CAA showdown on tap Saturday as Villanova visits JMU

Matt Leon
October 09, 2019 - 1:28 pm
Villanova head coach Mark Ferrante

Villanova University Athletics

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — It should be one of the top games of the year to this point in FCS on Saturday as 6-0 Villanova visits 5-1 James Madison in Colonial Athletic Association action.

The Wildcats, now ranked as high as No. 5 in the nation, are coming off a 35-28 road win over William and Mary this past weekend.

"Our guys faced the adversity and found the way to get it done at the end," Villanova head coach Mark Ferrante told KYW Newsradio. "Took the winning drive down there and scored with a 16-play drive that chewed up almost eight minutes. Then (William and Mary) had a 1:59 to go down, and they got to our 30-yard line, and our defense held them on fourth down to preserve the victory."

That Villanova defense was led by a great performance from junior linebacker Forrest Rhyne. He finished with 15 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, 2.5 quarterback sacks and a forced fumble.

"Forrest is just a do-everything-right, high-motor guy," Ferrante said. "He definitely stepped up and played well (against William and Mary). He was co-Defensive Player of the Week in our league this week, so he did a phenomenal job there. His stat line was really impressive."

James Madison is ranked No. 2 in the country. The Dukes have won five straight after a seven-point road loss to West Virginia of FBS in their opener. James Madison averages more than 41 points a game, while allowing just under 17. Last week the Dukes needed overtime to beat Stony Brook, 45-38.

"They are very similar to us," Ferrante said. "They have a really good running game, real good balanced attack. Ben DiNucci, their quarterback, is the most efficient passer in the league right now (completing 72.4% of his throws). So they are very effective when they do throw the ball, even though they don't throw it a ton. So real good, balanced attack; real good, aggressive defense that gets to the ball. And their kicking game's solid. It's hard to find a weakness. They're going to be home and the crowd's going to be amped up, so our guys will be excited to go down there and I know we're going to be looking forward to the challenge."

Last season, these two teams met on the Main Line with JMU picking up an easy 37-0 win.

Saturday's game will kick off at 1:30 p.m.

Follow Matt on Twitter @Mattleon1060.