#6 Villanova Starts Fast, Beats Penn

PHILADELPHIA, PA. 9/27/2014 – It has been a longtime since the University of Pennsylvania has defeated the Villanova Wildcats in football. The Main Liners streak is now fourteen straight with a 41 – 7 win at Franklin Field.  The Wildcats scored on their first five possessions going out to a 34 – 0 lead.  Wildcats Coach Andy Talley credited the fast start as the key to the victory.

“Our goal was to come out fast,” said Talley.  “I know having been in these games before (vs. Penn) you leave it open into the third and fourth quarter, they get stronger.  Then it could be a barn burner, and we’ve been in a couple of those here before.  I was happy that we got on the board early, and really took control of the game with some of the offensive stuff we were doing.”

Villanova Quarterback John Robertson - Photo Courtesy of Villanova Media Relations.
Villanova Quarterback John Robertson – Photo Courtesy of Villanova Media Relations.

Villanova started with a 6 play, 75 yard drive capped by 36 yard touchdown pass from junior quarterback John Robertson to senior tight end Earnest Pettway, who has three scoring catches this season. Penn tried to answer driving deep into Villanova territory, but sophomore quarterback Alex Torgersen was intercepted by Wildcats sophomore corner back Jason Ceneus at the one-yard line.   99 yards later Villanova senior wide receiver Poppy Livers snagged a 10-yard touchdown pass from Robertson to make the score 14 – 0.  The third Wildcat touchdown drive had some trickery as junior running back Gary Underwood took the snap and ran 54 yards for a touchdown and a 21 – 0 lead after one-quarter.

The first two drives for the Blue and White saw junior wide receiver Mike Burke grab a 17 yard touchdown pass followed by a 66-yard touchdown pass from Robertson to junior wide receiver Kevin Gulyas, who had 5 catches for 123 yards, with 11:03 remaining until halftime.  It was 34 – 0 for Villanova.

Penn finally got on the scoreboard as senior running back Kyle Wilcox on a draw play ran up he middle for 67 yards and a touchdown.  The Quakers got the Wildcats to punt.  The defense for the Blue and White got the ball back as junior linebacker Don Cherry forced a fumble by Torgersen.  It was recovered by senior defensive lineman Pat Williams at the 21-yard line of the Quakers. Underwood scored his second touchdown of the contest running 14 yards for the score.  Villanova took a 41 – 7 lead into the locker room.

“They’re really explosive,” said Penn Coach Al Bagnoli about the Villanova offense.  “That was my biggest concern.  When they get on a roll, they are very difficult to contain.  They got on a roll and we had no answers.  They were flat-out better.  They are a talented football team and that’s why they are the sixth ranked team in the country.”

In the first half Villanova had 417 yards of offense, 230 through the air.  Penn had 132 yards and suffered 3 sacks and 2 turnovers.  For the game the Wildcats totaled 567 offensive yards turning the ball over twice while the Quakers gained 273 yards and had 3 turnovers.  The Villanova defense contributed to the victory and were motivated by what they saw by the offense.

“When they (the offense) are clicking, we feed off their energy,” said Villanova junior linebacker Don Cherry.  “It allows us to go out and play better, play faster.  When we get that momentum we unstoppable.  We have to play off each other.  We told John (Robertson) we’ll get the ball back to you, and as long as we can do that, we’ll be good.”

Robertson did not play in the second half, and finished his day with 45 rushing yards while completing 15 of 21 passes for 123 yards and 4 touchdowns which tied his career-high.  Each scoring pass went to a different receiver.  It was the second consecutive week Robertson tied his touchdown pass mark.  Known over the past two seasons as a running quarterback.  This season Robertson is showing he can be a passing quarterback, and credits his teammates for adding to his game.

“This is giving me the opportunity  to show that we have great weapons, all of our receivers, and the offensive line is doing a great job protecting as well,” said Robertson.

“He can do it all right now,” Talley said.

The Wildcats improve to 3 – 1 on the season.  The Blue and White return to CAA action next week on the road as they will face Maine.  The Wildcats have scored 140 points in their last three games.

Penn will begin Ivy League play as they travel to Hanover, NH to meet Dartmouth.  The Red and Blue is 0 – 2.  They face a team that may not be as talented as Villanova, but are still a threat in the Ancient Eight.  The Quakers will try to rebound after this loss.

“Hopefully we can use this as a learning mechanism and move forward,” Bagnoli said.


Written By: Glenn Papazian

Contact: Glenn@PhillyCollegeSports.com

Twitter: @Phillycolsports


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