NEWARK, Del. - Villanova's Andy Talley will get to coach at least one more football game.
His Wildcats (8-3, 6-2 Colonial Athletic Assocation), ranked 13th in FCS, ensured that on Saturday with a 41-10 win at Delaware (4-7, 2-6). That secured them a spot in the playoffs for the sixth time in nine years. They will probably play in next weekend's first round, most likely at home, where Talley is 8-2 in the postseason. We'll find out for sure at 11 a.m. Sunday (on ESPNU) when the pairings are announced.
It was Villanova's fifth straight win in the series, and 10th in the last 11 meetings. Talley, who at 73 is retiring whenever his 32nd season on the Main Line comes to an end, finishes 17-12 against the Blue Hens. This equaled his largest win in the rivalry. He won here by the same score in 2012.
Former Delaware coach Tubby Raymond, with whom he became good friends, was there for the coin toss. Talley would get carried off by defensive end Tanoh Kpassagnon and offensive tackle Brad Seaton, two of his 10 fifth-year seniors.
"I wasn't so happy with that," Talley said. "It's a little precarious . . .
"Tubby said make sure you find something to do later in life. I'm already in later life."
He was also named an Honorary Blue Hen. This, for a man who was once named the second-most-hated man in the state in a Sports Illustrated poll.
"I think I've done a good job of improving my status," he said with a smile. "For them to acknowledge me like that was pretty special."
A week after losing at home to No. 6 James Madison, 20-7, the Wildcats scored on their first four possessions to go up by 24 points. Delaware, which fired coach Dave Brock five games ago and had its first back-to-back losing seasons since 1938-39, got a touchdown with 10 seconds to go in the second quarter. But the visitors got a short TD run from Javon White late in the third quarter and another one from Matt Gudzak midway through the fourth.
Zach Bednarczyk tied a career high with four touchdown passes. For the second time this season two were to tight end Ryan Bell, who now has a team-best five.
The Wildcats threw four times in the second half. Gudzak, whose father played for the Blue Hens, rushed for a career-high 121 yards on 13 carries.
"We were definitely disappointed coming off [JMU]," Bednarczyk said. "It just gave us extra motivation."
Not that they needed any. They might have still gotten into the 24-team field at 7-4, but who wants to leave it up to a selection committee?
"It's a good feeling, obviously, to go out with a quality season," said Talley. "I think we're as dangerous as any team in the tournament.