CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. - Villanova's Nick Yako and Dominic Scarnecchia probably won't be on the field very much tonight but the duo could still have starring roles in the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision final against Montana at Finley Stadium.
If so, it won't be the first time for Yako, a freshman placekicker, and Scarnecchia, a sophomore punter and safety. The specialists' stellar play helped the Wildcats (13-1) reach their first NCAA championship appearance.
And they both welcome a challenge to make a difference against the Grizzlies (14-0).
"It was great to think the field position battle helped win the game last week," Scarnecchia said of the 14-13 semifinal victory over William and Mary. "And, hopefully, I will be able to do the same thing this week."
Montana will be at a disadvantage if the Youngstown, Ohio native duplicates last week's performance.
Scarnecchia's average of 37.6 yards on eight punts was a little deceiving, with his longest sailing 59 yards. Six of those punts pinned the Tribe inside their 20-yard line, ending up on the 3, 1, 1, 16, 14 and 15.
His 59-yard punt was 2 yards shy of his season and career best against Towson.
For the season, he has averaged 37.8 yards on 56 punts, with 21 being downed inside the opponents' 20.
Yako didn't attempt a field goal in last week's semifinal. But his extra point with 10 minutes, 57 seconds remaining gave Villanova the one-point margin of victory.
For the season, Yako has made 11 of 15 field-goal attempts, including a career-best 45-yarder. He also kicked the game-winning 32-yarder against Temple with 49 seconds remaining.
"Our coaches always say big games always come down to special teams," Yako said. "I'm just excited to be a part of that.
"Me and Dom, we just do our jobs, but it comes down to the whole team . . . we have to play our role."