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Villanova vs. Stony Brook: 3 Keys to Victory

Here are 3 keys for the Villanova Wildcats as they look to win their first game of the season.

Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

Following Villanova's loss to Fordham 2 weeks ago, head coach Andy Talley said on the weekly CAA conference call that he felt the bye week came at the perfect time for a Villanova team reeling with injuries and a lack of confidence.

1. Protect the football

Following a 4 turnover effort vs. Boston College, Villanova gave the ball away 6 times vs. Fordham in another disappointing offensive performance. Stony Brook is displaying an offense that is thus far proficient both on the ground and through the air, and if Villanova gives them extended opportunities with the football in good field position, they will likely make the Wildcats pay for their mistakes.

John Robertson has turned the ball 7 times in 2 games and has looked far from the quarterback that won the Jerry Rice Award a season ago. He's the prime culprit with the turnovers, and if he doesn't turn around his play soon, Villanova's season will be lost.

2. The running game must improve

John Robertson's four interceptions thus far as in part due to Villanova's increased rate at which they are throwing the football. Why are they throwing it more? Because the running game is completely absent. Kevin Monangai has a quiet week 1 against BC, and save a 57-yard run, was struggling against two week ago against Fordham.

It's not all Monangai though as the offensive line, which was expected to be one of the strongest points on the team, has been unable to get anything going in two games thus far. The lack of a running game has led to shorter possessions for Villanova, more time on the field for an already weakened defense, and the eventual need to throw the ball while the team plays catch-up.

3. Early confidence

The Fordham game was a disaster from the get-go, but against Boston College the team struck early and often and gained the necessary confidence to compete with a solid FBS level opponent for 3 1/2 quarters. An early touchdown drive, or an early turnover forced by the Villanova defense could be key in helping this team regain some swagger in a tough conference matchup.

A strong crowd on opening day would be a huge boost as well, but that may be wishful thinking.

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