William & Mary moves into FCS top 25 after win over Villanova, Lynn honored for defensive performance

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WILLIAMSBURG, Va. (WAVY) — William & Mary football was picked to finish second-from-last in the Colonial Athletic Association’s preseason poll.

It’s now November and the Tribe are 6-2 overall (4-1 in CAA) and inside the FCS football top 25, after a major 31-18 win on the road Saturday against No. 4 Villanova.

William & Mary came in at No. 23 in this week’s AFCA FCS Coaches’ poll. Villanova slipped to 13.

The Tribe dominated the Wildcats this past weekend, picking them off four times and holding them to just 39 total rushing yards. Junior defensive lineman Nate Lynn earned CAA Co-Defensive Player of the Week after recording four tackles, 2 sacks and 2.5 tackles for loss.

Villanova was undefeated in the CAA and looked to be cruising to the conference championship after squeaking out a 28-27 win at JMU back on October 9. JMU’s veteran kicker Ethan Ratke, who’s usually automatic within 40 yards, missed two short kicks late that would have clinched the game.

Now things are interesting down the stretch.

William & Mary has one slip up in conference, a 27-16 loss on October 16 at Maine, but holds the tiebreaker over Villanova if both finish with one conference loss.

To get to that point though, they’ll have to face three traditionally tough CAA rivals in Delaware, JMU and Richmond, with JMU at home on Nov. 13. The Dukes are the preseason favorites and just moved up to No. 3 in the FCS rankings after a dominant 45-21 win over Elon this week. JMU’s offensive woes (particularly in the red zone) from earlier this year melted away as sixth-year senior quarterback Cole Johnson threw for a program-high six touchdowns.

Richmond and Delaware however are struggling with backup quarterbacks and the Richmond game is at home for the Tribe’s last regular season game on Nov. 20.

It’s looking likely that the Tribe could finish with at least a 6-2 conference record at the end of the season and a potential FCS playoff berth. It would be William & Mary’s first playoff appearance since 2015.

Circle that 3 p.m. November 13 kickoff in Williamsburg against JMU, it should be a fun one with conference and playoff implications on the line.

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