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CAA Coaches Call recap: Villanova fought hard, but has to step up this week

Villanova had a hard-fought win against William & Mary, but Towson awaits the 'Cats this weekend...

Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports

Villanova won a close game on Saturday, one that they led the visiting William & Mary Tribe for only 28 seconds, but the Wildcats were happy with the results. The talk on the CAA Coaches teleconference this morning was mostly centered on the toughness of the game, and the league as a whole.

You can listen to the CAA coaches' conference call here.

William & Mary's Jimmye Laycock agreed with Talley's sentiments, and lamented his team's late-game faltering after playing dominating defense for the first three quarters.

Moving on to this weekend, Villanova  now prepares for a visit to the 6-0 Towson team that took down UConn in one of the biggest FCS-over-FBS margins of victory in the past decade. The Tigers had mostly feasted on weaker teams since then, lining up against Holy Cross, Delaware State and NC Central; but they got a taste of reality against Stony Brook two weeks ago, coming back to win 35-17, and took down a UNH team with high expectations, 44-28, after falling behind 20-3 in the first quarter.

The Tigers' running back Terrance West is the key to their team, and West has been one of the best in the country since his freshman year in 2011. On Saturday, he ran for 238 yards and three touchdowns and earned CAA Offensive Player of the Week honors this morning for his effort. Towson linebacker Telvion Clark also locked down weekly defensive honors for his team-high 11 tackles and a pair of forced turnovers.

Even with their success so far this season, Towson's head coach Rob Ambrose won't be taking their meeting with Villanova lightly. The Wildcats are a program that he respects in the league and will pull out all of the stops to get a win at Unitas Stadium this week.

Villanova is gearing up for a big test against an impressive Towson program that has gone from worst to first in the CAA under the leadership of former UConn assistant Rob Ambrose. As the two preseason favorites, this game was picked up to feature nationally on NBC Sports Network's lineup.

The full list of CAA Weekly awards follows:

Offensive Player of the Week: Terrance West, Jr., RB, Towson
West earns his 10th CAA Football weekly honor – the most in league history – after leading unbeaten Towson past nationally-ranked New Hampshire on Saturday. CAA Football’s Preseason Offensive Player of the Year, the junior finished the game with a season-high 238 yards on 28 carries and a three-touchdown effort highlighted by a 50-yard run. What’s more, West is now second in the program annals after surpassing the 3,000-yard mark (3,226) and his 59 career scores rank fifth all-time in CAA Football.

Defensive Player of the Week: Telvion Clark, Sr., LB, Towson
Clark paced Towson with a team-high 11 tackles, including six solo and a sack for a loss of nine yards, as the top-three Tigers turned in another solid defensive showing against UNH. The senior would also force a pair of fumbles, both of which led to touchdowns, for a Towson squad that leads the league with a +5 turnover margin and limited the Wildcats to just eight points over the final three quarters on Saturday.

Special Teams Player of the Week: Conner Arnone, Soph., P/PK, James Madison
Arnone had a stellar all-around day in the Dukes’ win over UAlbany, finishing with a 49.5-yard punt average on four punts that included a career-long 65-yarder. The sophomore also averaged 60.8 yards on eight kickoffs that featured three touchbacks in a special teams effort that forced the Great Danes to on average begin drives from their 27-yard line.

Rookie of the Week: Gage Steele, R-Fr., LB, James Madison
Steele broke open for a career day against the Great Danes, turning in an 18-tackle effort that leads the league through the opening six weeks of the season. The rookie racked up 13 solo stops and one sack in JMU’s dominant win, with four of his tackles ending Dane drives. Steele’s showing highlighted a defensive unit that held UAlbany to just 81 rushing yards and five of 19 third-down conversions on Saturday.