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Game On 2014 Opponent Preview: Villanova
No. 20/23 Liberty continues its first-ever run in the NCAA FCS Playoffs this weekend when the Flames travel to Villanova, Va., to face No. 5/5 Villanova on Saturday.
Kickoff from Villanova Stadium is slated for 4:30 p.m. The game will be broadcast on ESPN3, while LFSN Radio will provide radio coverage with a pregame show starting at 3 p.m.
The Wildcats come into the game as the No. 6 national seed in this year's NCAA FCS Playoff field. Villanova was one of eight teams to receive a first-round playoff bye with its national seed.
Villanova enters the game with a 10-2 record and finished second in the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) with a 7-1 record. The Wildcats are making their 11th all-time appearance in the NCAA FCS Playoffs and fifth since 2008. Villanova's most notable postseason run was in 2009 when they captured the NCAA FCS National Championship.
The Wildcats have suffered two losses in 2014, both by one point. The first came during their opening weekend of play, when Villanova lost a 27-26 double overtime game at the Carrier Dome to FBS opponent Syracuse.
Villanova's second setback of the season was a 10-9 loss to CAA rival Richmond on Nov. 1. Both teams managed to score twice during the game (one field goal and one touchdown); however, Villanova missed its extra point attempt midway through the third quarter to allow the Spiders to claim the win.
The Wildcats are led by quarterback John Robertson, who was recently named one of three finalists for the Walter Payton Award (top FCS player in the country). The redshirt junior is the team's leader in passing yards (2,629) and rushing yards (978).
The 2014 CAA Offensive Player of the Year has accounted for 43 of the team's 63 offensive touchdowns (34 passing, nine rushing). He ranks No. 11 in the country in total offense (300.6 yards per game) and No. 1 in passing efficiency (183.0 rating/189-of-282).
The Wildcats' highly touted offense overshadows Villanova's strong defense. Villanova ranks No. 25 in the country in scoring defense, having allowed 21.2 points per game this season. The Wildcats ranked No. 9 nationally in rushing defense (106.6 rushing yards allowed per game) with six of their 12 opponents finishing with less than 100 rushing yards.
The Flames and the Wildcats have squared off against each other four times in program history with the last meeting taking place in 1994. Villanova leads the all-time series, 3-1, including a perfect 2-0 mark against the Flames at Villanova Stadium (W/ 26-14 in 1990 and W/ 16-13 in 1994).