CAA FOOTBALL WEEKLY RELEASE -- DEC. 5-11
The Stingier The Better
The top five scoring defenses in CAA Football are also five of the top eight scoring defenses in the country.
Delaware leads the nation having only surrendered 148 points in 12 games (12.3 points/game). James Madison is ranked third in the country with a mark of just 14.7 points allowed/game. New Hampshire and William and Mary’s defenses have limited opponents to 16.5 and 16.7 points/game and are fifth and sixth in the nation, respectively. Villanova’s mark of 17.0 points allowed per game ranks eigth in the country.
CAA Football’s league average of 20.4 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 22.5 points allowed/game.
Glancing at the league’s defensive trends (page 20 of the weekly release) going back to 2004, the conference’s current average in scoring defense of 20.4 points allowed/game is the lowest it has ever been.
The current average of yards allowed (326.4) is 2.4 yards off the league’s all-time best -- 324 yards/game from last season.
Conference Clash...In The Playoffs
CAA Football teams have faced each other five times in the NCAA Quarterfinals over the last seven seasons, including Friday’s New Hampshire/Delaware contest.
The four previous quarterfinal conference matchups have been rematches from the regular season, as only Massachusetts (2006) and James Madison (2008) won the earlier regular-season matchup those same seasons.
Friday’s matchup does not involve a rematch from the regular season, but the previous two UNH/UD matchups have been spectacular.
In 2006, the two teams combined for five lead-changes, 13 touchdowns and 982 yards of offense as junior Ricky Santos led New Hampshire past junior Joe Flacco and Delaware, 52-49, in Newark.
In 2007, freshman R.J. Toman replaced an injured Santos and wracked up 145 yards of total offense and two touchdowns to lead UNH to a 35-30 win at home over Flacco and the Hens.
Previous CAA Football Matchups In The Quarterfinals
-- 2004: at William and Mary 44, Delaware 38 (2OT)
-- 2006: at Massachusetts 24, New Hampshire 17
-- 2008: at James Madison 31, Villanova 27
-- 2009: at Villanova 46, New Hampshire 7
2010 CAA Football -- Did You Know...
-- Three CAA Football teams occupied the No. 1 spot in The Sports Network/Fathead.com Top 25 this season. Delaware was No. 1 during the final regular season week, William and Mary held the spot in the Nov. 8 edition and Villanova was in the top spot for a total of four weeks this season.
-- The league had its nine-week streak of seven ranked squads end Nov. 1. No league other than CAA Football has had more than six teams ranked in either poll on a single week dating back to 2007.
-- Delaware’s Pat Devlin leads the league with a passing efficiency mark of 156.2, which is also second-best in the country.
-- New Hampshire’s Matt Evans leads the league and ranks fifth in the country with an average of 12.1 tackles per game.
-- New Hampshire’s Dino Vasso has six interceptions this season in 12 games, and just moved himself into a tie for eighth on CAA Football’s career interception list with 18.
-- New Hampshire’s R.J. Toman needs 259 yards of total offense to place his name among the league’s career Top 10 list in the category.
-- Delaware was the fourth CAA Football squad to earn votes in the Associated Press (AP) poll (Nov. 7-14) in the last two seasons. The Blue Hens also joined JMU (Sept. 12-19) from this season in being only the second CAA Football team to earn votes in consecutive weeks. Both Richmond and Villanova earned votes in single weeks last season.
-- CAA Football is 20-4 against non-conference FCS opponents this season season (17-3 in the regular season).
-- CAA Football has topped three ACC non-conference opponents in the last two seasons including James Madison’s, 21-16, win over nationally-ranked Virginia Tech, Sept. 11.
-- 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.
-- Rhode Island, a current CAA Football member, announced Nov. 22, that it would move to the Northeast Conference beginning in 2013. The Rams will compete as part of CAA Football in both the 2011 and 2012 seasons.
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 18 of the weekly release. Below are highlights and notes about CAA Football in this week’s rankings.
The Sports Network/Fathead.com Top 25
-- Three CAA Football squads have held the No. 1 spot in the The Sports Network/Fathead.com Top 25 this season - Delaware, Villanova and William and Mary.
-- CAA Football only has three teams in the Top 10 this week - third time this season. The league had as many as five of the Top 10 from Sept. 20-Oct. 11 (four weeks).
-- The league had its record nine-week streak of seven teams ranked in The Sports Network/Fathead.com Top 25 end Nov. 1.
-- Only four of CAA Football’s 10 teams are ranked in the Top 11 this week - down from six in the Top 25 the two previous weeks.
-- If you’re counting teams that receive recognition by way of votes in the poll, eight of CAA Football’s 10 were honored this week - four in the Top 15 and four outside of the poll receiving votes.
-- 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 82-straight weeks.
FCS Coaches Top 25
-- Two CAA Football teams have been No. 1 in the Coaches poll this season - Delaware and Villanova.
-- Just three CAA Football squads appear in this week’s Top 10 - third time this season. The conference had as many as six among the Top 10 earlier this season (Sept. 20).
-- CAA Football’s nine-straight weeks with seven ranked teams ended Nov. 1. CAA Football is the only league to ever have seven teams ranked in a single week of the Coaches poll.
-- Four CAA Football teams are among the Top 11 this week, marking the first time this season the league has had fewer than six ranked teams.
-- CAA Football has had at least four squads ranked every week in the FCS Coaches poll since it debuted in 2007.
Delaware’s Devlin Among Unitas Golden Arm Award Final 10
Delaware quarterback Pat Devlin advanced to The Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award watch list final 10 this season.
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. The honor has been handed out to more current NFL players than the Heisman.
Devlin, a native of Downingtown, Pa., was the only NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision player part of the 2010 Unitas Watch list this season.
Devlin, CAA Football’s Offensive Player of the Year and First Team All-CAA Football quarterback, has started 11 of Delaware’s 12 games this season and has a passing efficiency mark of 156.2 (198-292-2-2414) which is tops among the league leaders and second in the country. The senior has completed 198-of-292 attempts for 2,414 yards and 18 touchdowns this season.
Unitas Golden Arm Award List Final 10
-- Andy Dalton, TCU
-- Pat Devlin, Delaware
-- Nathan Enderle, Idaho
-- Colin Kaepernick, Nevada
-- Jake Locker, Washington
-- Greg McElroy, Alabama
-- Christian Ponder, Florida State
-- Ricky Stanzi, Iowa
-- Tyrod Taylor, Virginia Tech
-- Scott Tolzien, Wisconsin
Eight CAA Football Players Earn ESPN Academic All-District Honors
A total of eight CAA Football student-athletes were awarded honors as ESPN Academic All-District winners and consideration for an ESPN Academic All-America selection.
Below is the list of individuals honored in their respective districts.
ESPN Academic All-District First Team Honorees
-- Angelo Babbaro, RB, Sr., Villanova
-- Pat Devlin, QB, Sr., Delaware
-- Yaky Ibia, DL, Sr., Towson
-- Chris Jeannot, TE, Jr., New Hampshire
-- Mark Mackey, WR, Sr., Delaware
-- Anthony Nelson, WR, Sr., Massachusetts
-- Matt Rae, DL, Jr., Rhode Island
-- Zack Reed, TE, Sr., Delaware
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, who has started all 51 games of his Villanova career, was 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 three-time First Team All-CAA Football offensive lineman, is an anchor for the Villanova offensive front which ranks as the league leader in both rushing offense (192.3 yards/game) and scoring (29.8 points/game), and third in the league in total offense (375.1 yards/game).
2010 All-CAA Football Honors
CAA Football announced its 2010 All-Conference honors November 22.
The awards, voted on by the 10 CAA Football head coaches, were handed out following a 2010 season which saw seven teams ranked among the Top 25 for a record nine-straight weeks. Within that same span the league also saw five of its own among the Top 10 in four-straight weeks. CAA Football also extended its string of wins against FBS opponents to eight in the last nine seasons.
Delaware senior quarterback Pat Devlin was chosen as the 2010 CAA Football Offensive Player of the Year. The league’s Defensive Player of the Year honor was awarded to both Massachusetts junior linebacker Tyler Holmes and Richmond senior linebacker Eric McBride. William and Mary junior kick returner Jonathan Grimes logged CAA Football Special Teams Player of the Year honors and Rhode Island second-year head coach Joe Trainer picked up the CAA Football Coach of the Year award. Delaware freshman running back Andrew Pierce and James Madison linebacker Stephon Robertson were the league’s Offensive and Defensive Rookies of the Year, respectively.
Devlin was the Blue Hens’ offensive leader enroute to a share of the 2010 CAA Football crown. The Downingtown, Pa., native is tops in the league and sixth nationally in passing efficiency over 10 of Delaware’s 11 games with a mark of 151.3. Devlin, one of 10 finalists for the Unitas Golden Arm Award, ranks second in the league averaging 215.8 yards passing per contest. The senior, one of the 20 finalists for The Sports Network/Fathead.com Walter Payton Player of the Year Award, heads into next weekend’s postseason after completing 179 of 266 passes for 2,158 yards and 14 touchdowns.
Holmes and McBride are two of the league’s four Buck Buchanan Defensive Player of the Year finalists. Holmes, a Blacksburg, Va., native finished his junior campaign with 110 tackles and five sacks in 11 contests. He also tied for the league lead in interceptions after hauling in five over 11 games, including two returned for touchdowns in the same contest. McBride, who ended his Richmond career with 54-straight starts at linebacker, ranks second in the league with 118 tackles in 11 games. The three-time First Team All-CAA Football honoree also leads the league in recovered fumbles with three.
Grimes, one of the most decorated student-athletes in CAA Football history having now earned eight honors in just three seasons, ranks second in the league with a mark of 25.3 yards per kickoff return. The junior leads the conference with 1,428 all-purpose yards on the season and is 12 yards shy of landing on the CAA Football career Top 10 all-purpose yards list. On top of his special teams duties, the Palmyra, N.J., native also ranks fifth in the league with 787 rushing yards for a William and Mary squad which won a share of the league title.
Trainer took the reigns at Rhode Island in 2009, and after going winless in the league last season, led the Rams to a 4-4 mark in CAA Football play in 2010. The second-year Rhody leader saw seven student-athletes win All-CAA Football recognition, including two First Team picks. Trainer, a long-time assistant under current Villanova head coach Andy Talley, finished the year with a mark of 3-3 against ranked foes including wins over No. 8 New Hampshire and No. 3 Villanova. The Rams special teams led CAA Football and ranked among the nation’s Top 15 in kickoff returns averaging 23.8 yards a return.
Pierce made a name for himself within the Delaware offensive scheme immediately when he opened the season with four-straight 100-yard rushing games. The Bridgeton, N.J., native, who eclipsed the 1,000-yard rushing mark in week 10, enters the postseason with a league-best 1,149 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns on 234 carries. Pierce garnered six CAA Football Rookie of the Week honors and another Offensive Player of the Week award pushing his total to a league record seven weekly honors in just one season.
Robertson, a two-time CAA Football Rookie of the Week winner, was the second leading tackler on a Dukes defense which ranked second in the league in total defense. The Alexandria, Va., native had a game-high 13 stops in James Madison’s epic win over then-nationally ranked Virginia Tech in September. The freshman also forced a Darren Evans’ fumble with five minutes left in the game which gave the ball back to the Dukes and allowed them to ice the contest. Robertson, who finished the season averaging nine tackles a game, ranked among the league’s best in forcing fumbles with three.
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 21 of the weekly release.
Keeler And Laycock Among Robinson Award Candidates
Delaware’s K.C. Keeler and William and Mary’s Jimmye Laycock represent CAA Football among the 20 finalists for the Eddie Robinson Award, which honors the national coach of the year and is sponsored by Fathead.com.
The Robinson Award, in its 24th year, will be presented at the national awards banquet on Thursday, Jan. 6 in Frisco, Texas – the night before the national championship game.
Keeler and Laycock both led their squads to the CAA Football Championship in 2010. The Blue Hens, under Keeler’s leadership, finished the regular season 9-2 and enter the playoff’s quarterfinals with the nation’s top scoring defense. Laycock and the Tribe earned the league’s automatic bid into the playoff field after going 4-0 against ranked teams including wins over then-No. 1 Villanova and then-No. 2 Delaware.
CAA Football Has Six Among Buck Buchanan Award Nominees
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 boasted 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 finished the season averaging more than 10 tackles a game, was a midseason addition to the list when it was updated Oct. 4. New Hampshire’s Matt Evans was the league’s final addition after moving his way into the nation’s Top 5 in tackles per game (12.1).
Buck Buchanan Award Watch List Honorees
-- Matt Evans, LB, New Hampshire
-- Tyler Holmes, LB, Massachusetts
-- Eric McBride, LB, Richmond
-- Martin Parker, DL, Richmond
-- Justin Rogers, DB, Richmond
-- Terence Thomas, LB, Villanova
CAA Football Has Five Among Walter Payton Award Nominees
The Walter Payton Award is given to the top individual player in the Football Championship Subdivision and CAA Football had five student-athletes appear on the honor’s 20-player Watch List this season.
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 boasted as many as three on the Watch List earlier this season -- seniors Ben Ijalana, Matt Szczur and Chris Whitney. Delaware senior Pat Devlin, who was 17th in the 2009 award voting, was also part of the 2010 Watch List while William and Mary’s junior Jonathan Grimes was a newcomer to the list earlier this season.
Walter Payton Award Watch List Honorees
-- Pat Devlin, QB, Delaware
-- Jonathan Grimes, RB, William and Mary
-- Ben Ijalana, OL, Villanova
-- Matt Szczur, WR, Villanova
-- Chris Whitney, QB, Villanova
NCAA Championship Notebook
-- Current Southern Conference squads hold a 21-13 advantage when squaring off against CAA Football teams in the playoffs. Appalachian State is 9-2 against CAA Football squads in the postseason.
-- Villanova is 1-6 in NCAA playoff road games since becoming a member of CAA Football (1988). New Hampshire is 5-5 on the road in the playoffs.
-- Delaware is 12-4 in NCAA playoff home games since becoming a member of CAA Football in 1986.
-- Friday will mark Delaware’s second-ever conference clash in the playoffs after it lost in two overtimes to William and Mary in 2004 (44-38). New Hampshire has faced two conference foes in the playoffs going back to a 2006 quarterfinal loss at Massachusetts (24-17) as well as a loss last season at Villanova (46-7), also in the quarterfinals.
-- CAA Football’s three postseason squads are a combined 33-26 in playoff games during their time in the conference - Delaware (18-11), New Hampshire (6-8) and Villanova (9-7).
-- Delaware (9-2), New Hampshire (6-6) and Villanova (6-1) are a combined 21-9 in postseason play dating back to the 2003 season.
-- Counting Friday’s game in Newark, CAA Football teams have faced each other four times over the last three postseasons. Friday’s game will be the third quarterfinal conference clash in the last three seasons.
-- New Hampshire’s appearance in the NCAA Championships marks its seventh-straight postseason berth. Since both Montana and Southern Illinois failed to make the playoffs, the Wildcats now have the longest active playoff appearance streak in the country.
-- In 2007 CAA Football became the first league to ever garner five postseason berths in the NCAA Division I Football Championship field of 16. The league went on to garner five more berths in the 2008 bracket.
-- 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).
#11/10 NEW HAMPSHIRE AT #5/5 DELAWARE
Friday, Dec. 10 - 8 pm
Delaware Stadium (22,000), Newark, Del.
Series: Delaware leads 19-10
New Hampshire (8-4, 5-3 CAA)
Coach: Sean McDonnell
Career: 88-57 (12 years)
School: 88-57 (12 years)
Rushing: Dontra Peters (11 G, 139-703 yards, 7 TD)
Passing: R.J. Toman (11 G, 208-332-10-2278 yards, 15 TD)
Receiving: Terrance Fox (12 G, 69-749 yards, 7 TD)
Tackles: Matt Evans (12 G, 72 solo, 73 assisted, 145 total)
Sacks: Brian McNally (12 G, 11.5-58 yards)
Interceptions: Dino Vasso (12 G, 6-(-10) yards)
Delaware (10-2, 6-2 CAA)
Coach: K.C. Keeler
Career: 160-62-1 (17 years)
School: 72-41 (9 years)
Rushing: Andrew Pierce (12 G, 252-1237 yards, 13 TD)
Passing: Pat Devlin (11 G, 198-292-2-2414 yards, 18 TD)
Receiving: Nihja White (12 G, 45-555 yards, 5 TD)
Tackles: Paul Worrilow (12 G, 30 solo, 57 assisted, 87 total)
Sacks: Chris Morales (7 G, 2.5-23 yards)
Interceptions: Anthony Walters (12 G, 6-119 yards)
#10/11 VILLANOVA AT #2/3 APPALACHIAN STATE
Saturday, Dec. 11 - 12 pm
Kidd Brewer Stadium (21,650), Boone, N.C.
Series: First Meeting
Villanova (8-4, 5-3 CAA)
Coach: Andy Talley
Career: 215-124-2 (31 years)
School: 187-106-1 (26 years)
Rushing: Aaron Ball (12 G, 150-681 yards, 5 TD)
Passing: Chris Whitney (12 G, 179-275-5-2040 yards, 21 TD)
Receiving: Norman White (12 G, 62-754 yards, 10 TD)
Tackles: Marquis Kirkland (12 G, 45 solo, 43 assisted, 88 total)
Sacks: Marquis Kirkland (12 G, 4.5-30 yards)
Interceptions: James Pitts (12 G, 3-64 yards)
Appalachian State (10-2)
Coach: Jerry Moore
Career: 226-125-2 (29 years)
School: 199-28 (22 years)
Rushing: DeAndre Presley (12 G, 148-1017 yards, 13 TD)
Passing: DeAndre Presley (12 G, 179-287-6-2270 yards, 19 TD)
Receiving: Brian Quick (12 G, 43-776 yards, 8 TD)
Tackles: D.J. Smith (12 G, 71 solo, 61 assisted, 132 total)
Sacks: Jabari Fletcher (12 G, 8.0-52 yards)
Interceptions: Mark LeGree (11 G, 5-66 yards)