Villanova walked out of the Lehigh Valley last Saturday with a 31-14 victory over the Lafayette Leopards, their first road win of the season and their third straight victory since opening with a loss at Pittsburgh. The Wildcats will look to extend the streak this weekend with their first trip outside of the Keystone state -- to Elon University in North Carolina.
The current streak has been driven in a large part by the defense, which has held off opponents, and put up a number of points on the board as well. The 'Cats scored another two defensive touchdowns last weekend, including a nice fumble scoop on the first play from scrimmage.
Here are three things that Villanova fans should know going into the game:
Elon's defense has come alive in the last two games
After a rough start to their season, the Phoenix have won their last two games, holding their opponents to 10 or fewer points in each contest. It was the first time that Elon managed to do that in back-to-back games since the 2009 season. They held Fayetteville State to a field goal, and knocked off #8 William & Mary last weekend, holding the Tribe to just 10 points.
Freshman DB Khalil Moore was named CAA co-Rookie of the Week for their win over William & Mary, after a 10-tackle performance on Saturday. Moore also broke up two passes in the game.
Elon's quarterback situation has been in flux since last season
Daniel Thompson and Connor Christiansen have been fighting it out for the starting QB spot at Elon for most of their careers. Christiansen won out to start this season, but both players started their share of games last season with Thompson being the choice early last season. Christiansen suffered a season-ending injury to his arm in the season opener, kicking the job back to Thompson.
Behind Thompson, the Phoenix have the CAA's third-best passing offense, averaging 206.5 yards per game. He ranked 10th in the league in passing efficiency, however, with a passer rating of 105.1 and two touchdowns this season. The Phoenix QB put up 96 yards and a touchdown last week on 13-of-24 passing.
This is a REALLY young team
Elon's roster is LOADED with first and second-year players. Something around 75% of the Phoenix team has three more years of eligibility left in their college careers. That's a lot of room to grow, surely, but it is also demonstrative of a severe lack of experience for this team. Their leading rusher, Malcolm Summers (64 yards/game), is a sophomore, the top receiver, Jeremiah Bridges, is a freshman, and the quarterback is a sophomore.
Despite their inexperience, the Phoenix have the capability to pull things together and young talent -- while it may make costly mistakes from time-to-time -- is not necessarily incapable of doing great things. After they upset a very good W&M squad last weekend, Villanova won't likely be treating them like a bunch of kids.