The Villanova Wildcats will look to last week’s carry momentum from a 35-28 victory over Richmond into this Friday’s matchup against the hapless 0-8 LIU Sharks.
Villanova’s game against Richmond last week was highlighted by a late 14-point surge by the Wildcats to retake the lead in the 4th quarter, with Daniel Smith and T.D. Ayo-Durojaiye scoring the final two touchdowns. The win elevated the Wildcats to a 7-3 record, and a 4-3 conference record.
This week’s opponent is a unique one. Although formerly separated into LIU Post and LIU Brooklyn, the two campus’s varsity athletic teams combined this past offseason to become the LIU Sharks. As might be expected from a merger of two small teams new to Division I, LIU has not fared very well this season. The Sharks finished their first season of Northeast Conference play last week, losing a game against Robert Morris 28-17.
LIU ranks dead last in the FCS in total offense, averaging only 203.8 yards per game. They run the ball for only 58.5 rushing yards per game and only 1.81 yards per carry. They score an average of 10 points a game, have only crossed the threshold of 20 points once and have scored only three points combined in their two ranked matchups this year.
If there is a bright side to the Sharks, it would be their defense. They rank 29th in total defense, and in the top 50 of both rushing and passing defense. However, they still allow 28.8 points per game, good for 69th in the country. While some teams would be able to win games with this level of defense, their meager offense cannot keep them in games long enough to try and pull out a victory.
Although LIU’s defensive ranks are decent, the team has not played many opponents with the offensive firepower of Villanova, and, when it has, LIU failed to keep No. 3 South Dakota State and No. 23 Central Connecticut State in check.
Villanova is on a good track as long as they are able to stifle LIU’s weak offense, as every other team this season has been able to do. Then, if the ‘Cats puts the points needed on the board, they should be able to get another out-of-conference victory.