This weekend the Villanova Wildcats travel South to face the Richmond Spiders in a mid-season CAA clash that has title implications. The ‘Cats are undefeated and riding high after a couple of blowouts over Elon and Rhode Island, while the Spiders are 2-1 in the conference but ranked in the FCS Top 10.
The Spiders were picked to win the conference this season, and opened some eyes by beating FBS Virginia on the road to open the season. Two weeks later they were destroyed by Stony Brook, and have since snuck by Colgate, Towson and Albany. They’re playing well, but not as well as they are capable of.
The winner will take a big step forward in the battle for CAA supremacy.
Here are 3 things to know about Richmond Football:
Injuries are mounting in Richmond
The Spiders lost starting RB Gordon Collins in the second game of the season, and then this week announced that RB Xavier Goodall and S David Jones (the CAA’s preseason Defensive Player of the Year) were out for the season as well.
Deontez Thompson will slide in to start at RB, and he went over 100 yards last week as the Spiders’ offense continued to perform well. Can he do it again vs. the CAA’s top defense?
Losing a player of Jones’ caliber in the secondary leaves a gap that Zach Bednarczyk and Taurus Phillips will look to exploit.
Kyle Lauletta - best QB in the CAA?
The (RS) junior hails from Villanova’s backyard in Exton, Pa. and is having a monster season. He leads the CAA in passing and the Spiders have one of the best offenses in the conference. With a thin backfield, expect Lauletta to air it out to star receiver Brian Brown.
The Wildcats faced Lauletta last season and held him mostly in check to score a big home victory late in the season. Can win the battle again?
Villanova ready for primetime?
To date, the ‘Cats are yet to play a ranked opponent, while Richmond has played both Colgate and Albany and passed those tests. This will be a massive test for Andy Talley’s team and will provide a litmus test for the rest of the season.
The schedule only gets more difficult from here on out for the ‘Cats - a win here would set them up well for a playoff spot.