Scheduling a team from the FCS ranks is often seen as an easy win, unless that FCS squad happens to be North Dakota State. However, this is a rare occasion when the FCS visitors happen to be the favorites heading in. Villanova, one of the top teams in the FCS this fall, heads to Storrs, Conn., to take on the UConn Huskies. While this series may not have the intensity it carries in men’s basketball, there is some potential for some hostilities on Thursday night.
Villanova at Connecticut
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. (Thursday)
TV Channel: SNY/ESPN3
Spread: UConn -3
Three Things to Watch
1. Can UConn manage to pull away from Villanova?
One of the challenges of facing an FCS squad at the beginning of the season compared to later in the year is the FCS challenger is more fresh going in. That could pose a problem for UConn. Despite having a scholarship advantage, Villanova can still manage to linger around and strike late if the Huskies cannot put the Wildcats down.
2. Say hello to Villanova QB John Robertson
Those plugged into the Villanova program need no introduction to Robertson. He even has generated some NFL buzz based on his prolific numbers from last season. He should once again be the key for Villanova against the Huskies. Robertson may not be facing a great UConn defense, but it is the strength of UConn entering the new season. UConn returns seven starters on that side of the ball.
3. Looking for another FBS victory
A few years back Villanova opened the season with a win against Temple in Philadelphia. Villanova has not recorded a win over an FBS opponent since 2009, although the Wildcats have had a couple of close calls. This may be Villanova’s best shot to pick up another FBS victory unless UConn figures anything out on offense.
Andy Talley has been doing this for a long time at Villanova, and this may be one of his best teams outside of his national championship squad from a few years back. Villanova should enter this game feeling good about the chances of returning to the Main Line with a win, but it must protect the football and cash in on red zone opportunities. They may not come often, but they will have enough of them to score the win.
Prediction: Villanova 23, UConn 20
— Written by Kevin McGuire, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and a member of the Football Writers Association of America and National Football Foundation. McGuire also writes for CollegeFootballTalk.com and hosts the No 2-Minute Warning Podcast. Follow him on Twitter @KevinOnCFB.