Defense A Key In The 34 – 14 Victory Over Colgate
The Sesquicentennial Season of college football opened with 4 games being played in what was labeled a “Week Zero” game. The Wildcats and the Raiders had the honor of opening the year.
Villanova used a solid defensive performance and efficiency on offense to win 34 – 14 over #13 Colgate, the defending Patriot League champions. The defense was dominant in the second quarter forcing two turnovers that resulted in scores. In the half the Raiders offense was limited to 99 yards of offense , 18 on the ground and 81 in the air. It was turnovers that gave the Wildcats the advantage highlighted by a 27-yard interception return by defensive back Jaquan Amos and a 14 – 0 lead. Earlier a fumble recovery by Amos, forced by defensive lineman Malik Fischer, set up the offense for the first touchdown, an 18-yard pass from Daniel Smith to running back Jalen Jackson. For the game Amos had 6 tackles, 4 solo.
Two more scores in the quarter propelled Villanova to a commanding 27 – 0 lead. At the 2:07 mark of the second quarter a wide open Changa Hodge hauled in a 45-yard pass from Smith to cap an 8-play, 91-yard drive covering 4:26. Nova got the ball back with 55 seconds left in the half. Instead of siting on the ball, they went on a 6-play, 61-yard drive. Wide Receiver Andrew Perez caught a 15-yard toss from Smith with just 12 seconds on the clock.
The Wildcats offense put up 271 yards of offense in the opening two quarters.
In the second half Colgate got some momentum back after stopping Villanova on fourth down conversions twice. The Raiders converted the stops into touchdowns. Quarterback Grant Breneman found Nick Draught with a 10-yard scoring toss. Early in the fourth quarter Breneman took the ball for a 1-yard touchdown run that cut the deficit to 27 – 14 with 13:26 on the clock.
Nova answered with the ground game and put the game away with a 9-yard touchdown run by Smith on the next possession.
The Wildcats gained 444-yards of total offense, 239 rushing yards. Covington led the way running for 134 yards, his first career 100-yard game. Smith, the transfer from Campbell who won the quarterback job in training camp, completed 14 of 29 passes for 205 yards, had 3 touchdowns and no interceptions. Smith got the ball to eight different receivers. Wide Receiver Simon Bingelis had 3 catches for 58-yards.
Breneman threw for 211 yards completing 21 of 36 with a touchdown and an interception. Breneman had a rushing touchdown. Back Malik Twyman contributed 88-yards of total offense.
Villanova linebacker Forrest Rhyne led the defense with 8 tackles, 5 solo. Keeling Hunter made 7 stops.
Villanova begins the year 1 – 0. They do not take the field again until September 7 when they host Lehigh.
Written By: Glenn Papazian