Week 4 CAA FCS Football Game Breakdowns

George Hammond

Week 4 Colonial Athletic Association Game Breakdowns

Now we get serious. While most of the first three weeks have seen a lot of nonconference scrums, this weekend we get our first taste of real CAA action. And there are two significant contests: New Hampshire at Old Dominion and Delaware at William & Mary. So we should start to be able to answer a few lingering questions: Is ODU as good as advertised? Is Delaware 3-0 because of whom it’s played? Let’s take a look at this week’s games:


#17 NEW HAMPSHIRE AT #7 OLD DOMINION (Noon Saturday at Foreman Field, S.B. Ballard Stadium, Norfolk, VA)

These two are meeting for the first time, and the stakes are huge. Old Dominion has beaten its first three opponents (Duquesne, Hampton and Campbell) by an average score of 57-15. But none of those teams are close to the caliber of New Hampshire (2-1). Sophomore quarterback Taylor Heinicke continues to lead the way for the Monarchs as he set a school record with seven TD passes against Campbell on Saturday. Heinicke has already thrown for 14 touchdowns this season. Meanwhile, Andy Vailas, who was making his first collegiate start, completed 14 of 20 passes for 122 yards in the Wildcats’ 43-10 romps over Central Connecticut State. Vailas became New Hampshire’s starter two weeks ago when Sean Goldrich injured his right shoulder early in the contest against Minnesota. You have to figure points are going to be scored in this one. Expect the Wildcats to give ODU all it can handle as the Monarchs had problems early in its season opener against Duquesne. Still, it might be too much to ask of New Hampshire to go into Norfolk and emerge victorious, especially the way Heinicke is playing.

Projected score: Old Dominion 31, New Hampshire 27


#24 DELAWARE AT WILLIAM & MARY (7 p.m. Saturday at Zable Stadium, Williamsburg, VA)  

Don’t be fooled by the respective records of these two teams. Although William & Mary enters the contest with a 0-3 record, its losses have come by a combined seven points. Meanwhile, Delaware’s (3-0) victories have come against Division II West Chester, Delaware State and Bucknell (19-3 on Saturday). The Tribe lost another heartbreaker on Saturday, 20-17 to Towson. A go-ahead touchdown in the closing minute was called back when quarterback Raphael Ortiz was penalized for throwing an illegal pass as he was called for crossing the line of scrimmage. Delaware has now won six consecutive games dating back to last season, but the Hens have been spotty at best and will need a more consistent effort to win in Williamsburg. “William & Mary could very easily be 3-0,” Delaware coach K.C. Keeler said Monday in his weekly teleconference. “Most of our veteran players are smart enough to know what the CAA is all about, and that we all end up beating each other.” The Hens hope to have their top two receivers available — Nihja White and Rob Jones — both sidelined against Bucknell with injuries. Saturday's game will mark the 37th meeting between W&M and Delaware, and UD controls the all-time series, 21-15. The Blue Hens snapped W&M's three-game series winning streak last season with a 21-0 triumph in Newark.

Projected score: Delaware 24, William & Mary 20


#4 JAMES MADISON AT RHODE ISLAND (1 p.m. Saturday at Meade Stadium, Kingston, R.I.)

The Dukes (2-1) were disappointed in their effort against top 10 West Virginia Saturday at FedEx Field 42-12, but they should get better this weekend. JMU fell behind 28-0 in the first 20 minutes as potential Heisman Trophy candidate Geno Smith led the route. He completed 34-of-39 passes for 411 yards and five touchdowns, breaking the school record for career passing yards. Meanwhile, Rhode Island (0-2) fell to Villanova 31-10 after the Rams enjoyed a slim 10-7 halftime advantage. Villanova rushed for 173 yards in the second half. The Wildcats had 110 yards on 16 attempts in the third quarter, averaging 6.9 yards per carry. That won’t bode well for Rhode Island against the visiting Dukes.

Projected score: James Madison 45, Rhode Island 13


VILLANOVA AT PENN (3:30 p.m. Saturday at Franklin Field, Philadelphia)

This is the Wildcats (2-1) second game against a Philadelphia rival. They lost to Temple in the opener, but this contest should be much more competitive. The Wildcats have outscored their last two opponents 45-0 in the second half the last two weeks. Redshirt freshman quarterback John Robertson (Paramus, NJ) scored on a one-yard scamper on the first possession of the third quarter to give Villanova a 14-10 lead that it would never relinquish as it went on to triumph 31-10 against Rhode Island. Sophomore running back Austin Medley ran in for a four-yard score six minutes later and the Wildcats put the game out of reach with a field goal and another touchdown run just two minutes apart early in the fourth period. Robertson ran for 63 yards and the one touchdown on 11 carries and also had the best passing game of his young career. He completed 14-of-27 through the air for 171 yards. Penn, meanwhile, lost its season opener at Lafayette 28-21 when it committed eight turnovers. The Quakers still had a chance to send the game into overtime with 1:19 remaining before an interception secured the victory for the Leopards. Penn trailed 21-0 in the first quarter.

Projected score: Villanova 27, Penn 13


RICHMOND AT GEORGIA STATE (3:30 p.m. Saturday at the Georgia Dome, Atlanta, GA) 

The Spiders (2-1) have won two straight after a 47-6 victory over VMI on Saturday. Junior wide receiver Ben Edwards had a career day as he had a career-best 11 receptions for 122 yards. Meanwhile, Remington Hinshaw put on a school record performance too.  Hinshaw set the school mark for most field goals in a game, hitting 4-of-5, including a career-long 37-yard effort.  On the day, Hinshaw totaled 17 points, setting the record for most points by a kicker in a single game. The struggles continue for Georgia State (0-3) as it fell to University of Texas-San Antonio 38-14. Georgia State took an early 7-3 advantage before UTSA scored five unanswered touchdowns.

Projected score: Richmond 31, Georgia State 10 


ALBANY AT MAINE (6 p.m. Saturday at Alfond Stadium, Orono, ME)

This is the home opener for the Black Bears (1-1) against a future CAA opponent. Albany will join the league next year in football only, and this should be an interesting barometer as to where the teams stand. After a season opening loss to Boston College, Maine steamrolled Bryant University 51-7 on Saturday. The Black Bears rushed for 352 yards with junior Rickey Stevens and sophomore David Hood gaining 168 yards on 17 carries and 102 yards on 14 carries respectively. In addition, Kendall James intercepted a Bryant pass in the end zone and returned it 100 yards for a score, tying a school record that had stood since 1962. The slate gets tougher for Maine in the coming weeks as it faces Delaware and Towson on the road before playing host to New Hampshire, but it can’t overlook Albany. The Great Danes (2-1) had No. 6 Youngstown State on the ropes deep into the second half before losing 31-24.  

Projected score: Maine 28, Albany 20 


ST. FRANCIS (PA.) AT #9 TOWSON (7 p.m. Saturday at Johnny Unitas Stadium, Towson, MD) 

The Tigers (1-1) survived William & Mary’s (0-3) late attempt for victory as Towson held on 20-17. Senior quarterback Grant Enders had 234 yards offense for the Tigers and All-American Terrance West ran for 153 yards on 27 carries. The game was in doubt until the very end. Facing third down-and-five at Towson’s 28, Raphael Ortiz rolled out and avoided pressure. He scrambled toward the line of scrimmage and fired a 28-yard touchdown pass to Tre McBride, apparently giving William & Mary a lead. But Ortiz was penalized for crossing the line of scrimmage (he was across the line by less than a yard it appeared) and the touchdown was nullified. St. Francis (2-1), meanwhile, rushed for a single-game school record 457 yards and rallied from down 17 points to best Morehead State 57-23.

Projected score: Towson 34, St. Francis 14


See All FCS Games of the Week Breakdowns