St. Francis at Villanova FCS Football 2016 Playoffs 1st Round Breakdown

St. Francis at Villanova, Saturday, 2:00
St. Francis, the winners of the Northeast Conference, enter the playoffs on a down note, having lost their finale to Wagner.  Though, that shouldn’t be seen as a surprise as they were undefeated in conference play coming in and the NEC seems to have a long tradition of everybody losing at least once during conference play.  The Red Flash finished the season averaging just 27.5 points per game offensively, but only giving up 18.8.  The defense is the team’s strength and they are solid forcing turnovers from their opponents, especially in the passing game.  DB Lorenzo Jerome is the main ball hawk, with six picks.  You would hope for larger offensive scoring from the champion of a weaker conference, which may be troublesome against the second best team of the Colonial.  QB Zach Drayer will need to have a big day and find FCS receiving yardage leader Kamron Lewis early and often to have any chance.
Villanova comes in having even less prolific numbers than St. Francis, scoring-wise.  The big difference is the Wildcats give up less than 15 points defensively and that’s against much stiffer competition.  The offense doesn’t have anything glaring that strikes you as exciting or marquee worthy, but they have a good overall balance that does just enough to get the job done.  The defense, on the other hand, is merciless, ranking third in the nation both in yardage and scoring and in the top third of the FCS in turnover margin and sacks. Nobody is going to enjoy playing against this group.  Between DL Tanoh Kpassagnon and a linebacking crew led by Austin Calitro, opposing quarterback will be running for their gridiron lives.
When you get down to the crux of it, the caliber of competition is vastly different.  Villanova has a pedigree that is top sirloin, where St. Francis is ground chuck.  There’s no doubt that the Red Flash will give everything they have, they’ve played about as strong of a non-conference schedule as a Northeast team can.  But the Wildcats are just way too superior defensively to see the possibility of an upset occurring.  It may be closer than thought, but the result should still be the same.
Projected Score: Villanova 27, St. Francis 7