The Villanova Wildcats quest to repeat as FCS champions fell short tonight with a 41-31 loss to Eastern Washington. Villanova had traveled upwards of 12,000 miles over the past three weeks of playoffs with trips to Steven F Austin in Texans, Appalachian St in North Carolina, and tonight to Eastern Washington. Players were literally taking final exams last night in their hotel. So it was a brutally tough road for the defending champs and one that ultimately fell just a game short of the FCS title game.
Matt Szczur was not the dominating presence he was last week, recording only 36 yards rushing, 25 yards receiving and one TD. Against Appalachian St he accounted for 5 of the Wildcats 6 TDs. Villanova struggled at times to find offense elsewhere. QB Chris Whitney did run two TDs in himself, but also threw two picks and managed just 95 yards through the air.
The Villanova defense that was so good at frustrating Appalachian last week, was lit up this week by Eastern Washington QB Bo Levi Mitchell, who threw for 292 yards and 4 TDs including one 76 yard TD to WR Brandon Kaufman.
Eastern Washington plays the winner of the Georgia Southern vs Delaware game tomorrow afternoon. For Villanova, their next decision is to decide whether they even want to stay in the FCS. They’ve currently got an offer on the table to join the Big East for football, which would move them up from 1-AA to the top tier of college football. The university is still evaluating whether to make the move or not.