18 Northern Arizona (0-0) 1189 NR
19 North Dakota (0-0) 977 NR
20 Western Illinois (0-0) 876 NR
21 Colgate (0-0) 767 NR
22 New Hampshire (0-0) 657 NR
23 Villanova (0-0) 652 NR
24 Towson (0-0) 428 NR
25 North Carolina A&T (0-0) 395 NR