The Villanova Wildcats earned an at-large bid to the Division I Football Championship for the sixth time in the last nine seasons. The Wildcats will host Saint Francis at 2 PM on Saturday, November 26. This is the 12th postseason bid the Wildcats have received in the Talley era.
Villanova (8 – 3) tied for second place in the CAA. Although the Cats did not get a top-eight seed they were rewarded with a home game in the opening round. The Wildcats have been nationally ranked all season. With a victory Villanova will get a second round matchup at the 8-seed South Dakota State.
Saint Francis (7 – 4) earned an automatic bid from the Northeast Conference to the Division I Football Championship. The Red Flash tied with Duquesne for the regular season title, and earned the bid by virtue of a 14 – 10 win over the Dukes during the season.
Common opponents this season were the Towson Tigers and the Albany Great Danes. Saint Francis lost close games to both. They were defeated by Towson 35 – 28, and Albany by a 20 – 9 score. Villanova defeated both CAA teams by a 40 – 21 score over Towson and 24 – 13 against Albany.
The Wildcats will ride the defense into the tournament. Defensive end Tanoh Kpassagnon has 19 tackles for a loss and 8.5 sacks to lead the team. Linebacker Austin Calitro has a team-best 83 tackles. The defense has held four teams to under 250 yards of offense this season.
On offense quarterback Zach Bednarczyk averages 153 passing yards with 15 touchdowns and 9 interceptions. He has run for 460 yards and 2 scores this season. Aaron Forbes who has a team-high 745 rushing yards.
Saint Francis is strong on defense. They have given up an average of 18.9 points per game and 304.9 yards of total offense. The Red Flash limited five opponents to 10 points or less. Linebacker James Campbell has 92 tackles including 15.5 for a loss and 9.5 sacks. Quarterback Zack Drayer leads the offense with 2,357 passing yards with 21 touchdowns and 10 interceptions.
Four teams from the CAA earned playoff berths. League champion James Madison was awarded with the fourth overall seed and a first round bye. New Hampshire, who shared second place with Villanova, and Richmond were given bids and will host first round games.
Talley is 11 – 10 all-time in the post season. His teams have reached the semifinals three times. The Wildcats won the 2009 National Championship.