It’s a NCAA Division I FCS Keystone State clash.
Saint Francis will make its first-ever NCAA Division I FCS playoffs appearance at CAA member Villanova on Saturday, November 26 at 2:00 pm ET.
Having earned a shared of the Northeast Conference crown for the first time in program history, the Red Flash learned of their first round postseason matchup when the NCAA unveiled its 24-team championship bracket during Sunday morning’s selection show on ESPNU.
— FCS Football (@NCAA_FCS) November 20, 2016
SFU clinched the NEC’s automatic FCS postseason berth when it moved to 5-0 in conference play by posting a 31-21 win over Central Connecticut in Week 11. Duquesne’s 5-1 league record earned the Dukes a share of the NEC crown for the fourth time since 2011, but Saint Francis secured the conference’s automatic postseason berth due to its last-minute 14-10 victory in this year’s head-to-head meeting on October 21.
Chris Villarrial’s Red Flash are the sixth different recipient of the NEC’s auto bid since 2010. Only Sacred Heart (2013, 2014) has represented the NEC in the FCS playoffs on two separate occasions.
Saint Francis’ meeting with Villanova will mark the Flash’s third contest against a CAA member this season. As a result, SFU and Nova have faced two common opponents this season. The Red Flash fell to both Towson and Albany on the road while the Wildcats defeated both teams at home.
SFU finds itself bound for the playoffs after enduring a grueling four-game season-opening stretch. The Red Flash were only one of two FCS teams to play their first four games on the road this year and faced tough competition while doing so (two vs. CAA, one vs. Big Sky).
Saint Francis held second-half leads in road games at Montana, Albany and Towson, but was unable to close out a victory on any of the three occasions.
SFU, however, has played well with the lead during conference play. Four of the Flash’s five league wins have come by double-digit margins. The Flash erased their 1-3 season start by reeling off six consecutive wins for the first time in the program’s FCS history, which dates back to 1992, before falling at Wagner in the regular season finale.
St. Francis football program earns historic date with Villanova (with VIDEO) – Johnstown Tribune-Democrat (Mike Mastovich)