Late Touchdown Sends Villanova To FCS Quarterfinals

VILLANOVA, PA. 12/6/2014 – A one-yard touchdown run by Villanova quarterback John Robertson provided the winning points as the Wildcats rallied for a 29 – 22 win over the Liberty Flames in a FCS second round playoff game on a cold, rainy night at Villanova Stadium.  Villanova Coach Andy Talley said his team made the critical plays down the stretch.

“You have to make sure you can come up with the plays you need to make at critical parts of the game especially in the fourth quarter,” said Talley.

Villanova Quarterback John Robertson - Photo Courtesy of Villanova University Media Relations Department
Villanova Quarterback John Robertson – Photo Courtesy of Villanova University Media Relations Department

Villanova took possession of the ball with 8:23 to play in the fourth quarter and the game even at 22.  The Wildcats tied the game early in the fourth quarter when Robertson completed a 70 yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Kevin Gulyas and ran for the two-point conversion.  The 18 play, 84 yard drive ended with 1:12 to the clock when Robertson scored on a one-yard run.  Villanova ran the ball on every play.  Running back Kevin Monangai carried it 9 times, Robertson 6, and running back Austin Medley twice.

“It was designed,” Robertson said of the final drive.  “Our offensive line really stepped up at the end and pushed those guys around.  It’s great at the end of the game to watch the offensive line push their guys around with the clock wining down.”

“Their guys beat us up front,” Liberty Coach Turner Gill said.  “In the fourth quarter their defensive line beat our offensive line, and their offensive line beat our defensive line.  That was the difference in the game.”

Talley was going for the touchdown and had no plans to kick a field goal to take the lead.

“It’s John Robertson or a field goal,” Talley said. “I’m going with John Robertson and I made my mind up and reinforced it on the drive.  I said to dial-up a fourth down play because we are going for it on fourth down.”

He did not have to as Robertson converted on a third down play.

Robertson finished with 317 yards of total offense, 100 rushing and 217 passing, and in doing so set the school record for career yards of total offense with 10,273 yards.  He broke the old mark of 10,146 yards held by Chris Boden.  During the game he completed an 87-yard pass to Gulyas, the longest completion in school history.

Villanova ran for 230 yards in the game led  by Monangai with 102.  Gulyas had 2 catches for 157 yards.

Liberty took the early lead when quarterback Josh Woodrum ran the ball in from one yard away.  The drive was set up by an opening kickoff return of 72 yards by Alpha Jalloh to the Villanova 27 yard line.  The Flames extended the lead to 10 – 0 on a 50 yard field goal by kicker John Lunsford.  The Flames had a chance to take control after recovering a fumble by Monangai.  The Villanova defense stopped the drive at the 6 yard line forcing Lunsford to make a 23 yard field goal.  Liberty took a 19 – 14 lead at intermission.

In the third quarter Liberty recovered when their punt hit Villanova safety Jason Ceneus at the 45 yard line of the Wildcats.  The Flames got the ball to the 5-yard line, but had to settle for a 21 yard field goal by Lunsford.

The Wildcats defense came up big in critical situations as two potential touchdowns became field goals.

“That was huge for us,” Villanova linebacker Don Cherry said.  “We always say 3 not 7.  Even with the bad plays we bend but don’t break.  The three’s lifted our confidence.”

Villanova survived despite fumbling the ball 6 times, losing 4 fumbles.

“You have to be special to overcome that turnover situation,” Talley said.

The next step is a contest against Sam Houston State in a quarterfinal round game at home which will be on Friday or Saturday.  The Bearkats are coached by former Delaware Coach K.C. Keeler.  It should be another battle, but Talley believes his team is experienced enough to be ready for whatever they face in playoff football.

“We have team bred for a competitive game for sixty minutes,” said Talley.


Written By: Glenn Papazian



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