With less than two weeks until the beginning of the 2016 season, the Villanova Wildcats are ready to get back to the FCS Playoffs. Andy Talley has announced that he will retire at the end of 2016, and the Wildcats want to end his era with a win. Talley does not want to make a farewell tour of his last year but wants to end his legacy with a good note. Villanova has been riddled with inconsistency as of lately. They have alternated between FCS playoff berths and mediocre seasons over the last six years. The Wildcats will start 2016 ranked 22nd in the FCS. Here is the Villanova Wildcats schedule prediction. from Last Word On Sports.
Villanova Wildcats Schedule Prediction: Part II
Week 7: at Richmond
For the first time in several weeks, Villanova will have a tough task at hand. The Richmond Spiders tied for first in the CAA Conference last year and made it to the FCS Playoff Semifinals before being eliminated by the five-consecutive National Champion North Dakota State Bison. The Spiders were 10-4 last season but did lose to Villanova on a late touchdown by Zach Bednarczyk. The Richmond Spiders will look for revenge this year however in hopes of another playoff run.
X-Factor: Kyle Lauletta
Richmond will be led by the red-shirt junior Kyle Lauletta yet again this year. Lauletta threw for 3,598 yards and 19 touchdowns last season. He would have made a stronger case for the Walter Payton Award last spring if he had not thrown 15 interceptions. Lauletta will return along with his top target, Brian Brown, who caught 6 touchdowns and had 1,450 receiving yards. In last year’s game, Lauletta was unable to find the endzone through the air. Without Jacobi Green in the backfield, Lauletta will need to look at the passing game if Richmond wins this game.
Despite winning last season, Villanova may not find themselves as lucky this year. Lauletta has looked great through camp so far and will lead the Spiders to a 27-20 win.
Week 8: Albany
Now at 4-3, Villanova will have one more easy game before heading into the first bye week of the season. Villanova couldn’t have played a better game against Albany last season in a 37-0 shutout. Bednarczyk was 12/12 for two touchdowns and Javon White broke free for 124 yards on only 16 carries. Not much should change this year as Villanova will need a string of wins to be considered for the FCS Playoffs.
X-Factor: Albany Defense
It was a known fact that Albany’s offense was awful last year. Sophomore D.J Crook never seemed to gain any momentum last year, throwing for eight touchdowns and eight interceptions. The rushing attack also as Elijah Ibitokun-Hanks only rushed for 609 yards, leading the team. If the Great Danes have any chance in winning this game, the defense will have to step up. Sophomore Julian Cox will need to lead the defense again this season after leading the team with 94 tackles. That was 18 more tackles than anyone else on the team. Malachi Hoskins will also look to help by trying to improve on last years total of five sacks.
While Albany should not expect to win this game, it will not be as lopsided as last year. Experience should help the Great Danes but in the end, Villanova will win 31-14.
Week 9: Bye
Week 10: at Maine
Things are starting to look up for the Wildcats, now sitting at 5-3. A few more wins will set them up nicely for the FCS Playoffs. This week, Villanova will travel to Maine to face the Black Bears. Villanova won last season’s contest 13-3 and would like to add another strong win against a weaker opponent to help in the voting process.
X-Factor: Javon White
Last season, Javon White suffered a broken leg right before the game against Maine. Gary Underwood helped fill the hole against Maine by rushing for 92 yards to accompany Bednarczyk’s 123 yards. Bednarczyk had to steal the show the last year to get the win by gaining 266 of Villanova’s 358 yards. If White can stay healthy this deep into the season, he should be able to take some pressure off of Bednarczyk so he will not have to rush as much. While Bednarczyk is a great rusher, he will need to start throwing the ball more if he is to be taken seriously beyond college. This starts with developing a rushing game to support the passing attack.
As long as Villanova remains healthy, this should be an easy win. Last season, injuries kept the game close but a healthy Villanova team should win this game easily by a score of 27-7.
Week 11: James Madison
The James Madison Dukes were the other team that tied for the first place title of the CAA last season. The Dukes went 9-3 with a first round loss in the FCS Playoffs. James Madison was also able to defeat Villanova in the last week of the season, ending their slim playoff hopes. All the key components of last years win will return for the Dukes. This win could ultimately send one team home while the other advances to the playoffs.
X-Factor: Bryan Schor
With the injury of Vad Lee, Bryan Schor was given the chance to start and never looked back. The junior threw for seven touchdowns to only one interception in 2015 and looked very confident. Against Villanova, he threw for two touchdowns and managed to rush for 54 yards. His top target last season, Brandon Ravenal, will also be returning for his senior year. If Schor can continue off the success he had last season, he could very well be a potential Walter Payton Award winner and challenge Lauletta.
While James Madison may have gotten the best of Villanova in 2015, a healthy Villanova team should be able to handle them. If Javon White can produce, Villanova should win this game 24-21.
Week 12: at Delaware
With one game to go, Villanova is sitting at 7-3 and needing at least a win to hold a Playoff spot. Last season, three teams made the playoffs at 7-4 ,(Northern Iowa, Montana, and Eastern Illinois) and one at 6-5 (Eastern Washington). All of these teams had significantly harder schedules and with Villanova’s fairly easy schedule, this is a must win. Villanova won last year’s match-up 28-21. This was the game that allowed Zach Bednarczyk to take the starting job after John Robertson tore his PCL.
X-Factor: Zach Bednarczyk
This is a game that Zach Bednarczyk should shine in. Despite Delaware having a solid defense in 2015, ranking 24th of 123, Bednarczyk was able to score both on the ground and through the air. The Fightin’ Blue Hens lost both of their best pass rushers, David Tinsley and Vince Hollerman. Delaware also have a very weak secondary in terms on interceptions. The team only accounted for seven last season, tying them for 92nd in the country. This is a great game to really prove that Villanova can play consistent football if they win.
If Villanova wants to keep their playoff hopes high, a win would almost certainly prove that. Andy Talley has been around the NCAA long enough to convince his team to have one last big game for him. This motivation will lead them to a 31-17 win, en route to a FCS Playoff appearance.
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