For the first time since 2016 and the 13th time in school history, Villanova’s season will continue in the Football Championship Subdivision playoffs.
The Wildcats (9-3) will travel to Hammond, La., and take on Southeastern Louisiana (7-4) in the first round on Saturday, Nov. 30.
“You never know what to anticipate. We’re just excited to be in the tournament and have an opportunity to continue our season,” Villanova coach Mark Ferrante said.
Ferrante and the players gathered at the Talley Athletic Center to await their destination. The players and coaches were “fired up” after the announcement, but now it’s time to work.
Villanova players and coaches are approaching this week like any other. Sunday was all about reviewing the film from Saturday’s 55-33 win over Delaware. On Monday, the attention turns to Southeastern Louisiana.
Villanova has little knowledge of the Lions, but according to Ferrante, the two schools have already begun exchanging film of all their games this season.
“It’s not anything that’s going to be a secret with anybody,” Ferrante said. “We exchange everything.”
The Lions have one of the most complete teams in the Southland Conference, finishing first in scoring offense (36.6 points) and second in scoring defense (24.1 points). Chason Virgil and Arkansas transfer Cole Kelley have both seen a lot of time at quarterback, but Virgil is the main guy. He has thrown for 2,881 yards, 18 touchdowns and 10 interceptions.
The Lions’ Isaac Berglund is one of the most disruptive defensive linemen in the Southland Conference. He finished the regular season with 15 tackles for loss and seven sacks.
The good news for Villanova is that the same thing can be said for its team. They have a high-powered offense that is coming off its best performance of the season, and they are expected to return a pair of key defenders. Linebacker Drew Wiley will be back and defensive back Julian Williams is looking healthier now.
The Wildcats lost to South Dakota State, 10-7, in the second round of the FCS playoffs in 2016.
Saturday’s game will kickoff at 4 p.m. on ESPN3. The winner will play sixth-ranked Montana (9-3) on Dec. 7.