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Villanova Readies For Familiar Face In FCS Quarterfinals

By Matt Leon

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) --- The Villanova Wildcats are still alive in the NCAA FCS Tournament. On Saturday they will host Sam Houston State in the quarterfinals.

The 11-2 Wildcats really had to earn this berth in the quarters. In their second round match-up with Liberty University, Villanova won 29-22 despite facing a 13-point first-half deficit and being down 22-14 in the 4th quarter.

"(Liberty) played very well," Villanova head coach Andy Talley tells KYW Newsradio. "I mean they're as good as any team that we've played all year, and we knew it would be a very difficult game. But add to the fact that we turned the ball over four times, one of them a fumble recovery they ran in for a touchdown, made it very difficult, in horrendous weather. It rained throughout the game."

Listen to Andy Talley with KYW's Matt Leon:


Villanova junior quarterback John Robertson led the way for the Wildcats in the win. The Walter Payton Award finalist overcame two lost fumbles to throw for 217 yards on just 8 completions, including a 70-yard touchdown strike to Kevin Gulyas which tied the game in the 4th quarter. he also rushed for 100 yards and two touchdowns, including what proved to be the game-winning score with 72 seconds remaining. That score capped an 18-play, 84-yard drive, in which the Wildcats ran the ball on every play. Senior running back Kevin Monangai was huge on the drive, carrying 9 times for 47 yards. He finished the game with a team-high 102 yards on the ground.

Villanova RB Kevin Monangai rushed for 102 yards in their second round win over Liberty. (Credit: Villanova Athletic Media Relations)

So now the Wildcats prepare for a 10-4 Sam Houston State team that won on the road last week over Jacksonville State, 37-26, and is coached by a very familiar face in these parts, former Delaware head coach K.C. Keeler.

"This is a team that has had a lot of success," Talley says. "They've been in the playoffs several, several times and just a very fast, typical Southwest type team. It's all Texas kids, they can run and they're real good football players."

Talley and Keeler are very familiar with each other as they matched up annually during Keeler's 11-year run as the head coach as Delaware which ended when he was let go after the 2012 season. Talley had the upper hand during that stretch, going 7-4 in their 11 match-ups and he says the Bearkats look familiar on tape.

"I think it's pretty much the same stuff that he's run in the past," Talley says. "Only he's running a little more option because he has a quarterback (Jared Johnson) that's (close to) a 1,000-yard rusher."

Sam Houston State features a lot of transfers on their roster, and one in particular has caught Talley's attention.

"One of the guys that really scares me is their outstanding wide receiver, he was starting at TCU last year, LaDarius Brown," Talley says.

Brown caught a pair of touchdown passes in that second round win over Jacksonville State.

The winner of this game on Saturday will get the winner of Coastal Carolina and North Dakota State in the semifinals.

Saturday's game at Villanova Stadium will kickoff at 1:00 pm.

You can follow Matt on Twitter @mattleonkyw.


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