2010 CAA Football -- Did You Know...
-- CAA Football teams make up half of the Top 10 in both The Sports Network/Fathead.com poll and FCS Coaches poll.
-- The league has seven ranked squads in each of the national polls for the fourth-straight week. No league other than CAA Football has had more than six teams ranked in either poll on a single week dating back to 2007.
-- Villanova has been part of The Sports Network/Fathead.com Top 10 for 28-straight weeks. The Wildcats and Appalachian State are the only two teams with Top-10 ranked streaks longer than 10 consecutive weeks.
-- The Massachusetts defense held its own against Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson at The Big House Sept. 18. The Minutemen held “Shoelace” to then-season lows in rushing yards, pass completions and total offense. UMass also handed the Heisman candidate his first interception of the season.
-- Rhode Island’s 28-25 upset-win over then-No. 8 New Hampshire, Sept. 18, gave the Rams a 1-0 league mark for the first time since 2005.
-- Richmond’s Justin Rogers is the league’s all-time career leader in kickoff returns with 98 in four seasons. The senior needs 147 kickoff return yards to become the league’s all-time career leader in kick return yards.
-- Villanova’s Matt Szczur needs 498 all-purpose yards to move among the league’s career all-purpose yard Top-10 list.
-- William and Mary’s Jonathan Grimes is 931 all-purpose yards away from ranking in CAA Football’s career Top-10 list for the category.
-- James Madison is the third CAA Football squad to earn votes in the Associated Press (AP) poll in the last two seasons. The Dukes are also just the second FCS school in AP Top 25 history to receive votes in two consecutive polls.
-- CAA Football is a combined 15-3 against non-conference FCS opponents this season. The league is also 17-10 thus far in all non-conference action.
-- CAA Football has topped three ACC non-conference opponents in the last two seasons including James Madison’s, 21-16, win over then-nationally-ranked Virginia Tech, Sept. 11.
-- CAA Football is represented by 40 alums on 2010 NFL rosters as of Sept. 26.
-- A CAA Football program has won four of the last seven National Championships, while the other three have gone to one school -- Appalachian State (Southern Conference). The league’s four National Championships in that span have gone to four different league squads.
-- CAA Football has been represented in the NCAA Division I National Championship game in six of the last seven seasons.
-- Northeastern (1993-2009) and Hofstra (2001-09), previously part of CAA Football lineage, ended football programs following the 2009 season.
-- CAA Football, now a 10-team one-division league, will welcome Old Dominion to its membership in the 2011 season and Georgia State in the 2012 season.
James Madison Earns Associated Press Top 25 Votes...Again
James Madison garnered votes in the Associated Press (AP) Top 25 over a two week stretch from Sept. 12-19 this season.
JMU became the third CAA Football squad in the last two seasons and the sixth FCS squad to earn votes in the AP poll when it appeared on two voters’ ballots, Sept 12. Ray Ratto of the San Francisco Chronicle had the Dukes at No. 22, while Jon Wilner of the San Jose Mercury News ranked JMU at No. 19.
Madison was again among those receiving votes in the Sept. 19 poll, appearing at No. 18 on Wilner’s ballot, making it only the second FCS squad in AP Top 25 history to receive votes in consecutive weeks.
The AP changed its policy and opened its poll to all Division I football teams following Appalachian State’s upset at nationally-ranked Michigan in September of 2007. Previously, just FBS teams were permitted.
The Mountaineers went on to receive votes in two consecutive AP polls (Sept. 9 and 16) that season. Northern Iowa appeared once (Nov. 18) and Appalachian State got votes in the final poll after winning the National Championship in 2007. Richmond and Villanova both earned recognition last season in the AP poll. The Spiders garnered votes in the Nov. 1 edition, while Villanova logged votes in the final AP poll of the year following its National Championship. Montana also garnered votes in the Dec. 6 edition of the AP poll in 2009.
James Madison’s recognition came after outlasting then-nationally-ranked Virginia Tech, 21-16, in Blacksburg, Va., Sept. 11, in front of 66,233 at Lane Stadium.
Bring On The BCS/FBS
CAA Football is not afraid of hanging with the BCS/FBS big boys. Over the past five seasons the league has posted 10 wins against BCS/FBS foes, including the league’s most recent and high-profile victory...James Madison over Virginia Tech, 21-16, Sept. 11.
Combining the 2009 season (four wins over BCS/FBS opponents) with JMU’s win shows five victories over the upper level of Division I Football in two seasons.
The league’s BCS neighbors in the Atlantic Coast Conference have managed a 3-3 mark against CAA Football over the last two seasons...CAA Football’s wins over the ACC in that time frame are: Richmond over Duke (‘09), William and Mary over Virginia (‘09) and James Madison over Virginia Tech (‘10).
The league has an all-time mark of 28-119 (.190) against BCS/FBS opponents dating back to the 1978 I-A/I-AA split by the NCAA.
CAA Football has won 19 games versus BCS/FBS opponents since 2000. The league has garnered at least one win over BCS/FBS foes in eight of the last nine years, and multiple wins over BCS/FBS teams in six of the last nine years.
For a complete list of CAA Football’s wins over BCS/FBS opponents check out page 16 of the weekly release.
CAA Football’s Preseason Offensive Player of the Year Matt Szczur can be described with one nickname -- “Mr. Everything”.
Last fall the senior helped lead Villanova to its first-ever football National Championship in 2009 after ranking as the only player in major college football to record touchdowns passing, rushing, receiving and returning a kick. In the spring he batted .436 and earned First Team All-Big East honors in baseball.
Szczur’s success didn’t end there. In early June he was selected in the fifth round of the Major League Baseball Draft by the Chicago Cubs and began his professional baseball career July 7, 2010. The success he had while in college carried over evidenced by a 21-game hitting streak which started in his first professional game. By the end of the summer Szczur had moved up three levels in the Cubs’ organization to Class A Peoria after batting .347 with an on-base percentage of .414.
All that success, and guess where Szczur is this fall...leading the defending National Champion Villanova Wildcats on the football field. Through four games this season, Szczur ranks among the league’s all-purpose yardage Top-10 list with an average of 113.2 per game. Szczur needs 498 more all-purpose yards this season to place himself among the league’s career all-purpose yard Top-10 list.
Villanova’s Ijalana Named To The Outland Trophy Watch List
Villanova senior offensive tackle Ben Ijalana was one of 63 players named to the 2010 Outland Trophy Watch List released in June. The Outland Trophy, which has been presented annually since 1946, is given to the nation’s top interior lineman.
Ijalana is the only member of the list of 63 who plays for an FCS program. The 2010 Outland Trophy winner will be announced on The Home Depot ESPNU College Football Awards Show on Dec. 9.
Last season, Ijalana helped Villanova win the Division I National Championship and earned a spot on both the Sports Network and Walter Camp All-America teams. A two-time First Team All-CAA Football selection, Ijalana has started all 43 games of his Villanova career. The 6-4, 320 pound Ijalana is a native of Hainesport, N.J., and a graduate of Rancocas Valley High School.
Villanova, James Madison, Delaware and William and Mary’s spots in the Sports Network/Fathead.com Top 10 extend current streaks among the nation’s top ranked. The Wildcats have been part of the Sports Network’s Top 10 for 28-straight weeks trailing only Appalachian State’s 67-week string. The Dukes extended a short streak of three-straight in the Top 10, while the Blue Hens and Tribe have each been in the Top 10 two-straight weeks. Massachusetts is in the Top 10 for the first time since Sept. 15, 2008, and will be looking for a streak to begin.
Team Consecutive Weeks In SN/F Top 10
No. 2 Appalachian State - 67
No. 1 Villanova - 28
No. 6 Stephen F. Austin - 6
No. 4 Jacksonville State - 4
No. 3 James Madison - 3
No. 5 Delaware - 2
No. 7 William and Mary - 2
No. 8 Massachusetts - 1
No. 9 South Carolina State - 1
No. 10 Montana State - 1
Delaware’s Devlin Named To The Unitas Golden Arm Award Watch List
Delaware quarterback Pat Devlin was selected to the Watch List for the 2010 Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award.
The honor is bestowed annually to the top senior quarterback in the nation by the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Foundation and acknowledges performance on the field, character, citizenship, and integrity. The Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Educational Foundation, Inc., has awarded more than $525,000 in scholarships to deserving scholar-athletes from local area high schools both in Maryland and Kentucky.
Devlin, a native of Downingtown, Pa., was the only NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision player named to the watch list.
Devlin started all 11 games and completed 220 of 344 passes for 2,664 yards and 16 touchdowns against nine interceptions a year ago, his first with the Blue Hens after transferring from Penn State.
His 242.2 passing yards per game led CAA Football and ranked No. 17 nationally in the FCS. In a season-ending loss to eventual FCS National Champion Villanova, Devlin enjoyed his finest statistical performance, completing a school record 42 passes for 407 yards, which ranks sixth for a single-game performance in Delaware history. He will serve as a team co-captain this fall.
CAA Football In The Polls
For a complete rundown of both the Sports Network/Fathead.com Top 25 and the FCS Coaches Poll visit page 12 of the weekly release. Below are highlights and notes about CAA Football in this week’s rankings.
The Sports Network/Fathead.com Top 25
-- Villanova has been part of the poll’s Top 10 for 28-straight weeks...Only Appalachian State has a longer streak at 67-straight weeks. The Wildcats and Mountaineers are the only squads with current double-digit Top 10 streaks.
-- CAA Football makes up five of the Top 10 for the second-straight week.
-- The league has a four-week streak of seven teams ranked in The Sports Network/Fathead.com Top 25. The last time the league had consecutive weeks of seven among TSN’s poll was Sept. 20-Oct. 11, 2004 (4 weeks).
-- The league has had at least three teams ranked every week since The Sports Network’s poll began and two teams among the poll’s Top 10 in 74-straight weeks.
FCS Coaches Top 25
-- Five CAA Football squads are among the Top 10 this week, equalling a mark set Sept. 28, 2009. The league’s Top-10 total is down one from last week’s record mark of six among the Top 10.
-- The league’s four-week string of seven ranked squads extends a poll first. CAA Football is the only league to ever have seven teams ranked in a single week, and that has now happened in four-straight weeks -- two weeks better than the league’s previous best streak -- Sept. 7-14, 2009.
-- CAA Football has had at least four squads ranked every week in the FCS Coaches poll since it debuted in 2007.
CAA Football Has Five on the Walter Payton Award Watch List
The Payton Award race kicked off July 12 as seven finalists from last season were announced as part of a 20-player Watch List for the Football Championship Subdivision’s top individual honor.
The Payton Award is in its 24th season and will be presented to the FCS National Player of the Year on Thursday, Jan. 6 in Frisco, Texas - the night before the national championship game.
Reigning National Champion Villanova boasts three on the Watch List -- seniors Ben Ijalana, Matt Szczur and Chris Whitney. Szczur finished 21st in the Payton balloting last season, while Ijalana was named to the 2010 Outland Trophy Watch list. Delaware senior Pat Devlin, who was 17th in the 2009 award voting, is also part of the 2010 Watch List while William and Mary’s junior Jonathan Grimes is a newcomer to the preseason list.
CAA Football logged five standouts on the preseason list, equalling the Big Sky’s total of five which is the most from any of the 13 FCS conferences honored.
Walter Payton Award Watch List Honorees
-- Pat Devlin, QB, Delaware
-- Jonathan Grimes, RB, William and Mary
-- Ben Ijalana, OL, Villanova
-- Matt Szczur, WR/RS, Villanova
-- Chris Whitney, QB, Villanova
CAA Football Players of the Week - September 27
CAA Football Offensive Player of the Week - R.J. Toman, QB, New Hampshire
Toman earned his first CAA Football weekly honor since 2007, by leading New Hampshire to a 31-10 win over Lehigh Saturday. Toman passed for a career-high 348 yards and four touchdowns, completing 26-of-37 attempts on the day. The senior completed passes to eight different Wildcat receivers, three of which logged career highs in either receptions or receiving yards. Toman also rushed the ball eight times for 19 yards, helping New Hampshire pile up 519 yards of total offense. This is Toman’s second weekly league honor of his career as the first came in 2007 when he replaced injured quarterback Ricky Santos in the Wildcat’s win over Delaware.
CAA Football Defensive Player of the Week - James Pitts, DB, Villanova
Pitts, one of two CAA Football Defensive Players of the Week, halted Penn on what would have been the Quakers’ potential winning score when he picked off a pass and returned in 56 yards for a touchdown in Villanova’s 22-10 win Saturday. Pitts, in addition to the interception return for a touchdown, logged six total tackles, made one stop behind the line of scrimmage and broke up two passes. Pitts and the Villanova defense limited Penn, a Top-25 squad, to just 270 total yards on the night.
CAA Football Defensive Player of the Week - Anthony Walters, DB, Delaware
Walters, another CAA Football Defensive Player of the Week, led a Delaware Blue Hen defense to a 34-13 win on the road over Richmond. Walters, who recorded a team-best 10 tackles in the win, also picked off an Aaron Corp pass midway through the fourth quarter after the Blue Hens had taken a 27-13 lead. Walters, along with his defensive teammates, allowed just 234 yards and 14 first downs to the Spiders, who were averaging more than 350 yard per game and just under 20 first downs per contest prior to Saturday.
CAA Football Special Teams Player of the Week - Taveion Cuffee, DB, James Madison
Cuffee logged CAA Football Special Teams Player of the Week honors after helping James Madison to a 10-3 win over Liberty Saturday. The junior blocked a 47-yard field goal attempt which would have pulled the Flames to within one point of James Madison early in the third quarter. The Dukes recovered and marched 54 yards before notching a 22-yard field goal for the final score in the game, 10-3. Cuffee also recorded an interception with two minutes left to play, giving James Madison the ball back to end the game. Defensively Cuffee broke up a pass and made a season-high seven tackles in the win.
CAA Football Rookie of the Week - Stephon Robertson, LB, James Madison
Robertson is this week’s CAA Football Rookie of the Week after leading a James Madison defense which limited Liberty to just three points in a 10-3 win in Harrisonburg. Robertson logged a game-high 13 tackles for the Dukes, while allowing Liberty only 61 rushing yards on 32 carries. The JMU defense allowed Flame QB Mike Brown to tally 229 yards of total offense, nearly 100 yards off his season average, and kept Liberty out of the endzone for the first time since 2006.
Rogers’ Returns Piling Up
Richmond returnman Justin Rogers garnered one league career record opening weekend and is inching closer to another.
The senior, who was the nation’s third-best kick returner as a redshirt-freshman in 2007, averaging better than 30 yards/return, is the CAA Football career kickoff return record holder with 98 returns in his four seasons. Rogers, who was tied with three others for the top spot at 89 career returns coming into the season, logged three returns for 74 yards against Virginia, Sept. 4.
The senior is getting close to taking the league’s top spot on the career kickoff return yards list away from NFL legend Brian Westbrook. The former Villanova Wildcat logged 2,433 kickoff return yards from 1997-2001. Rogers needs 147 kick return yards to pass Westbrook’s total.
CAA Football Has Four on the Buck Buchanan Award Watch List
The Buchanan Award is in its 16th season and will be presented to the FCS National Defensive Player of the Year on Thursday, Jan. 6 in Frisco, Texas - the night before the national championship game. CAA Football will be looking for a repeat in 2010, as James Madison defensive end Arthur Moats won the honor last season. Moats became the second Duke and CAA Football student-athlete to log the honor.
2008 National Champion Richmond boasts three on this year’s Watch List -- seniors Eric McBride, Martin Parker and Justin Rogers. Parker finished 13th in the 2009 Buchanan voting while both McBride and Rogers earned several preseason honors. Senior Terence Thomas, who made eight tackles and a sack in Villanova’s National Champion win last season, is a newcomer to the preseason list of 20 student-athletes.
CAA Football logged four standouts on the preseason list, equalling the Southern Conference total of four which is the most from any of the 13 FCS conferences honored.
Buck Buchanan Award Watch List Honorees
-- Eric McBride, LB, Richmond
-- Martin Parker, DL, Richmond
-- Justin Rogers, DB, Richmond
-- Terence Thomas, LB, Villanova
#5/5 DELAWARE AT #3/3 JAMES MADISON
Saturday, Oct. 2 - 12 pm
BridgeforthStadium (15,694), Harrisonburg, Va.
Series: Delaware leads 11-8
Delaware (4-0, 1-0 CAA)
Coach: K.C. Keeler
Career: 154-60-1 (17 years)
School: 66-39 (9 years)
Rushing: Andrew Pierce (4 G, 81-598 yards, 7 TD)
Passing: Pat Devlin (3 G, 42-69-1-546 yards, 4 TD)
Receiving: Phillip Thaxton (4 G, 11-146 yards, 3 TD)
Tackles: Andrew Harrison (4 G, 14 solo, 18 assisted, 32 total)
Sacks: Siddiq Haynes (4 G, 2.0-5 yards)
Interceptions: Tyrone Grant (4 G, 3-66 yards)
James Madison (3-0, 0-0 CAA)
Coach: Mickey Matthews
Career: 85-51 (12 years)
School: 85-51 (12 years)
Rushing: Jamal Sullivan (3 G, 41-135 yards, 1 TD)
Passing: Drew Dudzik (3 G, 19-37-2-388 yards, 4 TD)
Receiving: Brian Barlow (3 G, 5-46 yards, 0 TD)
Tackles: Stephon Robertson (3 G, 7 solo, 21 assisted, 28 total)
Sacks: Nick Emmons (2 G, 1.0-8 yards)
Interceptions: Jonathan Williams (3 G, 2-30 yards)
#1/2 VILLANOVA AT #7/7 WILLIAM AND MARY
Saturday, Oct. 2 - 3:30 pm
Zable Stadium (12,259), Williamsburg, Va.
Television: CSN-MA/MYPHL-17/CSN-NE/CSS (JIP-4:30)/CSN-P (TD-7:30)
Series: William and Mary leads 14-13-1
Villanova (3-1, 1-0 CAA)
Coach: Andy Talley
Career: 210-121-2 (31 years)
School: 182-103-1 (26 years)
Rushing: Aaron Ball (4 G, 53-328 yards, 3 TD)
Passing: Chris Whitney (4 G, 44-62-3-532 yards, 7 TD)
Receiving: Norman White (4 G, 14-183 yards, 2 TD)
Tackles: Fred Maldonado (4 G, 18 solo, 7 assisted, 25 total)
Sacks: Marquis Kirkland (4 G, 1.5-13 yards)
Interceptions: James Pitts (4 G, 1-56 yards)
William and Mary (3-1, 1-1 CAA)
Coach: Jimmye Laycock
Career: 203-142-2 (31 years)
School: 203-142-2 (31 years)
Rushing: Jonathan Grimes (4 G, 65-273 yards, 4 TD)
Passing: Mike Callahan (4 G, 63-100-3-846 yards, 5 TD)
Receiving: Alex Gottlieb (4 G, 14-147 yards, 0 TD)
Tackles: Brian Thompson (4 G, 18 solo, 18 assisted, 36 total)
Sacks: Ravi Pradhanang (4 G, 1.0-10 yards)
Interceptions: Brian Thompson (4 G, 2-49 yards)
#14/15 NEW HAMPSHIRE AT MAINE
Saturday, Oct. 2 - 6 pm
Alfond Stadium (10,000), Orono, Maine
Series: New Hampshire leads 48-43-8
New Hampshire (2-2, 0-1 CAA)
Coach: Sean McDonnell
Career: 82-55 (12 years)
School: 82-55 (12 years)
Rushing: Dontra Peters (4 G, 56-314 yards, 3 TD)
Passing: R.J. Toman (4 G, 81-125-4-899 yards, 7 TD)
Receiving: Terrance Fox (4 G, 23-294 yards, 3 TD)
Tackles: Matt Evans (4 G, 25 solo, 17 assisted, 42 total)
Sacks: Brian McNally (4 G, 2.5-15 yards)
Interceptions: Ryan McGuinness (4 G, 2-3 yards)
Maine (1-3, 0-1 CAA)
Coach: Jack Cosgrove
Career: 94-104 (18 years)
School: 94-104 (18 years)
Rushing: Jared Turcotte (3 G, 60-290 yards, 3 TD)
Passing: Warren Smith (4 G, 71-106-2-627 yards, 2 TD)
Receiving: Derek Session (4 G, 20-220 yards, 0 TD)
Tackles: Donte Dennis (4 G, 15 solo, 12 assisted, 27 total)
Sacks: Doug Alston (4 G, 2.5-7 yards)
Interceptions: Michael Mangiarelli (3 G, 1-5 yards)
#8/8 MASSACHUSETTS AT TOWSON
Saturday, Oct. 2 - 7 pm
Unitas Stadium (11,198), Towson, Md.
Series: Massachusetts leads 2-0
Massachusetts (3-1, 1-0 CAA)
Coach: Kevin Morris
Career: 32-39 (8 years)
School: 8-7 (2 years)
Rushing: John Griffin (4 G, 79-383 yards, 4 TD)
Passing: Kyle Havens (4 G, 81-121-3-993 yards, 5 TD)
Receiving: Anthony Nelson (4 G, 25-337 yards, 1 TD)
Tackles: Tyler Holmes (4 G, 17 solo, 16 assisted, 33 total)
Sacks: Mike Mele (4 G, 1.0-8 yards)
Interceptions: Tyler Holmes (4 G, 3-2 yards)
Towson (1-3, 0-1 CAA)
Coach: Rob Ambrose
Career: 6-19 (3 years)
School: 3-12 (2 years)
Rushing: Chris Hart (4 G, 52-245 yards, 0 TD)
Passing: Chris Hart (4 G, 42-82-6-494 yards, 7 TD)
Receiving: Hakeem Moore (4 G, 13-352 yards, 5 TD)
Tackles: Jordan Dangerfield (4 G, 21 solo, 13 assisted, 34 total)
Sacks: Matt Morgan (4 G, 3.0-19 yards)
Interceptions: Nick Oates (3 G, 1-0 yards)
BROWN AT RHODE ISLAND
Saturday, Oct. 2 - 1 pm
Meade Stadium (6,555), Kingston, R.I.
Series: Brown leads 67-25-2
Coach: Phil Estes
Career: 74-47 (13 years)
School: 74-47 (13 years)
Rushing: Mark Kachmer (2 G, 34-133 yards, 2 TD)
Passing: Joe Springer (2 G, 31-57-4-322 yards, 1 TD)
Receiving: Alexander Tounkara (2 G, 17-209 yards, 0 TD)
Tackles: Andrew Serrano (2 G, 10 solo, 9 assisted, 19 total)
Sacks: Clayton McGrath (2 G, 1.5-8 yards)
Interceptions: Robert Gillett (2 G, 1-41 yards)
Rhode Island (1-2, 1-0 CAA)
Coach: Joe Trainer
Career: 15-32 (5 years)
School: 2-12 (2 years)
Rushing: Ayo Isijola (3 G, 40-176 yards, 0 TD)
Passing: Steve Probst (3 G, 60-111-4-457 yards, 4 TD)
Receiving: Brandon Johnson-Farrell (3 G, 13-109 yards, 0 TD)
Tackles: Chris Edmond (3 G, 24 solo, 8 assisted, 32 total)
Sacks: Victor Adesanya (3 G, 2.0-21 yards)
Interceptions: Dave Zocco (3 G, 1-6 yards)
COASTAL CAROLINA AT #11/12 RICHMOND
Saturday,Oct. 2 - 1 pm
Robins Stadium (8,700), Richmond, Va.
Series: First Meeting
Coastal Carolina (1-3)
Coach: David Bennett
Career: 114-49 (14 years)
School: 51-32 (7 years)
Rushing: Eric O’Neal (4 G, 56-244 yards, 3 TD)
Passing: Zach MacDowell (4 G, 72-120-5-722 yards, 5 TD)
Receiving: David Duran (4 G, 17-220 yards, 1 TD)
Tackles: Andrae Jacobs (4 G, 22 solo, 19 assisted, 41 total)
Sacks: Kent Harper (4 G, 3.0-21 yards)
Interceptions: Dominique Davenport (4 G, 1-37 yards)
Richmond (1-2, 0-1 CAA)
Coach: Latrell Scott
Career: 1-2 (First year)
School: 1-2 (First year)
Rushing: Kendall Gaskins (3 G, 25-139 yards, 2 TD)
Passing: Aaron Corp (3 G, 55-94-2-506 yards, 2 TD)
Receiving: Tre Gray (3 G, 15-170 yards, 0 TD)
Tackles: Eric McBride (3 G, 13 solo, 17 assisted, 30 total)
Sacks: Kerry Wynn (1 G, 1.0-11 yards)
Interceptions: Corey Jackson (3 G, 1-0 yards) & Patrick Weldon (3 G, 1-0 yards)