At 2-3 and with a tough schedule yet to go, it's highly probably that the Villanova Wildcats won't be making the FCS playoffs this year. But with a winnable game this week on the road in Albany, it's a good chance for the 'Cats to get back on the right track and figure some things out. Who knows, maybe they can string a few wins together and make the rest of the season interesting.
This week they'll head north to Albany, who at 2-4 on the season has had just about as rough a go as 'Nova so far in 2015. The Great Danes are coming off two straight blowout losses, so this game is anybody's for the taking.
Here are the three main things to know about Albany.
Yep, Greg Gattuso is still in charge
You may remember that last season Gattuso made headlines when he refused to shake Andy Talley's hand following Villanova's 48-31 win. Gattuso found it "class-less" that Villanova, on Senior Night, let a walk-on running back get a few carries instead of taking a knee with the game well in-hand. That got the folks on this blog pretty riled up, and rightfully so.
Still, there's probably a bit of bad blood on both sides. Talley probably won't use that as motivation to his team, but I bet Gattuso will. With Albany getting killed in consecutive weeks, he really needs a win.
The offense is...not good
The Great Danes are averaging just 16.8 points per game and have scored just 3 touchdowns in the last 3 games. QB D.J. Crook has struggled so far this season throwing for just 164 yards per game, but is starting to find a rhythm with freshman WR Zee Roberson. The pair hooked up 9 times last week for 102 yards and a touchdown.
On the ground, things are even worse. Averaging just over 100 yards per game, backs Elliot Croskey (66.5 ypg) and Elijah Ibitokun-Hanks (26.5 ypg) are struggling to get anything going. Villanova couldn't stop William & Mary last week, but should finds things a bit easier on Saturday.
Things aren't much better on defense
Giving up 31.7 points per outing isn't a good way to play the game, but that's what the Great Danes have been doing. And it's happening in the worst way - on the ground. Opponents have rushed for 183 yards per game so far, making it very hard for the Danes' defense to stay fresh and off the field. The ability to run has made it easier for opponents to pass too - theyr'e completing 63% of their passes for 232 yards per game on average.
The Wildcats gashed Albany for 359 yards rushing last season, so expect that to be the gameplan again with Zach Bednarcyzk still struggling. But this could be a confidence-builder for the Wildcats' signal-caller as well.