Around FCS: Changing Reservations
By David Coulson FCS Executive Director
Philadelphia, PA. (Sports Network) - When I started looking at my 2008 travel schedule for FCS, I quickly circled a game between Cal Poly and McNeese State in Lake Charles, LA.
And I started dreaming of a big plate of Cajun crawfish linguine.
Well, my aversion to hurricanes overcame my love of Cajun food and my desire to see two of the top teams in FCS. Hurricane Ike caused the cancellation of the Cal Poly-McNeese State matchup and I found myself instead watching football a little closer to home on Saturday.
Other than a few rain drops on Interstate 95 in Delaware, I managed to avoid the storm I would have witnessed in Lake Charles, though the weatherman did serve up some Louisiana-styled humidity as Villanova hosted Lehigh and Delaware took on West Chester in my FCS doubleheader.
The day started with a leisurely trip down the Main Line, the drive made at a snail's pace due to the fact that it was parent's weekend at Villanova and a near-sellout crowd of 11,001 was on its way to Villanova Stadium.
The game itself got off to a leisurely start as well before Villanova erupted for 20 second-quarter points on the way to a 33-14 victory.
The contest turned with Villanova holding a 3-0 lead early in the second quarter. Lehigh quarterback J.B. Clark fired a 34-yard scoring strike to split end Mike Fitzgerald, but a holding penalty negated the go-ahead touchdown.
On the next play, Clark was pressured by Wildcat defensive end Greg Miller and forced out of the pocket. Clark threw a pass near the sideline and into the hands of outside linebacker Osayi Osunde, who seemed like the most startled man in the stadium to find that he had the ball.
"I pretty much was in the right place at the right time," said Osunde. "Once I realized I had (the ball), I just started running."
Osunde's instincts as a high school running back took over at that point and he raced 56 yards down the sideline and into the end zone.
"It still feels like a dream to me," said Osunde, who gave the Wildcats a 10-0 lead with 11:38 left in the half.
Lehigh never recovered. Clark completed just 20-of-43 passes for 200 yards, but he was intercepted four times and sacked on three occasions.
Villanova quarterback Antwan Young, in just his second game back after season- ending knee surgery last year, seemed to get more comfortable as the game wore on and finished 22-of-35 passing for 231 yards and one TD, with one interception.
"When you go out and play a game, there is Heaven and there is Hell," said Villanova coach Andy Talley. "We're in Heaven right now."
Traffic was even slower leaving Villanova Stadium than it had been getting there. After surviving that snarl, I found my route to Delaware Stadium blocked by a fender bender on Interstate 95. I crawled towards Wilmington and eventually made it to the friendly confines of Newark.
The parking lots were full and the noise emanating out of Delaware Stadium could be heard several blocks away. Some 22,029 fans turned out to see the Blue Hens' annual slaughter of the West Chester Golden Rams.
Delaware had won 14 straight games over their Division II neighbors and hadn't lost since a 1992 shocker.
With the Blue Hens breaking in a new quarterback to replace NFL first-round pick Joe Flacco, West Chester proved to be a perfect opponent for Ohio State transfer Rob Schoenhoft.
Schoenhoft, who had struggled at times in Delaware's season-opening 14-7 loss at Maryland two weeks ago, seemed to find more of a comfort zone as he helped the Blue Hens to a 34-6 first-half lead.
Schoenhoft played three quarters, hitting 14-of-26 passes for 194 yards and two touchdowns and was helped by a rushing attack that piled up 308 yards.
Johnathan Smith had 13 carries for 101 yards and three touchdowns, including one 62-yard scoring scamper. And Jerry Butler rushed 12 times for 92 yards and a 53-yard TD romp as the Blue Hens capped off a 48-20 win.
But Schoenhoft misfired on several occasions, including missing one wide-open receiver in the end zone and throwing one interception. Still, the personable Schoenhoft saw progress in the offense's performance.
"When you get another week with these guys in practice, you're going to get better," Schoenhoft said. "We had to show what we could do."
Delaware coach K.C. Keeler also saw improvement.
"I thought we made some steps forward at (the quarterback) position," said Keeler. "He did a good job of managing the game and getting himself out of trouble."
While Keeler, Schoenhoft and company were concluding their interviews and heading back to the locker room, a large chunk of that loud, supportive throng of Delaware fans were finding something else to get enthusiastic about - the Blue Hen band.
The band reprised their halftime performance and kept playing encores into the Delaware night.
09/14 21:39:45 ET