Week 10 CAA FCS Football Game Breakdowns

George Hammond

Week 10 Colonial Athletic Association Game Breakdowns

Although they won a national championship in 2003 and has been to the title game two other times in the last six years, recent Delaware teams have been consistently inconsistent.

This season has been no different. There have been glimpses where the Hens (5-3, 2-3) have been outstanding and other times where they looked rather mediocre.  The rollercoaster ride hasn’t helped their playoff chances either, and that’s why last Saturday’s game at No. 5 Old Dominion (7-1, 4-1) was so important. The Hens played well, but fell short against the high-powered Monarchs, 31-26.

“This was a great game between two good football teams, but we just didn’t make the plays when we had to,” Delaware coach K.C. Keeler said. “I’m disappointed because I thought we did enough good things to get the win, but we gave a very good football team too many opportunities to win.  Give ODU credit for being patient and executing their game plan. We got our stops and forced a couple of turnovers, but just couldn’t put enough points on the board.”

The Hens led 17-14 late in the second quarter before ODU quarterback Taylor Heinicke directed a 78-yard scoring drive in the half’s closing seconds to give the Monarchs the lead for good at 21-17.

For ODU, the victory ends a difficult stretch where the Monarchs went 4-1 against some of the top FCS teams in the nation. The span included victories over New Hampshire and Richmond, a loss to Villanova, followed by victories against Towson and Delaware.  ODU visits Georgia State on Saturday, then hosts William & Mary before traveling to James Madison to end the regular season.

“It was an absolute gauntlet,” ODU coach Bobby Wilder told The Virginia-Pilot newspaper of the recent tough schedule. “We’ve played the toughest schedule in the CAA to this point.  It was critical to get through this stretch in good shape. I couldn’t be prouder that we got through at 4-1.”

As for the playoff picture, No. 9 New Hampshire (7-2, 5-1), a 40-20 winner over Rhode Island last Saturday, probably needs a split of its last two games (William & Mary and Towson) to get a nod, and ODU could wrap up a berth with a victory at Georgia State this weekend.

The CAA should get at least four playoff spots, which means No. 7 James Madison (6-2, 4-1), No. 21 Villanova (6-3, 4-2), Richmond (5-3, 3-2), No. 24 Towson (4-4, 3-2) and Delaware are fighting for those two spots.

A look at this weekend’s games:


#24 TOWSON at DELAWARE (Noon Saturday at Delaware Stadium, Newark, Del.)

Call this the elimination game as the loser will be out of the playoff picture. Delaware won last year, 35-30, in a contest known as much for what happened afterward when Hens’ coach K.C. Keeler took offense to the postgame handshake (or lack thereof) that Towson coach Rob Ambrose gave him. Towson registered a key victory last weekend, however, when it scored on five of its first seven possessions to beat Villanova, 49-35. Villanova had entered the contest yielding the second fewest points per game in the CAA. Terrance West rushed for 144 yards and two scores and Towson quarterback Grant Enders, who was College Sports Madness’ CAA Offensive Player of the Week, threw four touchdown passes and ran for 122 yards. The victory came amid a period of distractions for the Towson football program.  A week ago, Trevor Walker, a fifth-year senior dismissed from the team recently, stirred a controversy when he sent a letter to the campus newspaper, saying Ambrose “has openly disrespected and mistreated members of the team.” Meanwhile, the Hens will try to rebound from a tough loss at ODU, and they’ll likely have to do it without top running back Andrew Pierce who suffered a knee injury early in the third quarter against the Monarchs and might miss the final three games.

Projected score: Towson 31, Delaware 23


#5 OLD DOMINION at GEORGIA STATE (3:30 p.m. Saturday at the Georgia Dome, Atlanta, Ga.)

The approaching Hurricane Sandy didn’t stop explosive Old Dominion from piling up yardage as the Monarchs registered 499 total yards in stopping Delaware’s upset bid in Norfolk, Va. on Saturday. Quarterback Taylor Heinicke threw for 375 yards (36 for 45) and ran for three touchdowns while ODU running back Tyree Lee had a career-best 128 yards in the victory. Meanwhile, Georgia State (1-8, 1-5) had one of its best showings of the season in a 28-21 loss to James Madison. The Dukes built a 28-7 advantage in the second half before Georgia State cut the final margin to seven with 6: 31 remaining. Panthers’ running back Travis Evans had 98 yards on 18 carries.

Projected score: Old Dominion 49, Georgia State 17


#7 JAMES MADISON at MAINE (3:30 p.m. Saturday at Alfond Stadium, Orono, Maine)

Freshman quarterback Michael Birdsong got his first collegiate start as James Madison coach Mickey Matthews was hoping to inject life into the Dukes’ offense. But all he got were mixed results as Birdsong was 11-of-23 for 119 yards in the Dukes’ less-than-impressive victory over Georgia State. “He (Birdsong) played like a freshman,” said Matthews, to the Richmond (Va.) Times-Dispatch. “We didn’t do anything well. We didn’t throw it well. We didn’t catch it well. You can tell my frustration level is off the scale.”

Dae'Quan Scott rushed for 130 yards to surpass 2,000 for his career and James Madison held off a fourth-quarter Georgia State rally to win. Scott, who caught a 6-yard touchdown pass from Birdsong and also ran for a 4-yard score, now has 2,085 yards. The Dukes will face a tough test on Saturday as the Black Bears (3-5, 2-3) aren’t a pushover. Maine topped CAA rival William & Mary 24-10 Saturday in Williamsburg, Va. as quarterback Marcus Wasilewski threw three touchdown passes. Maine cornerback Darlos James, who was CSM’s Defensive Player of the Week in the CAA, had six tackles and an interception.  

Projected score: James Madison 24, Maine 16


WILLIAM & MARY at #9 NEW HAMPSHIRE (Noon Saturday at Cowell Stadium, Durham, N.H.) 

If the Wildcats (7-2, 5-1) take care of business, they will not only earn at least a share of the CAA crown, they could earn a lofty seed in the playoffs. But first on their priority list is William & Mary (2-6, 1-4), a team that is perhaps better than its record would indicate. The Tribe has lost four games by a total of eight points and is coming off a 24-10 loss against Maine. Meanwhile, New Hampshire won its fifth consecutive contest with a 40-20 triumph at Rhode Island. Quarterback Sean Goldrich threw for 245 yards and accounted for two scores in the easy victory. R.J. Harris, who had eight receptions for 131 yards, leads the CAA in receiving yards per game (94.1) and touchdown receptions (8). 

Projected score: New Hampshire 34, William & Mary 17 


RHODE ISLAND at RICHMOND (6 p.m. Saturday at Robbins Stadium, Richmond, Va.) 

The schedule sets up nicely for the Spiders (5-3, 3-2) in the homestretch. Besides Saturday’s game against winless Rhode Island, Richmond faces Delaware at home before finishing the regular season at William & Mary. If the Spiders win out, they could find themselves in the playoffs. Richmond is coming off a bye so the Spiders should be rested heading into Saturday’s contest. 

Projected score: Richmond 38, Rhode Island 13


See All FCS Games of the Week Breakdowns