VILLANOVA, PA. 9/15/2018 – Two of the better offenses in the CAA met on the Villanova Stadium turf, and both the Villanova Wildcats and the Towson Tigers showed why. Both teams amassed over one thousand yards of offense, and broke off big play after big play. When it was over Towson went home with a 45 – 35 win over 10th ranked Villanova.
“I told our guys in the locker room, welcome to CAA football, said Villanova Coach Mark Ferrante. “That was a physical, fast game. They unfortunately made more plays and more big plays than we did. There were a lot of positives to take out of this. We scored more points than we did all year. We came out on the wrong side of the biggest positive, we didn’t get the win.”
The offenses put on quite a show gaining 1,018 yards in the game on 150 snaps. There were 8 plays of 25 yards or more. For the Tigers quarterback Tom Flacco, younger brother of Baltimore Ravens signal caller Joe Flacco, totaled 320 yards in the air and had 3 scoring tosses. The elusive Flacco zipped a 76-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Shane Leatherbury.
“He is able to make guys miss, and he can do other things as well,” said Villanova linebacker Jeff Steeb about Flacco.
Leatherbury caught 5 passes for 113 yards. Running back Shane Simpson gained 100 yards rushing. An offensive showcase is something that Flacco expects.
“Every game I go into I have that mentality,” said Flacco. “I trust our defense, but a shootout, going into a game, I’m prepared for that.”
Zach Bednarczyk threw for 389 yards and had 4 touchdown passes for Villanova. Tight end Ryan Bell scored twice gaining 103 yards of offense, and Jarrett McClenton snared 6 tosses for 114 yards. The biggest play was a a 65-yard catch and run by wide receiver Chenga Hodge that led to an opening drive score for the hosts. But, the Cats were held to a season low 101 rushing yards.
With all of the offense, it turned out that two special teams plays for Towson loomed the largest. With Villanova leading 14 – 0 early, the lead was erased with 37 seconds remaining in the initial quarter. On the ensuing kickoff Wildcat returner Jalen Jackson was hit by Yeedee Thaenrat causing a fumble that recovered and run in for a score by the Tigers Troy Vincent, son of former Eagles defensive back Troy Vincent, that turned the momentum in the direction of the visitors.
“To score, then off a kickoff, force a fumble and score, that’s a rarity,” said Towson Coach Rob Ambrose. “You don’t see that often. That’s a momentum changer. I didn’t see that coming, but I enjoyed it.”
In the second half trailing 35 – 14 Nova would start a comeback that got them to within seven points on two different occasions, the last with 8:06 remaining in the game. The Wildcat defense would hold the Tigers to 10 second half points.
“They played a great first half and it seemed that everything was going their way,” Steeb said, who had an interception that started a touchdown drive for the Cats. “They were getting third downs (9 of 17 third down conversions) which kills a defense. We wanted to win and have guys who won’t give up. We did lose, but showed that we have guys who keep fighting.”
However, Towson (2 – 1, 1 – 0) got the dagger score on a 26-yard field goal by Adam O’Neill with 3:12 left to put the game out of reach.
This was the biggest win over Villanova in terms of points since October 27 of 2012 when Towson won 49 – 35 at Villanova Stadium.
Written By: Glenn Papazian