VILLANOVA, PA. 11/26/2016 – The retirement from coaching for Andy Talley waits another week. His #9 Villanova Wildcats will play another game in the FCS Championship as they defeat the Red Flash of Saint Francis 31 – 21 at Villanova Stadium. The Wildcats won comfortably scoring on their first five possessions of the game.
“We knew we would have to start fast,” said Bednarczyk. “We knew if we got off to a good start, we’d be good.”
Taking the opening kickoff Villanova drove to the Saint Francis 6, then settled for a 23-yard field goal by Gerard Smith. Nova got touchdowns the next four times they had the ball. Bednarczyk had two long touchdown passes, a 59-yarder to tight end Ryan Bell and a 53-yard scoring toss to running back Jarrett McClenton. Bednarczyk found Bell for a 2-yard strike, another 2 touchdown game for the tight end. Running back Aaron Forbes also crossed the goal line from 4-yards out. Villanova took a 31-7 lead at halftime, a half in which Nova did not punt. The Red Flash scored when quarterback Zack Grayer hit wide receiver Kamron Lewis with a 74-yard touchdown pass which got Saint Francis to within 10 – 7 at the time.
Bednarczyk passed for 254 yards completing 18 of 27, he ran for 50 yards. The only blemish was an interception that was returned by Jalen Wells 78-yards for a touchdown in the fourth quarter.
Bell had a career-high in receiving yards with 110 on 5 receptions. The Wildcats ran for 241 yards as six Wildcat players ran the football. McClenton accounted for 115 yards of total offense, 50 on the ground. Matt Gudzak ran for 62 yards and caught 5 passes for 55 yards.
Defensively, Villanova limited Saint Francis to 264 total yards, 27 on the ground and 237 over the air. The Wildcats had two interceptions, Rob Rolle and Jason Ceneus. Ten of the tackles were for losses. The Red Flash did not help themselves by committing 10 penalties for 105 yards. They had 12 first downs converting 1 of 10 third down conversions.
“With the ebb and flow of game, I thought we had enough points at halftime with our defense to keep them at bay,” Talley said.
“We were all locked in and focused in our preparation during the week,” said Calitro about what was effective for the defense.
The Wildcats earn another game. They will travel to meet 8th seeded South Dakota State in the quarterfinal round.
“They’re very much like us,” Talley said out South Dakota State. “They were seeded a little higher than us. They beat North Dakota State so that tells you how good they are. We are looking forward to it. They’re a rough and tough team. Of the sixteen teams that are left, anyone is capable of beating anybody.”
This was the 11th postseason home game. Villanova has a 9 – 2 record in home postseason contests. So it’s another game for the team, another game for Andy Talley.
“It’s not goodbye, we’re still playing,” said Talley.
Written By: Glenn Papazian