'Nova needs to beat Stony Brook to avoid 0-3 start

Quarterback John Robertson "hasn't come back to his form of last year," Villanova coach Andy Talley said. CHARLES FOX / Staff Photographer
Quarterback John Robertson "hasn't come back to his form of last year," Villanova coach Andy Talley said. CHARLES FOX / Staff Photographer
Posted: September 21, 2013

Villanova's 2012 season ended with a 20-10 loss at Stony Brook in the Football Championship Subdivision playoffs.

The two will be reunited on Saturday at Villanova Stadium, and a loss could put the Wildcats' postseason prospects in jeopardy just three games into the season.

Although Villanova played better than expected in a 24-14 opening loss at Football Bowl Subdivision opponent Boston College, the Wildcats lost five fumbles in a 27-24 loss at Fordham on Sept. 7.

And even though Fordham just beat Temple, Villanova's loss to the Rams can't help the Wildcats in the eyes of the FCS playoff committee.

This will be Villanova's first Colonial Athletic Association game, against a Stony Brook team that is in its first year in the league. Stony Brook (1-1) is coming off a 26-23 loss in five overtimes at Buffalo.

Villanova is tied for 22d in the FCS coaches poll. Stony Brook is 12th.

"I think if we are going to get up and running and be the team I think we can be, then this is a game we have to play the way I think we are capable of playing," Villanova coach Andy Talley said. "We have to stop turning the ball over and play with reckless abandon."

Villanova, which has committed nine turnovers in two games, had a bye last week. Talley said the bye came at a good time because three key players were recovering from concussions. Offensive linemen Dan Shirey and Josh Bucci and defensive lineman Rakim Cox have been cleared to play this week.

Talley said the offensive line, which was considered a team strength, has yet to play up to its potential. He said that sophomore quarterback John Robertson, last season's Jerry Rice Award winner as the FCS freshman of the year, must pick up his play.

"He needs to play better and hasn't come back to his form of last year," Talley said. "He is our guy and a run and pass threat."

Stony Brook, long known as a running team, saw quarterback Lyle Negron throw for 300 yards against Buffalo.

"They have been traditionally a team that wants to run the ball, and we had trouble stopping their run in the playoff game," said Talley, whose team allowed 263 yards rushing and two touchdowns in that game. "Now [coach Chuck Priore] has committed to throwing the ball a little more, so I really think that makes them really difficult."

Contact Marc Narducci at mnarducci@phillynews.com.

Follow on Twitter @sjnard.

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