Location: Villanova, PA
Coach: Mark Ferrante (5-6) 2nd Season at Villanova
Stadium: Villanova Stadium (Capacity 12,000)
130th: Division I
2017 In a Sentence: Its hard to follow a coaching legend, but that’s what Mark Ferrante was tasked with in 2017 replacing Andy Talley, the legendary head coach who led the Wildcats for 32 years and led Villanova to an FCS National Championship in
2009. The 2017 Wildcats were decimated by injuries, and hovered around .500 all season searching for depth to replace the injured players.
Biggest Shoes to Fill: Ferrante did an admirable job in 2017 taking over for school legend Andy Talley, but Talley’s shoes are so big Ferrante is still working to fill them. Injuries certainly played a part, but the Wildcats played with head-scratching inconsistency, giving Elon all they can handle one week then only managing 6 points against Rhode Island in another.
Key Player:Senior DB Rob Rolle is one of the top returning DBs in the nation and should get a look from the NFL after his senior season. He was limited to only 4 games due to injury in 2017, but will be looking to bounce back and lead the defense on the back end in 2018. He was a CAA first team selection in 2016. If he can return to that form, Villanova will be a tough defense to play against.
Fearless Prediction: Five FCS Playoff teams, Temple, and Rival Delaware grace Villanova’s schedule this season. The Wildcats will be a very tough out on opponent’s schedules if Ferrante can get Villanova’s offense going with more consistency. If Rolle comes back and dominates like he did before, no opponent is going to want to go up against that defense.
Jamie is a proud 2002 graduate of James Madison University. He’s witnessed the growth of the program from no one in the stands in 1998, to the hiring of Mickey Matthews, to the 2004 National Championship, to the 2008 team, to the struggles in the early 2010s, and finally the rebuild under Mike Houston. He also allegedly really enjoys Washington, DC-based Stanley Cup winners.
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