We'll never know what might have happened, had the snow and wind and cold not turned Villanova Stadium into a nasty environment for a football game on Saturday afternoon.
But this much is certain: The Wildcats (12-1) have tied a program record for wins in a season (set in 1997) and made it to the FCS semifinals for the second time (the other was 2002). They did so by beating the team that had beaten them, New Hampshire (10-3).
That happened on Oct. 10, on the road (28-24). This time, it was Villanova 46, New Hampshire 7. Perhaps the revenge would have been just as decisive had the conditions been pristine. Not that it matters. At this juncture if you advance on a rouge it still counts the same.
Villanova scored on the opening snap, on a 4-yard fumble return by John Dempsey. It was 17-0 by the end of the first quarter, 24-zip at the half. New Hampshire didn't make a first down until 6 1/2 minutes were left in the third period. The 'Cats threw five times, unheard of in the Andy Talley era. There wasn't any need.
They gained 343 yards on the ground on 59 attempts. The visitors finished with minus-66 on 23 (in college, sacks count against rushing totals). Angelo Babbaro, who missed the first game with an injury, ran 13 times for 148 and two touchdowns, including a 59-yarder late in the third quarter that made it 39-0.
In the last four games, the 'Cats have rushed for 1,198 yards. Their opponents have rushed for 73.
Now the Wildcats will play another Colonial Athletic Association team in William & Mary (11-2), which won its second-round game at Southern Illinois (11-2), 24-3. 'Nova won the first meeting, at home on Oct. 3, 28-17.
This one will be Friday at 8, also on the Main Line (and ESPN2). Seven years ago, the 'Cats had to go to McNeese State in this spot and lost a controversial game, 39-28. The title will be decided on Dec. 18 in Chattanooga, Tenn.
The other semifinal is Appalachian State (11-2) at Montana (13-0), Saturday at 4. The Mountaineers, who won it all in 2005, '06 and '07, scored on a 4-yard TD pass with 10 seconds remaining to win 35-31 at defending champion Richmond (11-2), in a rematch from last year's quarterfinals. Montana rolled Stephen F. Austin (10-3), 51-0.
"It's not the team I'd want to play right now," said Talley, "nor was New Hampshire. It's just brutal to go to war with guys that you know how good they are. So, you know, I'm very, very concerned about playing them again.
"They play great defense, they're all over the field on offense, and they're playing extremely well.
"Plus, we've beaten them five times in a row. I'm sure [coach Jimmye Laycock] will be remdinding them of that on a daily basis. This could erase all of those losses, if they were able to beat us."
Three CAA teams have won the title in the last six seasons - Delaware in 2003, James Madison the following December and Richmond a year ago. Two others lost in the final - Massachusetts in 2006 and Delaware in '07. William & Mary lost at home in the semis 5 years ago to JMU (48-34). That's the only time one of those three CAA champs met a CAA team in the playoffs.
William & Mary hasn't won at 'Nova since 2000.
"We're a very determined football team," Talley said. "We've gotten this far before. And I don't know when we'll get here again. We want to maximize this thing to the hilt.
"Yes, sir, it's the toughest league in the country. And we're the champions of our league. That's why it was important for us to beat the team that beat us."