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#CAAFB Week 6 Story Lines

Oct 5, 2012, 11:55 AM EDT

As one of FCS Football’s premier conferences, CAA Football certainly has no shortage of news and notes from around the league. See below for some of the latest story lines coming out of our 11 programs heading into this weekend’s six league-wide matchups. Our full weekly release can be found here.
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·       The CAA fielded five teams in both The Sports Network and FCS Coaches Top 25 polls this week. Villanova is also receiving votes in both polls, while Richmond is doing so in The Sports Network poll.
·       The CAA has had three or more teams ranked in the Sports Network poll since its inception and five teams in each of the organization’s six polls to date this season.
·       After Montana dropped out of The Sports Network poll for the first time in 197 appearances (dating back to November 1998) on Oct. 1, New Hampshire now owns the nation’s longest active streak of 118 weeks ranked (dating back to Sept. 13, 2004).
·       New Hampshire and future league member Stony Brook moved up five spots this week to mark the largest jump of any program in the FCS Coaches poll.
·       The CAA continues to maintain its place among FCS Football’s upper echelon, sitting well above the nationwide average for both scoring offense (25.4) with 30.4 points per game and total offense (366.0) with 406.9 yards per game. Both figures rank second in the FCS.
·       After giving top-five BCS foe LSU a scare in Death Valley last weekend, Towson heads to Harrisonburg on Saturday to square off with James Madison at 1 p.m. on the NBC Sports Network. The Dukes, who are coming off their open week, welcome the Tigers to town with both programs boasting 1-0 conference records.
·       JMU is the only CAA squad that league preseason favorite Towson has never beaten since joining the CAA. The Tigers did not play the Dukes en route to winning their first-ever league title last season. JMU came away with a 17-13 win in the teams’ last meeting in 2010.
·       The teams’ combined three losses have all come against FBS opponents.
·       A Dukes victory would give head coach Mickey Matthews his 100th career victory. His current head coaching record stands at 99-62.
·       Saturday’s matchup features the league’s top two defensive units in the Tigers (1st) and Dukes (2nd).
·       The Tigers sit atop the conference standings in red zone offense with a 93.8 percent conversion rate, while the Dukes easily pace the league in rushing defense, allowing an average of just 85.2 yards on the ground through their first four games.
·       Sophomore RB Terrance West has turned in a CAA-best seven touchdowns for Towson this season. After leading FCS Football with a freshman-record 29 touchdowns a season ago, he now owns the program record with 36 career scores.
·       JMU QB Justin Thorpe has been granted a sixth year of eligibility by the NCAA and will now be listed as a redshirt junior for the remainder of the season.
·       Both teams are looking to bounce back after losses last week, with Delaware’s seven-game winning streak being snapped at the hands of host New Hampshire.
·       The Blue Hens have had strong starts in each of their five games this fall, outscoring opponents 41-0 in the first quarter and 92-24 in the opening half. UD has headed into the half with the lead in all five games.
·       Delaware ranks among the nation’s top 25 in scoring offense, scoring defense and turnover margin. The Hens are one of only four teams, all of which are nationally ranked, that can make that claim.
·       Maine ranks second in the league in pass defense, allowing just 140.8 yards passing per game in 2012.
·       UD junior kicker Sean Baner has converted all 19 extra point attempts and 10 of 11 field goals this season. He currently leads all FCS kickers in both field goals (11) and field goals made per game (2.0).
·       Maine QB Marcus Wasilewski threw for a career-high 409 yards against Villanova last week and currently ranks second in the CAA with 259.0 aerial yards per game. The junior joins ODU QB Taylor Heinicke as the only league quarterbacks to surpass the 400-yard passing mark in a game this season.
·       Maine WR Maurice McDonald sits atop the league in receptions with 8.00 per game. The junior hauled in 10 passes for 93 yards to eclipse the 1,000-yard career receiving mark last week against the Wildcats.
·       New Hampshire currently owns the nation’s longest active streak of appearances in The Sports Network Top 25 Poll with 118.
·       After being shut out in the opening half for the first time since 2000, the Wildcats roared back in the second half with a 34-0 run that led to the team’s 34-14 triumph over then-No. 8 Delaware.
·       A win over GSU would give UNH head coach Sean McDonnell his 100th-career victory.
·       The Panthers are in search of their first victory of 2012, with Saturday’s matchup marking their fourth game of the fall played at the Georgia Dome.
·       This will be only the third-ever game UNH (0-2) has ever played in a domed stadium.
·       GSU punter Matt Hubbard owns the fifth-best punting average in FCS Football with a 45.67-yard per punt clip.
·       UNH sophomore QB Andy Vailas (Offensive) and senior CB/RB Dontra Peters (Defensive) earned Player of the Week honors on Monday, marking the first time the Wildcats have wrapped up both honors in the same week since Sept. 10, 2006.
·       UNH senior LB Matt Evans is the FCS active leader in tackles with 382 and currently ranks second in the Wildcat program annals. He needs 53 stops to break the school record.
·       Villanova will ride a four-game winning streak into Saturday’s matchup with the Spiders, who had their own three-game streak snapped by No. 4 Old Dominion last week.
·       The two squads have exchanged wins dating back to the 2005 season, with the Wildcats prevailing, 28-7, in the last meeting in 2010. The Spiders have not won in Villanova since the 2000 season.
·       Both teams had players tabbed to national watch lists this week. Spider senior safety Cooper Taylor was added to the Buck Buchanan Award Watch List (FCS Football’s top defensive player) and Wildcat freshman QB John Robertson was selected to the initial Jerry Rice Award Watch List (FCS’ freshman of the year).
·       The Wildcats have held each of their last four opponents to 14 points or fewer. They will look to contain a Richmond offense that has scored 35.8 points per game this fall. ‘Nova boasts the top three players in the league in tackles for loss and have turned in 11 sacks over the last two games alone.
·       The Spiders have scored 30 or more points in four straight games this season, a mark they aspire to week in and week out given their 40-5 record when posting 30+ points dating back to 2005.
·       Richmond has been strong down the stretch in its first five games, outscoring opponents 54-14 in the third quarter this season and rallying back with a 24-0 fourth-quarter run against ODU on Saturday.
·       Spider senior QB John Laub lit it up with a career-high 27 completions, 44 attempts and 339 yards against the Monarchs. Junior WR Ben Edwards also had a career day with a career-best 182-yard effort on 11 receptions.
·       Speaking of career-highs, ‘Nova RB Kevin Monangai turned in a career-best 192 yards and two touchdowns in last week’s win over Maine to become the first Wildcat back to gain 190 yards on the ground since Brian Westbrook totaled 233 yards rushing in 2001. The sophomore, who is a major reason why the Wildcats currently lead the league in rushing yards, will look to lock up his third-straight 100-yard game on the ground this weekend.
·       ‘Nova junior Mark Hamilton is the reigning CAA Special Teams Player of the Week. Hamilton converted all five of his PATs and booted three punts of at least 50 yards against Maine, including a long of 63 yards and a pair inside the 20-yard line.
·       While Brown leads the all-time series 68-26-2, Rhode Island owns the edge in the Governor’s Cup series, 16-14, including an 8-5 record at Meade Stadium.
·       Rhody enters the weekend looking to snap a six-game losing streak dating back to last year.
·       URI senior WR Billy Morgan finished with 123 all-purpose yards at Bowling Green last Saturday and has now eclipsed the 100-yard plateau in three of the Rams’ four games this season.
·       Senior safety Clement Ani has been a pillar of consistency for the Rams, turning in nine tackles in each of the team’s four games this season. His nine-tackle per game average is tops among all CAA defensive backs.
·       Currently with 163 catches, senior WR Brandon Johnson-Farrell needs just three more receptions to move into the second spot in the URI annals in career receptions.
·       The Rhody offensive line has been effective in protecting junior QB Bob Bentsen, having allowed only six sacks this season to rank second in the conference in the category.
·       William and Mary is 4-1 all-time against Penn. The Tribe, which has won four straight in a series that dates back to 1944, last faced the Quakers in 1995.
·       The Tribe is searching for its second-consecutive win after topping Georgia State, 35-3, in Williamsburg last week. W&M allowed just 247 total yards on the evening.
·       Saturday’s matchup features two of the winningest coaches in FCS Football, as Tribe head coach Jimmye Laycock and Quaker head coach Al Bagnoli have each amassed more than 200 career wins. Bagnoli ranks fourth in career wins among active FCS coaches with 223, while Laycock ranks sixth with 214.
·       W&M’s four losses have come by a combined seven points, including a 7-6 loss to Maryland and a 20-17 setback to CAA preseason favorite Towson.
·       Tribe freshman LB and reigning CAA Football Rookie of the Week Luke Rhodes was selected to this week’s initial Jerry Rice Award Watch List, awarded annually to the freshman of the year in FCS Football. Rhodes ranks fifth in the CAA with 41 tackles and is the only league rookie to crack the top 15 in total tackles to date this fall.
·       Senior CB B.W. Webb leads the league and ranks fourth nationally with a 19.3-yard punt return average through five games.