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#CAAFB Week 7 Story Lines

Oct 12, 2012, 11:36 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 five league-wide matchups.

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·       The CAA fielded five teams in both The Sports Network and FCS Coaches Top 25 polls again this week, including Old Dominion and James Madison ranked third and fourth, respectively. Albany and Stony Brook, who are set to join the league in 2013, are both ranked in the FCS Coaches poll as well.
·       Richmond, Maine and Villanova are all receiving votes in The Sports Network Poll, with the Black Bears also following suit in the FCS Coaches 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 seven polls to date this season.
·       After Northern Iowa dropped out of The Sports Network poll for the first time in 106 weeks on Monday, CAA programs now own two of the nation’s three longest active streaks of consecutive appearances in the poll. New Hampshire leads FCS Football with 119 straight appearances dating back to 2004, while Delaware (along with Montana State) has the third-longest streak at 36 consecutive appearances.
·       A pair of head coaches in JMU’s Mickey Matthews (100-62) and UNH’s Sean McDonnell (100-64) earned the 100th win of their head coaching careers on Saturday, marking the first time that two league head coaches captured their 100th career victory on the same day.
RICHMOND (4-2, 2-1) VS. 12/13 NEW HAMPSHIRE (4-2, 2-1)
·       The two teams are tied, 10-10, in their all-time series. The Wildcats have won two straight against the Spiders, but have not won three straight in the series since 1989-91.
·       Coming off its first win at Villanova since 2000, Richmond will look to recapture those same winning ways on the road in Durham, where they coincidentally have not won since 2000. The Spiders have played four of their last five games on the road.
·       Richmond is searching for its first win over a ranked opponent in two seasons and its first victory over a ranked UNH squad since 2007.
·       The Spiders are 51-5 since 2004 when leading at the half (3-0 in 2012) and 40-5 since 2005 when scoring 30+ points (3-1 in 2012).
·       The Wildcats are one of only six programs in all of NCAA Football to have average more than 245 yards in the air and on the ground.
·       UNH sophomore running back Nico Steriti (126 yards) and redshirt freshman running back Jimmy Owens (120 yards) both rushed for more than 100 yards in last week’s win over Georgia State, marking the first time two Wildcats surpassed the century rushing mark in the same game since 2005.
·       In the Wildcats’ last two meetings with the Spiders, they have come away with eight interceptions, including three returns for touchdowns.
·       Richmond has allowed just one sack in 225 passes and has recorded 11 interceptions to date this season, figures that rank first and second in the country, respectively.
·       Spider senior fullback Kendall Gaskins ranks fourth all-time in scoring with 28 touchdowns and needs just one more score to enter the program’s top three.
GEORGIA STATE (0-6, 0-0) VS. RHODE ISLAND (0-5, 0-2)
·       Saturday’s matchup marks the first meeting between the two teams and the first time GSU has ever played in the New England area.
·       This will also represent the first time Rhody has played consecutive home games this year. The Rams are 7-5 at Meade Stadium over the past three seasons.
·       Both the Panthers and Rams are in search of their first wins of the fall, with the latter looking to snap a seven-game losing streak dating back to 2011.
·       GSU junior WR Albert Wilson hauled in touchdown passes of 54 and 47 yards last week against New Hampshire to give him 13 career scores, seven of which have been by 40 yards or more.
·       Panthers junior punter Matt Hubbard has booted 15 of his 28 punts more than 50 yards and currently owns the third-best punting average in FCS Football with 46.29 yard per kick.
·       URI senior wide receivers Brandon Johnson-Farrell and Billy Morgan have each totaled more than 100 all-purpose yards in three games this fall. Johnson-Farrell became just the sixth player in program history to top 4,000 career all-purpose yards earlier this season.
·       Senior safety Clement Ani (8.6) and sophomore linebacker Andrew Bose (7.6) enter the weekend ranked fourth and seventh, respectively, in the CAA in tackles per game.
WILLIAM AND MARY (2-4, 1-2) VS. 4/5 JAMES MADISON (4-1, 2-0)
·      The Dukes have won each of the last two matchups with the Tribe by six points and eight of the last 10 meetings overall. A W&M win would be its first in Harrisonburg since 2004.
·       The 34-game JMU/W&M series is Dukes’ most-played rivalry. The Tribe’s longest-standing rivalry is with Richmond, with the two teams scheduled to meet for the 122nd time in November.
·       W&M meets its third nationally-ranked league opponent of the season after dropping a pair of decisions to nationally-ranked Delaware and Towson earlier this season.
·       JMU ranks fifth nationally in points allowed per game (13.80), eighth in net punting yards (39.35) and ninth in total defensive yardage (296.80).
·      W&M enters the weekend as the second-least penalized program in FCS Football, averaging a mere 3.2 flags per game this fall. It also ranks fourth in fewest penalty yards per game with 30.8.
·      The Tribe has forced nine turnovers in its previous two matchups, which were also its first wins on the season. Of the team’s 14 offensive drives that resulted in touchdowns this year, seven have come off turnovers.
·       After totaling just 58 points in its first four games, the Tribe has turned in 69 points over its last two games.
·       Redshirt junior quarterback Justin Thorpe has led the Dukes to victory in 13 straight regular-season FCS starts and 14 of his last 15 overall FCS contests.
·       JMU junior linebacker and preseason All-American Stephon Robertson has led the Dukes in tackles in three of the team’s first five games, including a career-high 15 stops in the Towson win.
VILLANOVA (4-2, 2-1) VS. 3/3 OLD DOMINION (5-0, 2-0)
·       Saturday’s game marks just the second meeting between the Monarchs and Wildcats. ODU won last year’s meeting, 35-14, on the road.
·       The Monarchs have won nine of their last 10 games, a streak that started the week after suffering their last home loss (39-35 loss to Towson on Oct. 15, 2011).
·       ODU has attained its highest-ever ranking at No. 3 in both The Sports Network and FCS Coaches Polls.
·       This weekend’s matchup pits a prolific ODU offense against a stingy Nova defense. The Monarchs lead FCS Football in scoring offense (56.2), total offense (654.20) and passing offense (465.00), while the Wildcats are allowing just 19.0 points and 339.7 yards of total offense per game this season, the former ranking second in the CAA through six weeks of the season.
·       Villanova’s offense has been one of the league’s most explosive as of late, with the Wildcats unleashing for 400 yards of offense in four consecutive contests. They are 3-1 in that span.
·       Monarch sophomore quarterback Taylor Heinicke leads the nation in total offense with 503.60 yards per game, and senior wide receiver Nick Mayers ranks seventh with 11.20 receiving yards per game.
·       In last week’s loss to Richmond, redshirt freshman quarterback John Robertson became the first Wildcat QB to finish with 300 yards passing (308) and 100 yards rushing (117) in the same game. The 425-yard performance is the fourth-highest single-game total in program history.
·       Wildcat sophomore running back Kevin Monangai leads Nova with 90.5 rushing yards per game through six outings this season. His average is the second best in the CAA.
MAINE (2-3, 1-1) VS. 17/19 TOWSON (2-3, 1-1)
·       Maine had won five straight in this series before Towson came out on top, 40-30, in Orono a year ago.
·       The last three games in this series have all been decided by 10 points or less.
·       After playing one of the toughest nonconference schedules in the nation this season, the Tigers enter the weekend having won eight of their last 10 league contests. They have split their two CAA games this year after topping William and Mary in week two and falling to James Madison last Saturday.
·       Following this past week’s 26-3 win over Delaware, the Black Bears are on the hunt for their second-straight road win over a ranked opponent.
·       Towson has done a masterful job of controlling the clock this fall with its 34:03 average time of possession through give games, which ranks second in FCS Football. The Tigers have run 56 more offensive plays than their opponents this season (347-291)
·       Saturday’s matchup features two of the league’s most dominant defenses. Towson ranks first in the CAA in both pass defense (135.0 yards) and total defense (282.0 yards). Those figures also rank second and sixth in the nation, respectively. Maine boasts the league’s second-best pass defense (148.0 yards), which also ranks seventh nationally, and is third in the CAA in total defense (323.2 yards).
·       Reigning CAA Defensive Player of the Week and The Sports Network National Defensive Player of the Week Michael Cole leads FCS Football with seven sacks for the Black Bears this season. The junior has 21.0 career sacks and is well on his way to breaking the more than two-decade-old school record of 27.5.
·       Maine quarterback Marcus Wasilewski ranks 25th in the nation in total offense with 252.80 yards per game. The junior is also one of only two league QBs to throw for more than 400 yards in a game this fall.
·       Tiger sophomore running back Terrance West is tied atop the CAA standings with seven touchdowns this fall, with his seven scores coming in just five games.
·       Classmate Derrick Joseph is a proven threat on kick returns for the Tigers, leading the league with a 27.2-yard average.