Article Image
Courtesy: CAA
New Hampshire's Dino Vasso


Courtesy: CAA
          Release: 11/01/2010
Send this article to a friend Print RSS

Who Says We Aren’t The Toughest
    CAA Football teams match up against the best FCS squads each week...then they take on the conference schedule!
    According to the NCAA’s Toughest Schedule breakdown, all 10 of the league’s schedules are at No. 28 or tougher (out of 117 teams).  Villanova’s cumulative opposition record (past opponent records combined with future opponent records) gives it the toughest schedule in the country following the Oct. 30 weekend.
    Other notes of interest:   no team from the league has a cumulative opposition mark below .500, while Maine is the only squad with a future opposition mark below .500.
    Below is a breakdown of the entire league and where each team ranks on the Toughest Schedule list.

Team -- Past -- Future -- Cumulative
No. 1    Villanova -- 35-21 (.625) -- 14-9 (.609) -- 49-30 (.620)
No. 3    James Madison -- 34-21 (.618) -- 13-11 (.542) -- 47-32 (.595)
No. 4    William and Mary -- 33-21 (.611) -- 13-11 (.542) -- 46-32 (.589)
No. 5    New Hampshire -- 32-23 (.582) -- 13-11 (.542) -- 45-34 (.570)
No. 9    Maine -- 33-22 (.600) -- 10-14 (.417) -- 43-36 (.544)
No. 16    Delaware -- 27-23 (.540) -- 12-12 (.500) -- 39-35 (.527)
No. 18    Rhode Island -- 26-28 (.481) -- 15-9 (.625) -- 41-37 (.526)
No. 18    Richmond -- 28-26 (.519) -- 13-11 (.542) -- 41-37 (.526)
No. 18    Massachusetts -- 29-26 (.527) -- 12-11 (.522) -- 41-37 (.526)
No. 28    Towson -- 25-30 (.455) -- 14-9 (.609) -- 39-39 (.500)


The Stingier The Better
    The top five scoring defenses in CAA Football are also five of the top nine scoring defenses in the country.
    Delaware leads the nation having only surrendered 73 points in eight games (9.1 points/game).  Villanova is third in the country with a mark of just 13.9 points allowed/game.  James Madison’s defense has limited opponents to 14.4 points/game and ranks fourth in the nation.  New Hampshire has allowed an average of just 15.2 points a game, while William and Mary’s mark of 16.6 points allowed per game is not far behind.  The Wildcats’ and Tribe defenses rank sixth and ninth in the country, respectively.
    CAA Football’s league average of 19.5 points allowed/game is tops among league scoring defense average (FCS).  The next closest at the FCS level is the Ivy League which has an overall conference mark of 22.7 points allowed/game.
    In all of major college football, only the Big East’s average scoring defense is better than CAA Football’s -- 19.0 points/game (62 contests).
    Glancing at the league’s defensive trends (page 15 of the weekly release) going back to 2004, the conference’s current average in scoring defense of 19.5 points allowed/game is the lowest it has ever been.
    The current average of yards allowed is hovering around a historical best.  CAA Football defenses are giving up 324.2 yards/game, 0.2 yards more than its previous low mark of 324 yards/game.

2010 CAA Football -- Did You Know...
-- CAA Football teams make up four 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 ninth-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 33-straight weeks.
-- Delaware’s Siddiq Haynes was recently named as one of 22 players to the All-State AFCA Good Works Team for his honors and endeavors away from the game of football.
-- New Hampshire’s Matt Evans leads the league and ranks ninth in the country with an average of 11.6 tackles per game.
-- New Hampshire’s Dino Vasso has hauled in a league-best five interceptions this season in eight games.  One more pick for Vasso will place him in a tie for eighth on CAA Football’s career interception list with 18.
-- New Hampshire’s R.J. Toman needs 782 yards of total offense to place his name among the league’s career Top 10 list in the category.
-- Richmond’s Justin Rogers is the league’s all-time career leader in kickoff returns with 106 in four seasons.  The senior needs just four kickoff return yards to become the league’s all-time career leader in the category.
-- William and Mary’s Jonathan Grimes is 404 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 finished a combined 17-3 against non-conference FCS opponents during the regular season.  The league was also 19-11 in all non-conference action this year.
-- 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 41 alums on 2010 NFL rosters as of Oct. 31.
-- 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.

Rogers’ Returns Piling Up
    Richmond returnman Justin Rogers garnered one league career record in the opening weekend of this season and is inching closer to another.
    The senior, who was the nation’s third-best kick returner as a redshirt-freshman in 2007 by averaging better than 30 yards/return, is the CAA Football career kickoff return record holder (106).
    The Louisiana native 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 just four kick return yards to pass Westbrook’s total.


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.
    Ijalana, a preseason All-CAA Football and All-America selection, is an anchor for the Villanova offensive front which leads the league in both scoring (29.8 points/game) and rushing (200.9 yards/game), and ranks second in the league in total offense (383.6 yards/game). A two-time First Team All-CAA Football selection, Ijalana has started all 47 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.


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, a Blue Hen captain, has started seven of Delaware’s eight games this season and has a passing efficiency mark of 143.2 (104-161-1-1295) which ranks third among the league leaders.  The senior has completed 104-of-161 attempts for 1,295 yards and six touchdowns this season.

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 33-straight weeks...Only Appalachian State has a longer streak at 72-straight weeks.
-- CAA Football makes up four of the Top 10 for the third-straight week and fourth time this season (Sept. 13).  The league made up five of the Top 10 from Sept. 20-Oct. 11 (four weeks).
-- The league has an nine-week streak of seven teams ranked in The Sports Network/Fathead.com Top 25...a league record for that many teams in consecutive weeks.  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 79-straight weeks.

FCS Coaches Top 25
-- For the third-straight week and fifth time this season four CAA Football squads are among the Top 10 (Preseason & Sept. 13).
-- CAA Football is the only league to ever have seven teams ranked in a single week, and that has now happened nine-straight weeks -- seven weeks better than the league’s previous best -- 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 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.
    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, was a newcomer to the preseason list in July.  Massachusetts’ linebacker Tyler Holmes, who is averaging more than 10 tackles a game, was a midseason addition to the list when it was updated Oct. 4.
    CAA Football has five standouts on the most recent list, and is tied with the Southern Conference for the most from any of the nine FCS conferences honored.

Buck Buchanan Award Watch List Honorees
-- Tyler Holmes, LB, Massachusetts
-- Eric McBride, LB, Richmond
-- Martin Parker, DL, Richmond
-- Justin Rogers, DB, Richmond
-- Terence Thomas, LB, Villanova


Poll Position
    Villanova, Delaware, William and Mary and New Hampshire’s spots in the Sports Network/Fathead.com Top 10 extend streaks among the nation’s top ranked.  Villanova has been part of the Sports Network’s Top 10 for 33-straight weeks.  The Blue Hens and Tribe have each been in the Top 10 seven-straight weeks, while New Hampshire has now sustained a three-week string in the Top 10.

Team -- Consecutive Weeks In SN/F Top 10
No. 1 Appalachian State -- 72
No. 3 Villanova -- 33
No. 10 Stephen F. Austin -- 11
No. 2 Jacksonville State -- 9
No. 5 Delaware -- 7
No. 4 William and Mary -- 7
No. 8 New Hampshire -- 3
No. 6 Eastern Washington -- 3
No. 7 Wofford -- 3
No. 9 Southeast Missouri State -- 1


CAA Football Has Four on the Walter Payton Award Watch List
     The Payton Award Watch List, a guiding stick used to help determine the top individual in the Football Championship Subdivision, was updated Oct. 25 and CAA Football now has four student-athletes on the 20-player list.
    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 two on the newest Watch List -- seniors Ben Ijalana and Chris Whitney.  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 list.
    Villanova’s Matt Szczur, who has played in just four games for the Wildcats this season, was removed in the list’s most recent update after earning a spot on the preseason release. 
    CAA Football’s total of four on the watch list equals the Big  Sky’s mark for the most honorees listed among the 11 FCS conferences recognized.

Walter Payton Award Watch List Honorees
-- Pat Devlin, QB, Delaware
-- Jonathan Grimes, RB, William and Mary
-- Ben Ijalana, OL, Villanova
-- Chris Whitney, QB, Villanova


CAA Football Players of the Week - November 1
CAA Football Offensive Player of the Week - Chris Whitney, QB, Villanova
    Whitney earned CAA Football Offensive Player of the Week honors for the second time in three weeks after leading Villanova to a 28-7 win over Richmond Saturday at home.  The senior was responsible for three of the Wildcats’ four touchdowns on the day including two of the three first-half scores.  Whitney got Villanova on the board with five minutes left in the first quarter when he broke free for a 45-yard touchdown run, and went on to tally 102 of his game-high 116 rushing yards in the first quarter.  With just under two minutes left in first quarter Whitney found Norman White in the endzone for a five-yard scoring pass, before finishing the day 9-for-16 for 78 yards passing and two touchdowns.  The senior has now rushed for 100-yards-or-more in a game six times during his career and leads Villanova with seven touchdowns on the ground this season.

CAA Football Defensive Player of the Week - Tyler Holmes, LB, Massachusetts
    Holmes garnered his second CAA Football Defensive Player of the Week honor this season by helping the Minutemen to a come-from-behind 21-14 win at James Madison Saturday.  The junior registered a game-high 14 tackles in the victory, including 1.5 tackles behind the line of scrimmage for a loss of 10 yards.  The Buck Buchanan Award candidate was part of a defense which shutout the Dukes in the second half forcing two punts and two turnovers on downs in four total possessions.  Holmes’ biggest play of the day came on JMU’s last possession when he sacked Kavon Seaton for a 10-yard loss on first down inside the UMass redzone -- the sack helped stall the Dukes drive which ended in a turnover on downs.

CAA Football Special Teams Player of the Week - Caleb Violette, PK/P, Massachusetts
    Violette was named CAA Football Special Teams Player of the Week after logging two 50+ yard punts in Massachusetts’ 21-14 win at James Madison Saturday.  Violette, who also serves as the Minutemen’s placekicker, remained perfect on the season by making both of his two PAT’s (19-of-19) and posted two field goals in the come-from-behind win with distances of 33 and 25 yards.  The sophomore finished the contest with an average of 53 yards/punt while UMass did not allow any punt return yards on the day.

CAA Football Rookie of the Week - Kyle Polk, LB, Towson
    Polk earned this week’s Rookie of the Week award by posting a season and game-high 13 tackles against Rhode Island Saturday.  The true freshman was part of a defense which limited the Rams’ rushing attack to just 74 yards and a 1.6 yard/attempt average.  Polk also made three stops behind the line of scrimmage for a total loss of 15 yards, including a team-high two sacks for seven yards.  On the season Polk has 41 tackles through eight games for the Tigers, including 5.5 stops behind the line of scrimmage.


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 has an all-time mark of 28-120 (.189) 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.



Saturday, Nov. 6 - 12 pm
Cowell Stadium (6,500), Durham, N.H.
Series:  William and Mary leads 11-2

William and Mary (6-2, 4-1 CAA)
    Coach:  Jimmye Laycock
    Career:  206-143-2 (31 years)
    School:  206-143-2 (31 years)
    Rushing:  Jonathan Grimes (8 G, 133-533 yards, 7 TD)
    Passing:  Mike Callahan (6 G, 72-113-3-965 yards, 6 TD)
    Receiving:  Ryan Moody (8 G, 30-477 yards, 1 TD)
    Tackles:  Dante Cook (7 G, 36 solo, 37 assisted, 73 total)
    Sacks:  Michael Stover (8 G, 2.5-17 yards)
    Interceptions:  Dante Cook (7 G, 2-134 yards)     

New Hampshire (5-3, 3-2 CAA)
    Coach:  Sean McDonnell
    Career:  85-56 (12 years)
    School:  85-56 (12 years)
    Rushing:  Dontra Peters (8 G, 111-516 yards, 6 TD)
    Passing:  R.J. Toman (8 G, 163-258-8-1793 yards, 11 TD)
    Receiving:  Terrance Fox (8 G, 45-492 yards, 5 TD)
    Tackles:  Matt Evans (8 G, 47 solo, 46 assisted, 93 total)
    Sacks: Brian McNally (8 G, 5.5-35 yards)
    Interceptions:  Dino Vasso (8 G, 5-(-10) yards)



Saturday, Nov. 6 - 1 pm
Meade Stadium (6,555), Kingston, R.I.
Series:  Villanova leads 14-2

Villanova (6-2, 4-1 CAA)
    Coach:  Andy Talley
    Career:  213-122-2 (31 years)
    School:  185-104-1 (26 years)
    Rushing:  Aaron Ball (8 G, 98-489 yards, 4 TD)
    Passing:  Chris Whitney (8 G, 106-157-4-1326 yards, 15 TD)
    Receiving:  Norman White (8 G, 37-477 yards, 6 TD)
    Tackles:  Marquis Kirkland (8 G, 31 solo, 28 assisted, 59 total)
    Sacks:  Marquis Kirkland (8 G, 2.5-17 yards)
    Interceptions: James Pitts (8 G, 3-64 yards)       

Rhode Island (3-5, 2-3 CAA)
    Coach:  Joe Trainer
    Career:  17-35 (5 years)
    School:  4-15 (2 years)
    Rushing:  Ayo Isijola (8 G, 97-418 yards, 3 TD)
    Passing:  Steve Probst (8 G, 146-251-7-1374 yards, 6 TD)
    Receiving:  Anthony Baskerville (8 G, 37-391 yards, 2 TD)
    Tackles:  Matt Hansen (8 G, 49 solo, 41 assisted, 90 total)
    Sacks:  Victor Adesanya (8 G, 2.0-21 yards)
    Interceptions:  Jarrod Williams (8 G, 2-3 yards)



Saturday, Nov. 6 - 3:30 pm
Delaware Stadium (22,000), Newark, Del.
Series:  Delaware leads 7-4

Towson (1-7, 0-5 CAA)
    Coach:  Rob Ambrose
    Career:  6-23 (3 years)
    School:  3-16 (2 years)
    Rushing:  Chris Hart (8 G, 113-518 yards, 1 TD)
    Passing:  Chris Hart (8 G, 82-172-6-1013 yards, 9 TD)
    Receiving:  Hakeem Moore (8 G, 23-454 yards, 5 TD)
    Tackles:  Jordan Dangerfield (8 G, 37 solo, 38 assisted, 75 total)
    Sacks: Matt Morgan (8 G, 3.0-19 yards)
    Interceptions:  Chris Patterson (8 G, 1-6 yards)     

Delaware (7-1, 4-1 CAA)
    Coach:  K.C. Keeler
    Career:  157-61-1 (17 years)
    School:  69-40 (9 years)
    Rushing:  Andrew Pierce (8 G, 179-935 yards, 10 TD)
    Passing:  Pat Devlin (7 G, 104-161-1-1295 yards, 6 TD)
    Receiving:  Nihja White (8 G, 25-317 yards, 2 TD)
    Tackles:  Andrew Harrison (8 G, 26 solo, 32 assisted, 58 total)
    Sacks:  Chris Morales (4 G, 2.5-23 yards)
    Interceptions:  Tyrone Grant (8 G, 4-113 yards)



Saturday, Nov. 6 - 3:30 pm
McGurik Alumni Stadium (17,000), Amherst, Mass.
Television:  CSN-NE/CSN-MA+ (JIP 4:00)/CSN-P (TD 10:30)
Series:  Massachusetts leads 40-15-1

Maine (3-5, 2-3 CAA)
    Coach:  Jack Cosgrove
    Career:  96-106 (18 years)
    School:  96-106 (18 years)
    Rushing:  Jared Turcotte (6 G, 99-452 yards, 3 TD)
    Passing:  Warren Smith (8 G, 143-223-6-1460 yards, 7 TD)
    Receiving:  Derek Session (8 G, 38-476 yards, 1 TD)
    Tackles:  Donte Dennis (8 G, 39 solo, 31 assisted, 70 total)
    Sacks: Doug Alston (8 G, 3.5-14 yards)
    Interceptions:  Vinson Givans (8 G, 2-48 yards)

Massachusetts (5-3, 3-2 CAA)
    Coach:  Kevin Morris
    Career:  34-41 (8 years)
    School:  10-9 (2 years)
    Rushing:  Jonathan Hernandez (8 G, 165-683 yards, 7 TD)
    Passing:  Kyle Havens (8 G, 155-244-5-1878 yards, 11 TD)
    Receiving:  Anthony Nelson (8 G, 49-635 yards, 2 TD)
    Tackles:  Tyler Holmes (8 G, 41 solo, 44 assisted, 85 total)
    Sacks: Tyler Holmes (8 G, 4.0-25 yards)
    Interceptions:  Tyler Holmes (8 G, 3-2 yards)



Saturday, Nov. 6 - 3:30 pm
Robins Stadium (8,700), Richmond, Va.
Television:  CSN-MA/CSN-P
Series:  Richmond leads 15-12

James Madison (4-4, 1-4 CAA)
    Coach:  Mickey Matthews
    Career:  86-55 (12 years)
    School:  86-55 (12 years)
    Rushing:  Jamal Sullivan (7 G, 108-398 yards, 3 TD)
    Passing:  Drew Dudzik (8 G, 88-159-7-1195 yards, 5 TD)
    Receiving:  Kerby Long (8 G, 15-268 yards, 2 TD)
    Tackles:  Stephon Robertson (78G, 27 solo, 46 assisted, 73 total)
    Sacks: D.J. Bryant (8 G, 2.5-24 yards)
    Interceptions:  Jonathan Williams (8 G, 2-30 yards)         

Richmond (4-4, 2-3 CAA)
    Coach:  Latrell Scott
    Career:  4-4 (First year)
    School:  4-4 (First year)
    Rushing:  Kendall Gaskins (8 G, 84-398 yards, 4 TD)
    Passing:  Aaron Corp (5 G, 67-123-4-645 yards, 3 TD)
    Receiving:  Tre Gray (7 G, 29-349 yards, 1 TD)
    Tackles:  Eric McBride (8 G, 36 solo, 47 assisted, 83 total)
    Sacks:  Martin Parker (8 G, 2.5-24 yards)
    Interceptions:  Justin Rogers (8 G, 2-34 yards)