By Tony Moss
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Extra info for A Season in Purgatory: Villanova and Life in College Football's Lower Class
Competing with a school like Boston College on the football ﬁeld would take a major ﬁnancial commitment, the kind that the school had attempted to eschew when it dropped the sport in 1981. 27 The Coach Any buzz about Villanova dipping its toe back into the big-time pool slowly died out, and the performance of the team had much to do with it. The Wildcats ﬁnished 3-8, 5-6, and 3-8 in 1993, ’94, and ’95, and won just ﬁve of 24 games in a newly expanded and deeper Yankee Conference over that stretch.
Finneran would win the Walter Payton Award, the i-aa equivalent of the Heisman Trophy. Talley would take home countless coaching awards, including the Eddie Robinson Award as i-aa Coach of the Year. Though the season would end in a bittersweet fashion, as Villanova lost a 37–34 heartbreaker at home to Jim Tressel’s Youngstown State team in the national quarterﬁnals, Talley was now in a position to remain at Villanova for the remainder of his career. Villanova continued to achieve modest success, but it would take another ﬁve years for the program to return to the playoffs.
Almost in a chorus, the group had identiﬁed Antwon Young as the potential problem child, a situation that Talley had seen coming from a mile away. Young had been raised by his maternal grandmother and had few strong male role models as a youth, so trust for any of the men that were suddenly barking orders in his direction was going to be hardwon at best. Talley had seen this defensiveness as a result of upbringing many times before, and his plan to get Young on track would be twofold. First, he would have to handle the teenager with kid gloves.
A Season in Purgatory: Villanova and Life in College Football's Lower Class by Tony Moss