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Villanova vs. Penn: 3 Keys to Victory

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Here are 3 keys for the Villanova Wildcats as they look to continue their dominance over their local rivals.

Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Following Villanova's victory over Stony Brook, the Wildcats will look to make it two in a row against the Penn Quakers, who they haven't lost to since 1911. If they want to keep that streak alive, they'll need to execute the following game plan.


1. Protect the football

I'm sticking with this as the most important aspect of the game for the second straight week. Following turnover-ridden efforts vs. Boston College and Fordham, Villanova didn't turn the ball over once against Stony Brook en route to a 35-6 win over the Top-25 outfit.

John Robertson carried a heavy load with over 100 yards passing and rushing, and he'll likely do the same again this weekend. If he can avoid the turnover bug and keep the ball moving, Villanova shouldn't have any problems on offense.

2. Break out the trick special plays

Andy Talley let it be known that he likes to have at least one gadget play in the gameplan every week. Against Boston College, offensive coordinator Sam Venuto called three of them, with the fake punt resulting in an early touchdown. Against Stony Brook, two were called, both resulting in touchdowns. To the best of my knowledge, there weren't any called against Fordham.

For better or worse, Villanova is having great success with the special plays early this season, as they've scored 3 touchdowns (and also thrown 1 interception). Stick with what is working, as it can give the team a ton of momentum.

3. Put them away early

2 years ago, Penn took a lead into the 4th quarter in Villanova Stadium. And although that was a very young, and frankly bad, Villanova squad, that should never be the case.

Penn has a decent roster and within the Ivy League, they're a respectable program. But the difference in talent on the field is enormous, and the only way this game will be close is if Villanova lets Penn hang around. Get some early scores and force some quick 3 and outs by Penn, and this could be over by the half.

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