2021 James Madison vs Elon

A Comprehensive Guide To The CAA's Opening Weekend Of Spring Football

A Comprehensive Guide To The CAA's Opening Weekend Of Spring Football

The CAA's six-game conference schedule kicks off this weekend with five matchups of familiar foes. Check out this comprehensive guide to all of the action.

Mar 6, 2021 by FloFootball Staff
A Comprehensive Guide To The CAA's Opening Weekend Of Spring Football

The CAA's six-game spring conference schedule kicked off Friday night with No. 13 UAlbany's victory at No. 14 New Hampshire and continues today with four additional matchups of familiar foes.

Here's everything you need to know to be ready for an afternoon jam packed with action on the gridiron.

Top-Ranked James Madison Opens CAA Slate At Elon

Following a week during which four of the Top 10 teams lost — including Nos. 1 and 3 — the Dukes find themselves perched atop the Stats Perform FCS Top 25 heading into the conference opener.

This is the ninth all-time meeting between JMU and Elon. The Dukes lead the series 7-1 and have never lost at Rhodes Stadium. Elon's lone victory in the series took place on Oct. 6, 2018, when Curt Cignetti was the head coach of the Phoenix.

These teams will meet again in the regular season finale on April 10.

STREAMING: Watch James Madison vs Elon on FloFootball at 1:30 PM EST. SIGN UP HERE.

Highly-Touted Villanova Begins Spring At Stony Brook

No. 5 Villanova begins its 123rd season of football at Stony Brook on Saturday. Head coach Mark Ferrante has never lost a season opener (3-0). 'Nova and Stony Brook will be meeting for just the fifth time — with all five showdowns coming since 2012.

Quarterback Daniel Smith is back to lead the WIldcats' offense after piling up 3,731 total yards and 47 touchdowns in 2019. He led the FCS in points responsible for with 288. Along with linebacker Forrest Rhyne, Smith opens 2021 as a STATS Perform FCS Preseason All-American.

On the other side of the football, Stony Brook will feature one of the most dangerous quarterbacks at the FCS level in Tyquell Fields, who will be protected by a veteran offensive line and surrounded by capable playmakers on the outside. Stony Brook welcomed four transfer pass-catchers to the mix in Khalil Newton (Ball State), Malik Love (UNH), Hunter Hayek (Rutgers) and Tyler Devera (Maryland).

STREAMING: Watch Villanova vs Stony Brook on FloFootball. SIGN UP HERE.

Delaware Hosts Maine In Both Teams' Season Opener

For the first time in 469 days, Maine and Delaware will take the field on Saturday, when No. 25 Delaware hosts the Black Bears.

The matchups pits two of the top quarterbacks in the league in Delaware's Nolan Henderson and Maine's Joe Fagnano. In 2019, Fagnano completed 66 percent of his passes for 1,835 yards, 17 touchdowns and just three picks. Henderson went 71-for-126 (56 percent) for 933 yards, nine touchdowns and a lone interception, and added 189 yards and a touchdown on the ground.

STREAMING: Watch Maine vs. Delaware on FloFootball. SIGN UP HERE.

Rivals William & Mary, Richmond Set To Face Off

It has been 67 weeks since Hollis Mathis capped the 2019 season for both the Tribe and the Spiders with a 23-yard touchdown pass to Zach Burdick to give William & Mary an overtime win at Richmond. The 6-foot-2, 170-pound sophomore will be back behind center on Saturday to lead W&M into the rematch.

In 2019, Mathis became just the third true freshman to start at quarterback for the Tribe and the first to start an opener. He set freshman single-season school records for total offense (1,522), passing yards (976) and rushing touchdowns (8). His eight rushing touchdowns were the most in school history by a quarterback.

Senior Joe Mancuso will be the trigger man for Richmond after being named a team captain last fall. Mancuso started nine games for the Spiders in 2019, passing for 2,128 yards and 13 touchdowns against 10 interceptions. He led the team in rushing with 647 yards and 10 touchdowns on 136 carries.

STREAMING: Watch William & Mary vs Richmond on FloFootball. SIGN UP HERE.

CAA Spring Scheduling Format

The league will play a six-game schedule this spring using a unique divisional format. The north division will have seven teams: UAlbany, Delaware, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Stony Brook and Villanova. The South Division will include four teams: Elon, James Madison, Richmond and William & Mary. Teams in the north division will face each other once (three home, three away), while teams in the south will meet twice, with each team getting a home and away game. 

Towson announced on Oct. 19 that it would not compete during the 2021 spring season.

Five CAA Teams Ranked In STATS Top 25

The STATS Perform FCS Top 25 poll was released on March 1, with a handful of inclusions from the Colonial Athletic Association. Here's how it shook out:

1. James Madison

5. Villanova

13. UAlbany

14. New Hampshire

25. Delaware

CAA Teams Go 3-1 In Non-Conference Action

Colonial squads combined for a 3-1 mark against non-conference foes over the past two weeks. JMU opened with home wins over Morehead State (52-0) and Robert Morris (36-16). Elon knocked off Davidson (26-23) in its opener before falling 42-20 at Gardner Webb last weekend.