#25 Villanova FCS Football 2016 Preview

Villanova Wildcats
Overall Rank: #25
#5 CAA
Villanova struggled through a tough 2015 campaign. An injury to quarterback John Robertson early in the year hurt and the Wildcats were never able to recover. Eventually they were able to string together a few CAA wins. This is Coach Andy Talley’s last season before his retirement and Villanova would like to send him off with one more trip to the playoffs.
2015 Record: 6-5, 5-3
2015 Postseason: None
Coach: Andy Talley (221-133-14 at Villanova, 249-152-2 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Sam Venuto
Defensive Coordinator: Billy Crocker
Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Zach Bednarczyk, QB, 515 yards
Passing: Zach Bednarczyk, QB, 1,396 yards
Receiving: Jarrett McClenton, WR, 171 yards
Tackles: Austin Calitro, LB, 90
Sacks: Tanoh Kpassagnon, DL, 6.5
Interceptions: Jason Ceneus, DB, 2
Other Key Returnees: RB Javon White, LB Corey Majors, DB Malik Reaves, LB Ed Shockley
Key Losses: FB Gary Underwood, WR Kevin Gulyas, WR Aaron Wells, S Cameron McCurry, DB Wes Smith, LB Don Cherry, DL Reggie Paris
The Wildcats defense was very good last season and they should be again in 2016. The unit ranked second in the CAA in pass defense, total defense and scoring defense. Linebacker Austin Calitro totaled 90 tackles, including 4.5 sacks and 11.5 tackles-for-loss. With experienced upperclassmen Corey Majors and Ed Shockley joining Calitro, Villanova has a very good group of linebackers. The front line will be led by Tanoh Kpassagnon. The big 6-7 lineman recorded 6.5 sacks last season. The secondary will be led by Jason Ceneus and Malik Reaves. Ceneus recorded two interceptions last season and Reaves recorded 41 tackles. Villanova has enough depth and talent on the defensive side of the ball to be one of the best units in the CAA and potentially the country.
Villanova found a quarterback with Zach Bednarczyk. As a freshman, Bednarczyk was forced into action and ended up throwing for 1,396 yards and ten touchdowns and rushing for 515 yards and five scores. He completed 58.1 percent of his pass attempts and should be able to take on more of an offensive role this season. The passing game should improve under Bednarczyk, but the Wildcats lost their top three pass catchers in Keven Guylas, Gary Underwood and Aaron Wells. Jarrett McClenton, who caught 22 passes for just 171 yards, is the team’s top returning receiver. The ground game struggled in 2015 too. Outside of Zach Bednarczyk, the leading rusher for Villanova gained just 395 yards on the ground. Javon White is back and Matt Gudzak has some potential, but the Wildcats really need to find a running back who can handle the workload and pick up the tough yards.
The Bottom Line:
The Wildcats have a typically difficult schedule. The CAA slate could be worse with William & Mary and New Hampshire not on the schedule. An early home game against Towson could be very telling. That is a big early game for two teams who could need every win to keep their playoff hopes alive. With tough games against Richmond and James Madison up later in the year, the Wildcats will not have much margin for error against the other probable middle of the road teams in the CAA.
Projected Postseason: None
2015 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 185.8 (36th in nation, 5th in conference)
Passing Offense: 177.6 (86, 8)
Total Offense: 363.5 (69, 4)
Scoring Offense: 21.0 (86, 6)
Rushing Defense: 137.7 (26, 5)
Pass Defense: 171.4 (13, 2)
Total Defense: 309.1 (16, 2)
Scoring Defense: 18.4 (11, 2)
Turnover Margin: 0.09 (52, 6)
Sacks: 2.18 (46, 5)
Sacks Allowed: 2.73 (100, 12)
Madness 2016 Recruit Rankings:
#42 Peter Fallon
#82 Terrell Vassel
#163 Aaron Seigle