CAA News & Notes: Pair Of Top-25 Matchups Headline Week 5

Four weeks into the 2019 college football season, a couple of trends have become evident in the CAA thus far: We're going to enjoy a thriller or two each week — and the road team may well emerge as the victor.

Last week's continuation of what has now become an expectation manifested itself in the form of Villanova's 52-45 overtime victory at Towson and New Hampshire's 27-24 victory at the buzzer on the road at Rhode Island.

Is there more of that in store for us in Week 5? It sure looks like it.

Two Top 25 Matchups On Week 5 Schedule

The Week 5 schedule features four conference games, highlighted by a pair of top-25 matchups on FloFootball.com. No. 8/13 Villanova hosts No. 12/16 Maine, and No. 2 James Madison visits No. 24 Elon. A year ago, Maine edged Villanova, 13-10, on a field goal as time expired, while Elon got past JMU, 27-24, ending the Dukes’ record 20-game conference winning streak. 

This week’s conference slate also includes William & Mary heading to UAlbany in the opener for both teams and Rhode Island entertaining Stony Brook under the lights at Meade Stadium.

CAA Games Provide Plenty Of Excitement 

Three of the five CAA games played this season have gone down to the wire. Last Saturday, Villanova outlasted Towson 52-45 in overtime, and New Hampshire got past Rhode Island 27-24 on a field goal as time expired. Delaware pulled out a 36-33 triple-OT win at Rhode Island on Sept. 7. Road teams are 4-1 in conference games so far.

Strong Start In Non-Conference Play

CAA Football teams are 21-4 against non-conference FCS foes this season, which is the best of any conference. The league compiled a 22-9 (.710) record against non-conference FCS competition last year and went 26-6 (.813) in non-conference games against FCS opponents in 2017. 

Maine's Edwards Earns National Honor 

Maine senior Earnest Edwards was named the STATS FCS Special Teams Player of the Week after returning kickoffs 100 and 95 yards for touchdowns in the third quarter at Colgate. His 198 KOR yards were a program record and he tied his own CAA mark for TDs in a game. 

Edwards, who leads FCS in KOR average (40.6) this season, has six returns for TDs in his career. He’s the third CAA player to receive national accolades in 2019, joining Villanova’s Jaquan Amos and Elon’s Marcus Willoughby, who were named Defensive Player of the Week. 

In addition to Edwards’ honor, STATS named Villanova as its FCS National Team of the Week. 

CAA Looks To Extend Success Against FBS Foes 

Delaware visits Pitt and Towson travels to Florida on Saturday as the CAA looks to extend its streak of four straight years with an FBS win. CAA Football teams have posted multiple victories over FBS opponents in each of the past three seasons. 

In 2018, Villanova beat Temple, 19-17, and Maine beat Western Kentucky, 31-28. CAA Football has posted 38 wins over FBS foes in its history and has won at least one game against an FBS team in 11 of the past 13 years. 

Since 2013, seven different teams (UAlbany, JMU, Maine, New Hampshire, Richmond, Towson, and Villanova) have recorded an FBS victory.

Six CAA Teams Ranked Nationally  

For the second week in a row, six CAA Football teams are ranked in the STATS and AFCA Coaches top 25 polls. In the STATS poll, JMU is ranked No. 2, followed by No. 8 Villanova, No. 10 Towson, No. 12 Maine, No. 20 Delaware, and No. 24 Elon. 

The AFCA poll includes No. 2 JMU, No. 10 Towson, No. 13 Villanova, No. 16 Maine, No. 19 Delaware, and No. 24 Elon. The six ranked teams are the most of any FCS conference. Stony Brook received votes in both polls.

Towson's O'Neill Closes In On CAA FG Mark 

Towson All-America kicker Aidan O’Neill has 57 career field goals, which is two shy of the CAA all-time record of 59 set by W&M’s Greg Kuehn (2002-05). O’Neill is 4-for-6 on field goals this season.

URI's Parker Leads Nation In Receiving 

Rhode Island wide receiver Aaron Parker leads FCS in receiving yards per game (171.7) and is second in receptions per game (10.0). The senior has topped the 100-yard mark in all three games, including a 12-catch, 227-yard effort vs. Delaware. He ranks second in career receiving yards (2,751) at URI.

Villanova's Covington Tops 100 Again 

Villanova’s Justin Covington ran for a career-high 194 yards and a TD at Towson last week, which was his fourth-straight 100-yard effort. He leads FCS with 556 rushing yards this season and is fourth in yards per game (139.0).

UAlbany

•  Rolled over Lafayette, 36-7, last week for their third straight win at home.

•  Jeff Undercuffler was 19-of-25 passing for 212 yards and tied the program record with four TD passes for the second week in a row. He ranks 2nd in the CAA with 12 TDs.

•  Juwan Green made five catches for 58 yards and a TD vs. Lafayette. He ranks second in the CAA and 15th in FCS in both receptions (28) and receiving yards (408) and he’s second nationally with six receiving TDs.

•  Karl Mofor ran for a career-high 135 yards on 25 carries vs. Lafayette and also caught a 48-yard TD pass. He ranks second in the CAA in rushing (100.5).

•  The Great Danes are averaging 466.0 ypg offensively over the past three weeks.

•  Donovan McDonald returned the opening kickoff 98 yards for a TD vs. Lafayette.

•  AJ Mistler contributed a team-high nine tackles, a sack, and a forced fumble vs. Lafayette.

Delaware

•  Overcame a 14-point second-half deficit to defeat Penn, 28-27, last week.

•  Nolan Henderson was 20-of-29 passing for a career-high 260 yards and three TDs in his first start at QB. He’s completing 72.5 percent of his throws for the year and has 5 TDs and 0 interceptions.

•  Will Knight ran for 46 yards and a TD on only seven carries vs. Penn. He tops UD with 236 rushing yards and is averaging 11.2 ypc.

•  Thyrick Pitts made five catches for a career-high 128 yards and a TD vs. Penn. He leads UD with 17 receptions for 290 yards.

•  Kedrick Whithead made 14 tackles vs. Penn, setting a new career-high for the second week in a row. He leads the Blue Hens with 36 stops for the season.

•  DL Cam Kitchen recorded a season-high seven tackles vs. Penn and has 17 for the year.

•  Delaware has rallied from a deficit in all three of its victories this season, including two comebacks from 14 points down.

Elon

•  Dropped a 49-7 decision at unbeaten ACC foe Wake Forest last week.

•  Davis Cheek passed for 94 yards and a TD at WFU. He has thrown for 200-plus yards three times this season and has gone 209 consecutive passes without an interception.

•  Kortez Weeks, who leads Elon with 15 receptions for 205 yards, has had TD catches in all three games he’s played this season after not having one since 2017.

•  Avery Jones’ 40-yard TD reception at Wake Forest was the longest of his career.

•  Thirteen of Elon’s 14 scoring drives in 2019 have been at least 69 yards and all have resulted in touchdowns.

•  DB Daniel Reid-Bennett tallied a career-high 13 tackles and intercepted his second pass of the season at Wake Forest. He leads Elon with 31 stops and four PBUs for the season.

•  Marcus Hillman recorded a career-high 10 tackles at Wake Forest.

James Madison

•  On a three-game winning streak after beating Chattanooga 37-14 last week. Have outscored past three opponents, 144-33.

•  Ben DiNucci was 19-of-25 passing for 264 yards and a TD at UTC. He ranks third in FCS in completion percentage (73.2 percent) and fourth in passing efficiency.

•  Percy Agyei-Obese rushed for a career-high 114 yards and two TDs on 19 carries at UTC.

•  Riley Stapleton made a team-high five catches for 73 yards in his first game last week.

•  JMU topped the 500-yard mark (532) in total offense for the third-straight game.

•  JMU’s defense has held all four opponents to under 340 total yards.

•  The Dukes rank No. 3 in FCS in rushing defense, No. 4 in total defense, and No.7 in scoring defense.

•  Ethan Ratke is 8-of-10 on FGs this season. With 39 career FGs, he has tied JMU’s all-time record.

Maine

•  Picked up a 35-21 victory at Patriot League favorite Colgate last week.

•  Chris Ferguson ranks eighth in FCS in passing (318.8 ypg) and has thrown for 250-plus yards in four of his last five games.

•  Joe Fitzpatrick rushed for a season-high 102 yards and a TD on 16 carries at Colgate.

•  Earnest Edwards returned two kickoffs for TDs (100 and 95 yds) at Colgate and now has six for his career. He leads FCS in KOR (40.6 avg) this season. Edwards also has 15 receptions for 333 yards and three TDs.

•  Maine ranks 11th in FCS in passing offense and has five receivers with 12-plus catches.

•  The Black Bears recorded eight sacks and 14.0 TFL at Colgate after having only one sack in the first three games. It was Maine’s most sacks in a game since 2012.

•  Taji Lowe (12 tackles) and Adrian Otero (10 tackles) set career-highs for stops at CU.

•  Maine ranks 11th in FCS in passing defense (152.8 ypg).

New Hampshire

•  Edged Rhode Island, 27-24, for their first win of the season last season.

•  Max Brosmer threw for 184 yards and two TDs and also ran for a score vs. URI. He’s the first true freshman to ever start at QB for UNH.

•  Evan Gray rushed for a career-high 123 yards on only seven carries vs. URI and has run for 194 yards on 12 carries (16.2 ypg) over the past two weeks.

•  Jason Hughes kicked two fourth-quarter FGs vs. URI, including a game-winning 29-yarder as time expired. He’s 4-of-5 for the season.

•  Malik Love had four receptions for 92 yards vs. URI, including a 78-yard TD catch. He’s made at least four catches in all three games.

•  Prince Smith, Jr. recorded a career-high 13 tackles vs. Rhode Island. He leads the team with 27 stops for the season.

•  Pop Bush intercepted a pass vs. URI, which was UNH’s first forced turnover of the season. Bush is second on the team with 25 tackles and has 2.5 TFL.

Rhode Island

•  Fell 27-24 at New Hampshire on a field goal as time expired. Rallied to tie the game after trailing by 14 in the fourth quarter.

•  Aaron Parker made nine catches for 144 yards at UNH, which was his third-straight 100+-yard effort. He’s first in FCS in receiving yards per game (171.7) and second in receptions per game (10.0). Parker is second in receiving yards (2,751) and fourth in catches (165) at URI.

•  Vito Priore was 28-of-38 passing for 312 yards and 1 TD at UNH. He’s thrown for 250-plus yards in five of his last seven games. Priore ranks third in FCS with 344.3 passing ypg.

•  Isaiah Coulter tied his career-high with 10 catches for 105 yards and a TD at UNH. It was his fourth career 100-yard game.

•  Momodou Mbye has recorded an interception in all three games this season.

•  Branyan Javier-Castillo made eight tackles at UNH and leads the CAA with 10.0 tackles per game (30 total). He also has 4.0 TFL.

•  CJ Carrick is 6-of-7 on FGs this season.

Richmond

•  Return to action at Fordham this Saturday after a bye week.

•  QB Joe Mancuso leads UR in rushing (170 yds) and passing (489 yds). He ranks 11th in FCS in completion percentage (69.2 percent) and 18th in pass efficiency.

•  Keyston Fuller made seven catches for 208 yards vs. Elon, including a 66-yard TD reception. The 208 yards were tied for the fourth-highest total in UR history.

•  Richmond is averaging over 210 yards per game on the ground, which is 28th in FCS.

•  Charlie Fessler ranks second in the CAA and 12th in FCS in punt return average (15.0). He also has 15 receptions for 162 yards.

•  Freshman Jake Larson is 3-for-3 on FGs and 8-for-8 on XPs for the season. He’s also averaging 41.7 yards on six punts.

•  Tyler Dressler contributed 10 tackles, a tackle for loss, and a pass breakup vs. Elon. He leads the team with 24 stops for the season.

Stony Brook

•  Won their 12th straight home game by cruising past Fordham, 45-10.

•  Tyquell Fields was 9-of-12 passing for 237 yards and a career-high three TDs vs. Fordham. He’s thrown for 519 yards in the past two games.

•  Isaiah White rushed for 127 yards on 12 carries vs. Fordham, which was his second-straight 100-yard effort. He ranks third in the CAA in rushing (87.8 ypg).

•  Seba Nekhet ran for a career-high 182 yards and two TDs vs. Fordham.

•  Jean Constant, who leads the CAA and ranks 11th in FCS in punt returns (15.9 avg), caught a 55-yard TD pass against Fordham.

•  SBU had 601 yards of total offense against Fordham and is averaging 576.0 ypg over the past two contests.

•  SBU’s defense has held all three FCS opponents to 223 total yards or less and all three have been held to 10 points.

Towson

•  Edged 52-45 in OT by Villanova in a battle of nationally-ranked teams last week.

•  Tom Flacco threw for 304 yards and a TD and ran for 110 yards and a TD vs. VU. He’s passed for 200-plus yards in 14 of his 16 career games and is eighth in career TD passes (34) at TU. It was his first 300/100 yard outing.

•  Yeedee Thaenrat ran for three TDs on 10 carries vs. VU and has seven rushing TDs in the past two games. He leads the CAA in scoring.

•  Aidan O’Neill has 57 career FGs, which is two shy of the CAA all-time record.

•  Shane Leatherbury made five catches for a season-best 118 yards and a TD vs. VU.

•  Coby Tippett and Keon Paye are tied for the CAA lead in interceptions with three.

•  Towson ranks second in FCS in turnover margin (+2.25 pg). The Tigers have returned two interceptions for touchdowns.

•  The Tigers have forced 12 turnovers, which is the most in the CAA and second in FCS.

Villanova

•  Off to a 4-0 start for the first time since 2009 after a 52-45 OT victory at Towson. Three of the wins have come on the road.

•  Daniel Smith threw for 279 yards and four TDs and ran for 70 yards and two TDs at TU. He’s second in FCS with 13 TD passes this season.

•  Justin Covington rushed for a career-high 194 yards and a TD on 27 carries at TU. He’s posted four straight 100-yard games and is averaging 9.1 yards per carry.

•  Freshman Jaaron Hayek caught six passes for 108 yards and two TDs in the Towson win.

•  Villanova ranks seventh in FCS in scoring offense (42.3 ppg) and has scored at least 34 points in all four games this season.

•  Drew Kresge sent the game to OT with a 45-yard FG, which was the second-longest of his career. It was his fifth career FG of 40+ yards.

•  Malik Fisher recorded 1.5 sacks at Towson and has at least one sack in five straight games. He leads the CAA with 4.5 sacks.

William & Mary

•  Fell 19-7 at East Carolina last week. Both W&M losses have been to FBS opponents.

•  QB Hollis Mathis, who had 251 yards of total offense and two TDs vs. Colgate, suffered a shoulder injury in the second quarter at ECU.

•  Owen Wright has rushed for a team-high 224 yards and three TDs this season.

•  Zach Burdick made four receptions for 31 yards at ECU and is averaging 23.7 ypc.

•  W&M recorded 3.0 sacks and 7.0 TFL at ECU. The Tribe leads the CAA with 11 sacks for the season.

•  W&M is tied for sixth in FCS with 10 caused turnovers and is plus-6 in turnover margin for the year.

•  Freshman Bronson Yoder ranks second in FCS in kickoff return average (35.9 avg.). He had a 93-yard KOR for a TD against Colgate. 

•  Isaiah Laster made 10 tackles at ECU, while Gavin Johnson added a career-high nine tackles, 1.5 TFL, a forced fumble and two PBUs.

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