VILLANOVA, PA. 11/23/2019 – It was the Battle of the Blue, a rivalry game. And a game that both teams had something to play for. The Villanova Wildcats were going for a 9-win season and a possible bye in the FCS Playoffs. And put their name on front of the committee. For the Delaware Blue Hens, they looked to even their season record.
Villanova Coach Mark Ferrante felt his team recognized the rivalry and his 10th ranked Wildcats were ready winning 55 – 33 in a business-like manner.
“This wasn’t about the Committee, whatever happens, happens there,” said Villanova quarterback Daniel Smith. “This was about it being Delaware and us coming out wanting to beat Delaware.”
“The way I see it is that it is another football team we have to play, another business trip and another day in the office with a little extra spice in it. It was promotion day for us. Us versus them and one of us was going to get the promotion. Let it be us.”
Adding his name to the rivalry folklore was Nova wide receiver Changa Hodge who caught 8 passes for 236 yards and 4 touchdowns. A career-high in yards and scoring receptions for the junior wide receiver. It was first time a Villanova receiver went over 200-yards in a single game since Brian Finneran did so in 1996. Hodge has hauled in 12 scoring tosses this season. He was feeling it early.
“Right from the bat,” Hodge said. “It felt like practice, but a little more exciting.”
Also, Hodge has 1,020 receiving yards for the season. He was the first receiver for Villanova to eclipse the 1,000-yard mark since Murle Sango did so in 1999. He credits his quarterback.
“It feels good when you got a guy who can put the ball right in your pocket and not have to make the tough catch all of the time,” said Hodge. “It is something receivers want.”
In the second quarter quarterback Daniel Smith and Hodge connected on an 82-yard touchdown catch and run. It was the longest pass play of the year for Nova, and a career-high for both Hodge and Smith.
This game was the second consecutive game where Hodge had multiple touchdowns.
Smith continues to pile up numbers and touchdowns. For the game the junior signal caller completed 17 of 24 for 378 yards and 5 touchdowns. Smith completed 11 straight passes to start the game. He also crossed the goal line and ran for 44 more. Smith has 31 scores through the air and 11 on the ground. He was involved in 42 of the 58 offensive touchdowns for Nova this season.
It was the most points Villanova scored in a game against Delaware.
“Our theme has been 88 Strong, 55 plus 33 is 88, maybe that’s an omen, but I’ll take it and glad we are on the positive side of this game,” said Villanova Coach Mark Ferrante.
The Blue Hens (5 – 7 3 – 5) were led by running back Will Knight who gained 128 all-purpose yards. He burst through the line and scored on a 68-yard run in the first quarter, one of his two on the day. Quarterback Pat Kehoe connected on 29 of 49 passes for 336 yards, two touchdowns to Thyrick Pitts and Gene Coleman II, who had 8 catches for 104 yards. The interception was by Jaquan Amos, his 4th of the year.
It was an offensive explosion as each team gained 1,114 yards for the game. The Wildcats had 589, the Blue Hens posted 525.
“Their efficiency in the pass game gave them separation,” said Delaware Coach Danny Rocco said about Villanova.
Villanova (9 – 3, 5 – 3) awaits the word from the Selection Committee on where and when its next game will be. The Cats made a statement today. The Wildcats posted 9 wins in 2016. The word will come at 12:30 on Sunday.
Written By: Glenn Papazian