CAA Football Players of the Week
Offensive Player of the Week - Drew Dudzik, QB, James Madison
Dudzik earns the CAA Football Offensive Player of the Week honor after leading James Madison to a 21-16 upset-win over nationally-ranked Virginia Tech in Blacksburg. The senior, responsible for all three of the Dukes’ touchdowns, was 5-of-8 for 121 yards and one touchdown passing and rushed 12 times for 35 yards and the other two TDs. Under Dudzik’s leadership, the JMU offense did not commit a turnover, converted 7-of-12 third-down opportunities, scored touchdowns in both redzone trips and won the time of possession battle by more than six minutes in the second half. James Madison’s win at Virginia Tech marked CAA Football’s 10th win over an FBS/BCS foe in five years, its fifth such win in the last two years and the league’s third over an ACC opponent in two years.
Defensive Player of the Week - Anthony Bratton, DB, Delaware
Bratton, the CAA Football Defensive Player of the Week, helped a Delaware defense limit No. 9 South Dakota State to just three points on Saturday as the Hens knocked off the Jackrabbits 26-3. Bratton picked off two first-half passes which led to Blue Hen scores and totalled two tackles in the contest. The senior was the leader of a defense which gave up just 250 yards of total offense, and limited the South Dakota State running game to just 25 yards on the ground. Through two games this season opponents have only mustered a field goal on the Delaware defense.
Special Teams Player of the Week - B.W. Webb, PR, William and Mary
Webb, last season’s CAA Football Defensive Rookie of the Year, notched his first punt return touchdown in Saturday’s, 45-0, Tribe victory over VMI. The CAA Football Special Teams Player of the Week took the Keydets’ first punt of the evening back 64 yards for a touchdown helping get William and Mary on the scoreboard. Webb logged one more punt return later in the game for nine yards and finished the contest with 73 total punt return yards.
Rookie of the Week - Andrew Pierce, RB, Delaware
Pierce, now a two-time CAA Football Rookie of the Week honoree, became the first Blue Hen ever to rush for 100+ yards in his first two career games. Pierce, who logged 26 rushes for 165 yards and a touchdown, helped Delaware to a 26-3 win over No. 9 South Dakota State at Delaware Stadium Saturday. In two career contests, Pierce has 284 yards on 39 carries and is leading the league with an average of 142 yards per game.
Rookie of the Week - Stephon Robertson, LB, James Madison
Robertson, another CAA Football Rookie of the Week winner, proved to be the hero in James Madison’s 21-16 upset-win at Virginia Tech Saturday. The linebacker recorded a game-high 13 tackles, but his biggest tackle of the day was one for a seven-yard loss on Hokie running back Darren Evans. With just under three minutes left in the game Robertson not only made the stop behind the line of scrimmage, but he also forced a fumble which halted the Virginia Tech comeback.
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
-- Three of the league’s squads in the Top 10 extended individual program streaks as Richmond has now been ranked 10th-or-better 37-straight weeks. Villanova has not fallen out of the Top 10 in 26-straight weeks and New Hampshire has been among the Top 10 five-straight weeks.
-- CAA Football makes up four of the Top 10, while only the Southern (Appalachian State and Elon) boasts multiple teams in the Top 10.
-- CAA Football now has a two-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 72-straight weeks.
FCS Coaches Top 25
-- CAA Football makes up four of the Top 10, while both the Southern (Appalachian State and Elon) and Missouri Valley (Southern Illinois and Northern Iowa) Conferences are the only other league’s with multiple Top-10 teams.
-- The league has had four Top-10 teams in 18 of the last 19 poll editions dating back to Nov. 23, 2008.
-- CAA Football has now had two-straight weeks with seven squads represented in the FCS Coaches poll. The last time the league had seven ranked in consecutive weeks of the Coaches poll was Sept. 7-14, 2009 (2 weeks).
-- CAA Football has had at least four squads ranked every week in the FCS Coaches poll since it debuted in 2007.
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 two games this season, Szczur ranks second on the league’s all-purpose yardage list with an average of 171 per game. Szczur needs just 609 more all-purpose yards this season to place himself among the league’s career all-purpose yard Top-10 list.
Villanova, Richmond and New Hampshire’s spots in the Sports Network/Fathead.com Top 10 mark some of the nation’s longest active streaks for Top-10 rankings. James Madison jumped into the Top 10 this week and will be looking to start a streak of its own. The Spiders have been part of the Sports Network’s Top 10 for 37-straight weeks trailing only Appalachian State’s 65-week string. Villanova’s 26-straight weeks in the Top 10 is right behind Richmond. New Hampshire extended a five-week Top-10 streak by its No. 8 spot in the poll.
Team - Consecutive Weeks In SN/F Top 10
No. 2 Appalachian State - 65
No. 9 Richmond - 37
No. 1 Villanova - 26
No. 6 Montana - 25
No. 5 Southern Illinois - 20
No. 7 Elon - 12
No. 8 New Hampshire - 5
No. 10 Stephen F. Austin - 4
No. 4 Jacksonville State - 2
No. 3 James Madison - 1
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 92 returns in his four seasons. Rogers, who was tied with three others for the top spot with 89 career returns coming into the season, logged three returns for 74 yards against Virginia to open the season.
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 just 258 kick return yards to pass Westbrook’s total.
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 opponnents) 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 28-117 (.193) 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.
James Madison Earns Associated Press Top 25 Votes
James Madison became the third CAA Football squad in the last two seasons to earn votes in the Associated Press (AP) Top 25 Poll, Sept 12. The Dukes were listed on two ballots (Ray Ratto, Comcast SportsNet Bay Area & Jon Wilner, San Jose Mercury News) and became just the sixth FCS team recognized in the poll.
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 (I-A) teams were permitted.
The Mountaineers went on to receive votes in two consecutive AP polls (Sept. 9 and 18) 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 is coming off what can be considered an epic upset comparable to Appalachian State’s in 2007. The Dukes outlasted nationally-ranked Virginia Tech, 21-16, in Blacksburg, Va., Sept. 11, in front of 66,233 fans at Lane Stadium.
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 has already been 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 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, who is making the switch from defensive end to inside linebacker with the NFL’s Buffalo Bills, 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 have already 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
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.
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 39 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.
2010 CAA Football -- Did You Know...
-- CAA Football is represented by upwards of 40 alums on 2010 NFL rosters as of Sept. 13.
-- Richmond’s Justin Rogers is the league’s all-time career leader in kickoff returns extending his mark to 92 in four seasons with three returns for 74 yards against Virginia. The senior needs just 258 kickoff return yards to become the league’s all-time career leader in kick return yards.
-- Villanova’s Matt Szczur needs just 609 all-purpose yards to move among the league’s career all-purpose yard Top-10 list.
-- James Madison is the third CAA Football squad to earn votes in the Associated Press poll in the last two seasons.
-- CAA Football is a combined 8-2 against non-conference FCS opponents this season. The league is also 10-7 thus far in all non-conference action.
-- CAA Football was a combined 29-14 against non-conference opponents in 2009, including a 6-1 mark in the NCAA Division I Football Championship.
-- CAA Football has topped three ACC non-conference opponents in the last two seasons including James Madison’s win, 21-16, over nationally-ranked Virginia Tech, Sept. 11.
-- 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.
#8/8 NEW HAMPSHIRE AT RHODE ISLAND
Saturday, Sept. 18 - 12 pm
Meade Stadium (6,555), Kingston, R.I.
Series: New Hampshire leads 50-28-5
New Hampshire (1-1, 0-0 CAA)
Coach: Sean McDonnell
Career: 81-54 (12 years)
School: 81-54 (12 years)
Rushing: Dontra Peters (2 G, 30-212 yards, 3 TD)
Passing: R.J. Toman (2 G, 24-44-1-267 yards, 1 TD)
Receiving: Chris Jeannot (2 G, 17-145 yards, 1 TD)
Tackles: Matt Evans (2 G, 10 solo, 11 assisted, 21 total)
Sacks: Josh Murray (2 G, 1.0-11 yards)
Interceptions: Randi Vines (1 G, 1-30 yards)
Rhode Island (0-2, 0-0 CAA)
Coach: Joe Trainer
Career: 14-32 (5 years)
School: 1-12 (2 years)
Rushing: Ayo Isijola (2 G, 25-75 yards, 0 TD)
Passing: Steve Probst (2 G, 44-83-2-369 yards, 3 TD)
Receiving: Brandon Johnson-Farrell (2 G, 9-98 yards, 0 TD)
Tackles: Chris Edmond (2 G, 14 solo, 6 assisted, 20 total)
Sacks: Chris Edmond (2 G, 1.0-6 yards)
Interceptions: Dave Zocco (2 G, 1-6 yards)
TOWSON AT #1/2 VILLANOVA
Saturday, Sept. 18 - 3:30 pm
Villanova Stadium (12,000), Villanova, Pa.
Series: Villanova leads 4-2
Towson (1-1, 0-0 CAA)
Coach: Rob Ambrose
Career: 6-17 (3 years)
School: 3-10 (2 years)
Rushing: Chris Hart (2 G, 38-202 yards, 0 TD)
Passing: Chris Hart (2 G, 29-56-4-320 yards, 6 TD)
Receiving: Tom Ryan (2 G, 9-60 yards, 2 TD)
Tackles: Jordan Dangerfield (2 G, 8 solo, 11 assisted, 19 total)
Sacks: Donte Blakey (2 G, 1.0-12 yards)
Villanova (1-1, 0-0 CAA)
Coach: Andy Talley
Career: 208-121-2 (31 years)
School: 180-103-1 (26 years)
Rushing: Aaron Ball (2 G, 29-147 yards, 2 TD)
Passing: Chris Whitney (2 G, 25-38-3-262 yards, 4 TD)
Receiving: Norman White (2 G, 9-99 yards, 1 TD)
Tackles: Terence Thomas (2 G, 10 solo, 5 assisted, 15 total)
Sacks: Marquis Kirkland (2 G, 1.5-13 yards)
Interceptions: Rakim Cox (2 G, 1-30 yards)
#16/15 MASSACHUSETTS AT MICHIGAN
Saturday, Sept. 18 - 12 pm
Michigan Stadium (109,901), Ann Arbor, Mich.
Series: First Meeting
Massachusetts (2-0, 1-0 CAA)
Coach: Kevin Morris
Career: 31-38 (8 years)
School: 7-6 (2 years)
Rushing: Jonathan Hernandez (2 G, 40-203 yards, 2 TD)
Passing: Kyle Havens (2 G, 40-62-0-516 yards, 3 TD)
Receiving: Anthony Nelson (2 G, 13-181 yards, 1 TD)
Tackles: Mike Mele (2 G, 8 solo, 9 assisted, 17 total)
Sacks: Tyler Holmes (2 G, 1.0-3 yards)
Interceptions: Tyler Holmes (2 G, 2-0 yards)
Coach: Rich Rodriguez
Career: 115-78-2 (18 years)
School: 10-16 (3 years)
Rushing: Denard Robinson (2 G, 57-455 yards, 3 TD)
Passing: Denard Robinson (2 G, 43-62-0-430 yards, 2 TD)
Receiving: Martavious Odoms (2 G, 9-114 yards, 0 TD)
Tackles: Jonas Mouton (2 G, 12 solo, 9 assisted, 21 total)
Sacks: Thomas Gordon (2 G, 1.0-11 yards)
Interceptions: Jordan Kovacs (2 G, 1-10 yards)
#7/7 ELON AT #9/9 RICHMOND
Saturday, Sept. 18 - 1 pm
Robins Stadium (8,700), Richmond, Va.
Series: Richmond leads 3-0
Coach: Pete Lembo
Career: 74-32 (10 years)
School: 30-18 (4 years)
Rushing: Brandon Newsome (2 G, 25-154 yards, 3 TD)
Passing: Scott Riddle (2 G, 43-66-2-525 yards, 4 TD)
Receiving: Aaron Mellette (2 G, 11-150 yards, 2 TD)
Tackles: Brandon Wiggins (2 G, 11 solo, 10 assisted, 21 total)
Sacks: Jordan Gibson (2 G, 1.0-7 yards)
Interceptions: Blake Thompson (2 G, 1-18 yards)
Richmond (0-1, 0-0 CAA)
Coach: Latrell Scott
Career: 0-1 (First year)
School: 0-1 (First year)
Rushing: Kendall Gaskins (1 G, 8-89 yards, 1 TD)
Passing: Aaron Corp (1 G, 18-32-1-183 yards, 0 TD)
Receiving: Tre Gray (1 G, 8-91 yards, 0 TD)
Tackles: Eric McBride (1 G, 7 solo, 5 assisted, 12 total)
Sacks: Kerry Wynn (1 G, 1.0-11 yards)
DUQUESNE AT #11/12 DELAWARE
Saturday, Sept. 18 - 6 pm
Delaware Stadium (22,000), Newark, Del.
Series: First Meeting
Coach: Jerry Schmitt
Career: 56-46 (12 years)
School: 28-25 (6 years)
Rushing: Larry McCoy (2 G, 41-165 yards, 2 TD)
Passing: Sean Patterson (2 G, 40-64-2-485 yards, 4 TD)
Receiving: Dave Williams (2 G, 11-105 yards, 1 TD)
Tackles: Nathan Totino (2 G, 18 solo, 3 assisted, 21 total)
Sacks: Zach Richert (2 G, 2.0-16 yards)
Delaware (2-0, 0-0 CAA)
Coach: K.C. Keeler
Career: 152-60-1 (17 years)
School: 64-39 (9 years)
Rushing: Andrew Pierce (2 G, 39-284 yards, 2 TD)
Passing: Pat Devlin (2 G, 28-48-0-306 yards, 4 TD)
Receiving: Rob Jones (2 G, 6-66 yards, 0 TD)
Tackles: Andrew Harrison (2 G, 10 solo, 7 assisted, 17 total)
Sacks: Andrew Harrison (2 G, 0.5-7 yards) & Anthony Walters (2 G, 0.5-7 yards)
Interceptions: Anthony Walters (2 G, 2-50 yards)
#12/13 WILLIAM AND MARY AT OLD DOMINION
Saturday, Sept. 18 - 7 pm
Foreman Field (19,782), Norfolk, Va.
Television: CSN-MA/CSN-P (TD-10:30)
Series: First Meeting
William and Mary (1-1, 0-1 CAA)
Coach: Jimmye Laycock
Career: 201-142-2 (31 years)
School: 201-142-2 (31 years)
Rushing: Jonathan Grimes (2 G, 33-135 yards, 3 TD)
Passing: Mike Callahan (2 G, 33-52-1-455 yards, 3 TD)
Receiving: Alex Gottlieb (2 G, 7-70 yards, 0 TD)
Tackles: Jabrel Mines (2 G, 10 solo, 14 assisted, 24 total)
Sacks: Ravi Pradhanang (2 G, 1.0-10 yards)
Interceptions: Brian Thompson (2 G, 2-49 yards)
Old Dominion (1-1)
Coach: Bobby Wilder
Career: 10-3 (2 years)
School: 10-3 (2 years)
Rushing: Mario Crawford (2 G, 18-116 yards, 0 TD)
Passing: Thomas DeMarco (2 G, 48-73-4-607 yards, 6 TD)
Receiving: Reid Evans (2 G, 12-145 yards, 2 TD)
Tackles: Craig Wilkins (2 G, 2 solo, 12 assisted, 14 total)
Sacks: Deron Mayo (2 G, 2.0-12 yards)
Interceptions: Deron Jasper (2 G, 1-0 yards)
MAINE AT SYRACUSE
Saturday, Sept. 18 - 7:15 pm
Carrier Dome (49,262), Syracuse, N.Y.
Series: Syracuse leads 1-0
Maine (1-1, 0-0 CAA)
Coach: Jack Cosgrove
Career: 94-102 (18 years)
School: 94-102 (18 years)
Rushing: Jared Turcotte (2 G, 47-234 yards, 3 TD)
Passing: Warren Smith (2 G, 22-39-1-243 yards, 0 TD)
Receiving: Derek Session (2 G, 7-122 yards, 0 TD)
Tackles: Jerron McMillian (2 G, 14 solo, 6 assisted, 20 total)
Sacks: Donte Dennis (2 G, 1.0-8 yards)
Coach: Doug Marrone
Career: 5-9 (2 years)
School: 5-9 (2 years)
Rushing: Delone Carter (2 G, 44-182 yards, 1 TD)
Passing: Ryan Nassib (2 G, 34-62-2-431 yards, 3 TD)
Receiving: Van Chew (2 G, 9-162 yards, 1 TD)
Tackles: Derrell Smith (2 G, 12 solo, 7 assisted, 19 total)
Sacks: Mike Holmes (2 G, 1.0-7 yards)