With only two weeks remaining in the regular season, you’d think the playoff picture for CAA teams would be clearing up. Well it hasn’t – unless you’re JMU or UMass, which currently sit at opposite ends of the playoff spectrum. JMU is a certain lock, while UMass played itself out of the running with a loss to Maine Saturday.
As for the rest of the playoff contenders – Villanova, Richmond, New Hampshire, Maine, and the Tribe – there is still work to do. Each of those teams (except New Hampshire) won this weekend, and can’t afford to trip up during the final two weeks, especially the Tribe, which faces the most brutal closing schedule in the conference with games against JMU (on the road) and Richmond.
Here’s what happened in the CAA Saturday.
No. 14 Tribe 38 – Northeastern 14
The Tribe led at halftime for the first time since Oct. 18 thanks to three big plays: Derek Cox’s 89-yard punt return for a touchdown, D.J. McAulay’s 61-yard reception and Jonathan Grimes’s 67-yard run. The Tribe will need similar fireworks Saturday, when it travels to play no. 1 JMU. Click here for a full recap of the Tribe’s 38-14 victory over Northeastern.
Delaware 31 – Towson 21
After a scoreless first quarter between two CAA South cellar-dwellers, Delaware took control in the second, posting 14 points to take a comfortable two-touchdown lead into the half. The Blue Hens extended their lead to as many as 15 points in the second half. Delaware running back Junior Jabbie’s second touchdown of the day gave the Blue Hens some insurance points with 5:43 left in the game. Jabbie rushed for 141 yards, while Hofstra actually totaled -15 rushing yards.
Maine 21 – No. 13 UMass 20
In the CAA’s lone upset of the weekend, Maine escaped UMass with a one-point win thanks to a Minutemen missed PAT and four Liam Coen interceptions. UMass placekicker Armando Cuko had converted 38 consecutive PATs this season before his miss Saturday. The Black Bears converted just one turnover and held the ball for over 40 minutes. Next up for Maine: a place in the top-25 and a trip to Rhode Island.
No. 7 Richmond 34 – Hofstra 14
The Spiders raced out to a 27-point halftime lead, scoring on their first five drives behind running back Josh Vaughan, who rushed for 240 yards and two touchdowns. Richmond’s defense forced five Hofstra punts in the first half, allowing the Pride inside their territory only once in the opening 30 minutes. The win keeps Richmond’s playoff hopes alive.
No. 6 Villanova 24 – No. 8 New Hampshire 13
The two teams traded points until the fourth quarter when Villanova scored 10 unanswered points to push its one-point lead to an 11-point cushion. After its final score of the game, New Hampshire’s four drives ended in two punts, a missed field goal and a turnover on downs. Villanova quarterbacks Antwon Young and Chris Whitney again teamed up to lead the offense to 222 yards on the ground. The duo also led Villanova on two five-minute plus scoring drives in the fourth quarter.
New Hampshire (4-2, 7-2)
Maine (4-2, 7-3)
Massachusetts (3-3, 6-4)
Hofstra (1-5, 3-7)
Northeastern (1-5, 2-8)
Rhode Island (0-6, 2-8)
James Madison (6-0, 8-1)
Villanova (5-1, 7-2)
William & Mary (5-1, 7-2)
Richmond (4-2, 7-3)
Delaware (2-4, 4-6)
Towson (1-5, 3-7)