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FCS East Wrapup: #1 Spiders Squashed On the Main Line

Somewhere along the way to the CAA title and the FCS national championship game, Richmond was going to have to take a trip to the Main Line. And apparently somewhere crossing the busy intersection to Villanova stadium, the Spiders were squashed 26-20 by a Villanova team that, according to head coach Andy Talley, has found it's "focus".

"I just felt like we were a team with issues," he said. "We weren't focused. From what I saw at Thursday's practice, we weren't ready to play. Now I don't think we're a team with issues. This team stepped up and played the way we've been expecting this team to play."
The Wildcats got the job done by stuffing Richmond's running game, holding Richmond to 82 yards - and Villanova may have also benefitted by the absence of the Spiders' most exciting offensive player, sophomore WR Kevin Grayson, early in the second half with a shoulder injury. And they kept the Spider defense unbalanced with direct snaps to runningback Aaron Ball and rushing plays to sophomore QB Chris Whitney - now the starter.

Also vital to Villanova's win? Senior PK Joe Marcoux, who notched 4 field goals - including two in the second half the the difference for the Wildcats. His performance gave Marcoux College Sporting News National All-Star honors.

Villanova will be heading out on the road for a two-game road trip in the always-brutal CAA schedule. But should they get by William & Mary and Rhode Island in consecutive weeks, another home matchup with the new #1 team this week in the Sports Network poll - 4-1 James Madison, who were 24-10 winners over Maine this week - looms. They might be in a position to do the unthinkable - knock off two teams ranked #1 in the same year.

(To think - Lehigh lost to this team when they were "unfocused".)

In other big action around FCS this past weekend:
  • Albany nearly finished their "Theater of Pain" tour around the CAA with what was probably the end to their postseason chances: a 38-7 defeat at the hands of Delaware. The Great Danes played their first four games of the year on the road against Massachusetts, Hofstra, New Hampshire and Delaware of the CAA. Three of those teams were ranked, and Albany beat the fourth (Hofstra). It was more of a dogfight than the final score might suggest: the halftime score was 14-7, including a blocked Albany field goal and a 60 yard interception return by sophmore CB Tyrone Grant. But Albany senior RB David McCarty (22 carries, 47 yards) struggled to get anything going on offense for the Danes, and Delaware's ferocious defense only gave up 150 total yards on the evening. The Hens will have another tough test as they go on the road to face nationally-ranked UMass (who are fresh off a bye week), while Albany goes on their FIFTH straight road game: this time, against their new league-mate in the NEC, Duquesne.
  • Brown did what they hadn't been able to do since 1999: beat Harvard. It took a rain soaked game, a 13-0 deficit, a huge missed extra point by the Crimson and two interceptions in the red zone, but the Bears showed that they're for real in a 24-22 victory. What gave the Bears the victory? According to senior QB Michael Dougherty, it may have been preparation. "There were a few periods where the rain was coming down pretty hard, and that was tough," Dougherty said. "But the past two or three days, we had buckets of water, because we knew it was going to be rainy, so we dumped the balls into the buckets of water before throwing, so that was pretty helpful, and we just went out there and executed." All of a sudden, 2-0 Brown is looking like a real contender in the Ivy League race.
  • 1-1 Harvard, who won a thriller against Holy Cross and now lost a close one to Brown, now travel to undefeated 3-0 Lafayette next week. Last week, the Leopards cruised to a 24 point lead and then held on for a 24-17 victory. But Lafayette is a banged-up team going into this game against the team that was picked in the preseason to by the Ivy Champs: junior C Michael Wojcik, and senior DE Andrew Poulson were just two of the starters who got some injuries making them day-to-day. Head coach Frank Tavani: ''We knew it was going to be a physical game [in the 24-17 win over Penn]. After any of those games, you need a bye week. It's a real black-and-blue deal.'' They'll need all the help they can get going up against the Crimson defense, headed by senior LB Eric Shultz.
  • Ever heard of this guy senior RB Jordan Scott? All he did last week was, oh, restablish Colgate as one of the teams that will be a focal point in the Patriot League title chase. In the Raiders' 31-24 victory over last year's Patriot League champs Forhdam, Scott racked up some amazing numbers: 272 yards on 41 carries, and 4 touchdowns: including the game-winner with 9 seconds left. Having already rewritten the Raider record books, next week Scott is looking to Georgetown not only to get Colgate to 2-0 in Patriot League play, but also might be saying: Has anyone ever won back-to-back-to-back College Sporting News National All-Star honors? (The answer: no, but Scott will have that chance.)
  • Speaking of Georgetown, they couldn't find the end zone offensively in a 38-14 drubbing by Holy Cross; sophomore LB Nick Parrish returned not one, but two, interceptions for touchdowns in the defeat. As for Holy Cross, senior QB Dominc Randolph had a good day at the races with 280 yards passing and 3 touchdowns - however, the Crusaders will need to clean things up when they travel next week to go up against what will probably be a very angry 1-1 Yale team next week.
  • Here's Lehigh's luck: Seeing up close and personal the wrecking crew that senior RB Mike McLeod can be, they replace Yale on the schedule with a team that hasn't been as good: Cornell. All of a sudden, senior RB Luke Siwula decides to return for a 5th year for the Big Red, and after two weeks Cornell is 2-0. It was the first time since 2006 that Harvard and Yale lost on the same day after the Big Red secured a 17-10 victory over the Eli. The big hero was senior SS Anthony Sabo, whose nine tackles and two sacks helped limit McLeod to only 57 yards on 20 carries through constant blitzing. "If you get your name called for a blitz, that's like recess out there," he said. "We're just out there having fun executing. It was a fun win."

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