Nov 29, 2013, 11:06 AM EDT
The final week of the regular season once again proved just how strong CAA Football truly is. Plenty of teams still had much to play for, whether that was trying to end the season on a positive note or keep their rivals out of the playoffs, while others battled hard enough during conference play to be able to hear their name called on Selection Sunday.
New Hampshire retained the Brice-Cowell Musket with a convincing, 24-3 victory over rival Maine to eventually secure the program’s FCS-leading 10th straight playoff berth. It was Maine’s first loss versus an FCS foe this season. Stony Brook took care of business at home (24-3) in the Empire Clash over UAlbany in a game that was a bit bittersweet for Seawolves HC Chuck Priore, a UAlbany grad and former player for Great Danes HC Bob Ford. Ford ended his vast coaching career Saturday after 40-plus seasons coaching and more importantly, teaching you men on and off the field. Villanova, CAA Football’s preseason favorite, stormed back from a 34-12 fourth-quarter deficit to stun rival Delaware at PPL Park, 35-34, while stud QB John Robertson had over 400 yards of offense and finished the season with 20 rushing TDs. Towson and HC Rob Ambrose continued its remarkable season Saturday, earning its 10th win of the year (28-17) and first victory over JMU since 1992. Junior RB Terrance West, who leads the FCS in rushing yards, yards per game and total TDs (31), added three more rushing scores to his resume in the win. Finally, in the Capital Cup, Richmond outlasted William & Mary, 31-20, to send the Tribe and their vaunted defense home without their eighth win of the season.
Speaking of the postseason, congratulations to Maine (No. 5 seed), Towson (No. 7 seed) and New Hampshire on living to play another day and reaching the field of 24 teams for the NCAA Division I FCS Championship. If you would like to read up on notes and tidbits regarding CAA Football and the playoffs, visit this week’s notes page on CAAFootball.com.
ICYMI: CAA Football also announced its All-Conference team on Tuesday.
- UAlbany’s 24-3 loss to Stony Brook was the final game on the sidelines for legendary head coach Bob Ford. After 44-plus seasons guiding the Great Danes, Ford, who closed the season as Division I football’s most-active winning football coach, compiled a total of 265 career wins. In the defeat, QB Will Fiacchi went 16-for-35 passing, en route to breaking UAlbany’s single-season completions record with 207 this season.
- Delaware QB Trent Hurley completed 19-of-26 passes for 231 yards and two touchdowns and also caught a 13-yard TD pass in the Blue Hens’ 35-34 defeat versus Villanova. WR Michael Johnson finished with eight catches for 127 yards and eclipsed the 100-catch and 1,000-yard receiving mark for his career as well. Senior RB Andrew Pierce set a new UD program record with career carries (930) and moved into second all-time in career rushing yards (4,459) after a 13-carry, 51 yard performance versus the Wildcats last Saturday.
- Maine’s 24-3 defeat at New Hampshire was the team’s first FCS loss this season and first loss to an FCS opponent since Nov. 3 of 2012 (JMU). The Black Bears limited UNH to just 118 yards passing, while LB Cabrinni Goncalves recorded 12 tackles, one sack and one pass breakup.
- New Hampshire’s victory over Maine on Saturday was the team’s 10th win in the last 11 matchups in the series and the Wildcats’ sixth win in its last seven games overall. UNH’s defense has allowed 20 points or more just once during that stretch of its last seven games, while the lone occurrence came in a 29-28 victory over Villanova.
- Richmond signal-caller Michael Strauss, who was named to the All-CAA third team, helped the Spiders take down William & Mary, 31-20, to keep the Captial Cup on Saturday. The Spiders, who ended the season on a four-game winning streak, finished 5-of-5 in the red zone and outgained the Tribe 382-306 in total yards. Redshirt sophomore RB Seth Fisher totaled 131 rushing yards and scored two TDs in the win.
- Stony Brook recorded over 400 yards of offense (456) for the second straight game after defeating UAlbany in the Empire Clash. Senior QB Lyle Negron passed for 262 yards on 15-of-26 attempts and ended the season with 2,637 yards, good for the second-highest single-season total in SBU’s Division I history. The Seawolves held UAlbany to just 239 yards of offense, marking the sixth time this season that they held a foe to under 300 total yards of offense.
- Towson’s win over James Madison to end the regular season was the program’s first victory over the Dukes since 1992. It also allowed the Tigers (10-2) to register a 10-win season for the first time since 1982. Towson RB Terrance West notched 100 rushing yards and three TDs, pushing his season total to 1,865 rushing yards and 30 TDs — both rank first in the FCS.
- Villanova QB John Robertson registered over 400 yards of offense for the second time in his career — 252 passing yards, three TDs, 165 rushing yards one TD — in Villanova’s thrilling victory over Delaware in the Battle of the Blue. Senior WR Joe Price hauled in two of Robertson’s TD throws and finished with 103 yards receiving in his final game as a Wildcat. Fellow senior, K Mark Hamilton, kicked the game-winning 24-yard field goal with one second remaining to secure the victory.
- In William & Mary’s 31-20 setback at Richmond, senior QB Brent Caprio totaled a career-high 250 passing yards in his final collegiate game. WR Tre McBride, a first-team All-CAA member (WR), registered the program’s 10th-highest single-game yardage total with 282 all-purpose yards versus the Spiders. McBride was also honored as CAA Football Special Teams Player of the Year, becoming the fourth consecutive Tribe player to earn the honor. The junior finished the regular season leading CAA Football with 27.5 yards per kick return and ranked third with 127.8 return yards per game.
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