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Villanova's Talley takes 200th win in stride

Oh, there was a celebration. It was just low-key. Villanova coach Andy Talley clapped his hands yesterday as he exited the Villanova Stadium field. He later was embraced by the Rev. Peter M. Donohue, the university's president.

Oh, there was a celebration. It was just low-key.

Villanova coach Andy Talley clapped his hands yesterday as he exited the Villanova Stadium field. He later was embraced by the Rev. Peter M. Donohue, the university's president.

But other than that, Talley showed little emotion after reaching another coaching milestone.

Already the Wildcats' winningest coach, Talley, 66, claimed his 200th career victory as Villanova defeated Rhode Island, 36-7, in the Colonial Athletic Association.

The homecoming rout in the pouring rain improved the Football Championship Subdivision's fourth-ranked Wildcats to 7-1 overall and 4-1 in the league.

"To be candid, not to downplay it, the playoffs are more important," said Talley, who is 200-120-2 in 30 seasons at St. Lawrence (N.Y.) and Villanova.

The national championship "is more important to me right now," he said. "Not to be cocky in any way, shape or form, but I don't think I really have to prove anything to anybody at this point. In terms of victories, it's just not that important to me. It truly, really isn't."

Most people would understand if Talley had a different reaction to his milestone, since he became just the fifth active coach in the subdivision with at least 200 victories.

The others are Albany's Bob Ford (240), Florida A&M's Joe Taylor (211), Appalachian State's Jerry Moore (210), and Penn's Al Bagnoli (204).

Eddie Robinson, the late Grambling coaching legend, tops the all-time Division I list with 408.

Twenty-eight of Talley's wins came during a five-season stint at St. Lawrence. He has won the remaining 172 at Villanova, where he resurrected a program that was dropped on April 15, 1981.

After being introduced as the coach in 1984, Talley began his first campaign a year later.

It didn't take long to clinch No. 200.

The Rams (1-6, 0-4) had minus-5 rushing yards by halftime, when the Wildcats held a commanding 21-0 lead.

Junior quarterback Chris Whitney had 124 yards rushing and 121 passing, including a touchdown.

Notes. Villanova center Brian Brannigan (plantar fasciitis), middle linebacker Marquis Kirkland (sprained ankle), backup running back Angelo Babbaro (turf toe), and backup cornerback Josh Potts (hamstring) sat out yesterday. . . . Last season's Villanova men's basketball team, which reached the Final Four, was honored at the conclusion of the first quarter. . . . Michael Gilchrist, a junior basketball player at St. Patrick High School in Elizabeth, N.J., attended the game. Gilchrist, widely considered the nation's top recruit regardless of class, was on his second unofficial visit to Villanova this month. Senior Markus Kennedy of the Winchendon (Mass.) School, a native of Delaware County, and junior Achraf Yacoubou of Long Island Lutheran in New York, also were there. Kennedy and Yacoubou, who played at now-defunct American Christian as freshmen, have made oral commitments to the Villanova basketball team.

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