Villanova were a bit of an enigma in the Spring. They were expected to be the best team in the CAA North division. But when they hit the field, they squeaked by Stony Brook and then lost to Rhode Island in overtime. In 2019 the Wildcats had an explosive offense, going 9-4 before losing a shootout to Southeastern Louisiana in the first round.
Villanova has, in recent memory, battled two things: the injury bug and the ill-timed loss. They always have the talent to be one of the top teams in the CAA and FCS, but injuries derail them or they lose to a team they shouldn’t. They’ll need to avoid that this fall.
QB Daniel Smith had a huge 2019 season with 3264 yards passing, 35 TDs and 10 picks. He also added 420 yards rushing and another 11 touchdowns and a touchdown reception. He was very inconsistent in the spring. But I think he will be back to more of the 2019 version of himself this fall.
RB Justin Covington got bit by that aforementioned injury bug in 2019. But even in just 6 games, he was the teams leading rusher with over 700 yards. If he stays healthy, Covington could lead the CAA in rushing.
LB Forrest Rhyne is a monster in the middle for Villanova. He had 116 tackles including 14.5 for loss and 6.5 sacks in 2019. Rhyne will be tough for opposing offense to attack.
Key Game: October 16 at Albany
Worst Case: The Wildcats suffer yet more injuries and inconsistencym and again wind up at 6-5.
Best Case: Villanova returns to 2019 form, especially on offense and competes for a playoff seed and cruises towards the quarterfinals.
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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