Massachusetts Daily Collegian

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A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

CAA teams represent conference in NCAA field

The Colonial Athletic Association football conference earned four bids into the 2010 NCAA Football Championship Subdivision field of 20, securing four byes among the four teams in the second round.  The CAA representatives learned their playoff destinies shortly after hearing that each of them locked up spots in the Top 11 of the FCS Coaches Top 25.

William & Mary ranks as the top team coming out of the CAA this year, going 6-2 in the conference on its way to a co-share of the conference title. The Tribe ranks near the top of the CAA in passing, totaling over 220 yards per game through the air. Even though its averaged over 25 points per game offensively, W&M’s defense and discipline have carried it this year as the Tribe rank third in rushing yards allowed per game (121.9), third in scoring defense (15.4 point per game), while committing the least amount of penalties than any other team.

Delaware (9-2, 6-2 CAA) ranks fifth in the coaches polls, right behind W&M. The Blue Hens boast a high-powered offense, topping the conference in points per game (28.5), tied with Villanova in rushing yards per game (188.5), while ranking second in the CAA in total offense (405.5 ypg).

At one point this season, the Blue Hens were undefeated through the first seven games, led by running back Andrew Pierce who racked up over 1,200 yards on the ground to go along with 12 touchdowns. Quarterback Pat Devlin was the focal point of the offense during his senior campaign, throwing for 2,158 yards and 14 touchdowns. Delaware lost its opportunity to claim the conference title outright after losing the tiebreaker to the Tribe in a 17-16 loss at W&M in late October.

After defeating Delaware on the road in a 28-21 overtime thriller in the final game of the season, Villanova (7-4, 5-3 CAA) earned a spot in the field of 20, ranking number 11 in the polls.

Just like the Blue Hens, the Wildcats’ potent offense will look to carry the team deep into the playoffs. Behind senior Chris Whitney’s 1,818 yards through the air, 600-plus yards on the ground and 27 total touchdowns, Villanova’s offense ranks second in the conference in scoring (27.6 ppg), tops in rushing (188.5) and third in total yards (366.2).

New Hampshire (7-4, 5-3 CAA) earned its way into the playoffs with key victories against Villanova and Towson down the stretch.

The Wildcats’ success this year has been based on their defense, led by sophomore linebacker Matt Evans, who racked up 135 total tackles, three sacks and two interceptions this season. Junior Brian McNally leads the defensive front for UNH, collecting nine sacks and 10 tackles behind the line of scrimmage this year. McNally is one of three UNH players to be elected to this season’s first team All-CAA honors.

Devlin, McBride take POY

This year’s top CAA honors have been selected, with two seniors taking home major awards.

Delaware’s quarterback Pat Devlin was elected this year’s CAA Offensive Player of the Year. Devlin’s versatility running and throwing the football helped the Blue Hens to a postseason berth.

Richmond linebacker Eric McBride’s 118 total tackles, six and a half tackles for losses and sack earned him this year’s CAA Co-Defensive Player of the Year. McBride led the Spiders to an over .500 record for the season, helping his team to average under 200 yards per game passing against and allowed just over 20 points per game scoring defensively, good for sixth in the conference.

Scott Cournoyer can be reached at [email protected].

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