Villanova puts 5-1 road record to test in playoffs

Posted: November 24, 2012

Villanova football coach Andy Talley would have liked a little rest, but there is none in sight. It beats not playing at all, but Talley said his 8-3 team is tired and banged up as it visits Stony Brook for Saturday's first-round Football Championship Subdivision playoff game.

Talley said he had hoped Villanova would receive a first-round bye. Since it did not, he said the only thing the Wildcats can do is focus on a 9-2 Stony Brook team that is averaging 39.1 points per game.

"We have to find a way to overcome being banged around and beat up, and we don't have the [time] to rest," Talley said. "The CAA is a brutal league, and when you get to the playoffs this quickly, it's tough."

Villanova earned its playoff berth with last week's 41-10 win at Delaware. Stony Brook has not played since a 28-14 loss at Liberty on Nov. 10 in Lynchburg, Va.

The Wildcats are 5-1 on the road, with the only loss an opening 41-10 defeat to Temple at Lincoln Financial Field.

"I feel we are an amazing road team," said running back Kevin Monangai, who led the CAA with 1,190 rushing yards. "As a team it excites us to be on the road."

Stony Brook coach Chuck Priore understands what he is up against. He was an assistant coach at Penn from 1992 to 1999 and knows the type of program Talley has built.

"Watching film of them I see a complete team, a championship team," Priore said.

Talley sees a tired team, one that will have to play without leading sacker Rakim Cox, out with a knee injury.

For Stony Brook, quarterback Kyle Essington is out for the game because of a thigh injury, a school official said on Friday. Lyle Negron, a 6-foot-1, 215-pound junior who has attempted five passes this season, will get the start.

Villanova has overcome nagging injuries all season, and redshirt freshman quarterback John Robertson, who has started every game since entering in relief during the opener against Temple, has energized the Wildcats.


Villanova at Stony Brook

Saturday at 3 p.m., LaValle Stadium, Stony Brook, N.Y.

Online/Radio: ESPN3;ESPN-AM (950).

Records: Villanova, 8-3; Stony Brook, 9-2.

Coaches: Villanova, Andy Talley (28th season at Villanova, 198-119-1); Stony Brook, Chuck Priore (seventh season at Stony Brook, 46-33).

Series: First meeting.

Three things to watch

Villanova led the Colonial Athletic Association in rushing, averaging 263.4 yards per game. Stony Brook averages 290.5. Stony Brook quarterback Kyle Essington has thrown 22 touchdown passes and Villanova's John Robertson has thrown 14. But Essington is out for the game with a thigh injury. Lyle Negron, a 6-foot-1, 215-pound junior who has attempted five passes this season, will get the start.

Norman White, Villanova's 6-foot-4, 220-pound senior, will be appearing in the playoffs for the fourth time. He redshirted last year with a foot injury and competed in 2008, 2009 and 2010. White has not been 100 percent with first a shoulder and then a knee injury. He still has 38 receptions for 489 yards and six touchdowns and is a main red-zone threat.

Villanova will be without sack leader Rakim Cox, who is out with a knee injury.

Three things you might not know

Villanova, which won the national championship in 2009, is making its fourth playoff appearance in the last five years and 10th overall. Stony Brook, which will be joining the CAA next season for football, is making its second playoff appearance after its debut last year.

Stony Brook has averaged 39.1 points and Villanova 31.3, so a high-scoring game is expected. Stony Brook's Miguel Maysonet leads the FCS with 1,721 yards.

Stony Brook has 11 players who formerly attended FBS schools; Villanova has none. - Marc Narducci


Contact Marc Narducci at mnarducci@phillynews.com.

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