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Wildcat Football Opens 2023 Campaign Saturday at VMI

by | Aug 30, 2023

Coach Abell’s post-game talk at the 2022 FCS game vs. Richmond.


2023 Record: 0-0 (0-0 PFL)
2022 Record: 8-4 (6-2 PFL)
Head Coach: Scott Abell
Davidson Record: 34-19, 6th year
Career Record: 73-43, 12th year

2023 Record: 0-0 (0-0 SoCon)
2022 Record: 1-10 (0-8 SoCon)
Head Coach: Danny Rocco
VMI Record: 0-0, 1st year
Career Record: 121-65, 17th year

Meetings: 59
Series Record: VMI leads, 39-17-3
First Meeting: VMI Won, 6-0 (11/4/1904)
Last Meeting: VMI Won, 45-24 (9/4/21)
Streak: VMI Won 11
In Davidson: VMI leads, 9-5-3
In Lexington: VMI leads, 28-12
Abell vs. VMI: 0-1

1ST AND 10

  • Davidson will kickoff its 2023 campaign Saturday afternoon with a 1:30 p.m. contest at VMI in Lexington, Va.
  • This marks the second time in the last three seasons the Wildcats and Keydets have opened against each other.
  • It’s also the fourth straight year the ‘Cats have opened with a scholarship program.
  • Coming off its third straight FCS Playoff appearance, Davidson finished 2022 with an 8-4 overall mark (6-2 PFL), marking its fifth consecutive winning season.
  • The ‘Cats are just one of four teams to make back-to-back-to-back FCS Playoff appearances.
  • Now in his sixth season at the helm, head coach Scott Abell has guided the Wildcats to a 34-19 overall record and 25-12 conference mark, while capturing two of the last three PFL regular season crowns.
  • A year ago, the Wildcats were also just one of four FCS teams to finish in the top 20 nationally in both total offense and defense.
  • In addition, Davidson had the nation’s top rushing attack for the third straight season and fourth time under Abell.
  • The Wildcats also ranked among FCS leaders in passing efficiency (178.88 | 3rd), scoring offense (31.9 | 18th) and time of possession (33:10 | 10th).
  • Davidson was picked second in the Pioneer Football League preseason poll.


  • With 16 years of head coaching experience at the FCS level, Danny Rocco was named VMI’s 33rd head coach this past December.
  • The Keydets finished the 2022 season 1-10 overall and winless in Southern Conference play.
  • Alex Oliver (defense) and Jack Culbreath (specialist) were named preseason all-conference first team, while Evan Eller (defense) and Tyriq (offense) garnered second-team honors for VMI.
  • Culbreath was also named to the Augusta Sports Council 2023 FCS Punter of the Year Preseason Watch List this fall.


  • Saturday’s meeting between Davidson and VMI is the 60th all-time.
  • The Keydets have won the last 11, including a 45-24 victory over the Wildcats in their last meeting on Sept. 4, 2021.
  • The two teams have met 40 previous times in Lexington, with VMI holding a 28-12 record on its home field. 


  • VMI scored touchdowns on its first three drives en route to a 45-24 victory over Davidson on Sept. 4, 2021 inside Foster Stadium.
  • The Wildcats, who finished with 260 yards on the ground, cut the deficit to 21-10 with a Mark McCurdy 28-yard run and Caden Bonoffski field goal late in the second quarter.
  • Ranked 17th at the time, the Keydets responded with 17 unanswered to all but put the game out of reach.
  • Despite the setback, now offensive-assistant, Coy Williams led Davidson with 80 yards rushing and a touchdown. McCurdy also finished with six carries for 67 yards and a score.
  • On the defensive side of the ball, Jalen Jefferson and Jake Alexander led the way with nine and eight tackles, respectively.


  • Davidson will open its 100th and final season in Richardson Stadium, Saturday, Sept. 9 when Barton College comes to town for a 7 p.m. kickoff.


  • Gilbert Deglau (Sr. / OL), Beck Kipperman (Sr. / OL) and Jonathan Hammond (Sr. / DL) were voted preseason all-conference.
  • Deglau and Kipperman started every game in 2022, anchoring an offensive line that helped the Wildcats to the nation’s top rushing attack for the third consecutive season and fourth time in Abell’s five-year tenure.
  • Named PFL Defensive Freshman of the Year in 2020-21 and First Team all-conference as a sophomore, Hammond finished last season with 10 tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks, moving into seventh (32.5) and fifth (19.0) in school history, respectively. In the Wildcats’ 48-14 win at Drake, Hammond tied a single-game school record with five tackles for a loss and picked up three sacks, earning PFL Defensive Player of the Week.
  • All three Wildcats were Second Team all-conference selections a year ago.


  • Earlier this summer, Malik McDaniel was nominated for the 2023 Allstate AFCA Good Works Team® as announced by the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA).
  • Recommended by their head coaches, the nominees are 136 student-athletes with exemplary community service, academic dedication and impact on and off the field.
  • McDaniel, a rising junior from Bartlett, Tenn., is the eighth Wildcat to appear on the ballot in the last 10 years, following Quentin James, who earned a spot on the 2022 Good Works Team.


  • In the offseason, Coach Abell added both some new and familiar faces to his staff.
  • Along with Alex Shields being promoted to Director of Football Operations, former Wildcats Coy Williams (Offensive Assistant) and Jaden Pask (Coordinator of Football Development) came on board. In addition, former University of Richmond standout Brian Brown was named the new defensive assistant / secondaries coach.


  • In just five seasons on the Davidson sideline, Head Coach Scott Abell is fifth in program history with 34 coaching victories.
  • The 29th head coach in the program’s 125 years, Abell is just the 10th to lead the Wildcats for at least five seasons.
  • The two-time Conference Coach of the Year has guided the ‘Cats to back-to-back PFL titles, the first in school history, while holding a school-best .641 winning percentage.
  • Just as impressive, Davidson is 25-12 under Abell’s leadership in PFL play.
  • Abell is just one win from moving into a tie for fifth on the school’s all-time wins list with Tim Landis (35).

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