July 20, 2020 –
In our Memorable Moments series, number twelve takes us to Hammond, LA at the end of November. The 8th ranked Villanova Wildcats played a first round FCS Playoff game at Southeastern Louisiana. The game was expected to be a shootout, and it was but the Wildcats were on the short end of a 45 – 44 score.
Southeastern Louisiana took the final lead of the game with 2:56 left in the fourth quarter on an 8-yard touchdown pass from Chason Virgil to CJ Turner.
Villanova got the ball back and began a drive at their own 29-yard line with 2:51 on the clock. Three straight completed passes by quarterback Daniel Smith set up the Wildcats 40 yards from the goal line at the 90 second mark. Smith looked for wide receiver Jaaron Hayek in the endzone. Hayek made a one-handed grab in the end zone, but was called for offensive pass interference nullifying the score. The drive stalled when the Cats could not covert a 4th and 9 from the SLU 39-yard line.
Nova took a 31 – 14 halftime lead. Southeastern Louisiana scored 17 unanswered points to tie the game at 31 going into the fourth quarter. The Wildcats went ahead 44 – 38 at the 4:36 mark on a 50-yard touchdown reception by Changa Hodge, but the crucial extra point attempt was no good.
It was an offensive showcase that had over 1,000 yards of offense. Smith threw for 283 yards completing 19 of 30 passes. Four were scoring tosses. Smith ran for 90 yards and crossed the goal line on a 53-yard scamper. Hayek hauled in 6 passes for 105 yards including a 57-yard touchdown reception. Hodge totaled 98 receiving yards. Todd Summers caught 4 passes for 59 yards and 2 touchdowns. Safety Elijah Glover returned a 78-yard interception for a score.
SLU came into the game with a potent offense and showed it with 602 yards of total offense. Virgil completed 36 of 49 passing attempts for 474 yards and 3 touchdowns. Overall, SLU had 508 passing yards. Turner had 11 receptions for 173 yards and 2 touchdowns. Bransen Schwebel and Javon Conner both had over 100 receiving yards.
Villanova finished the season with a 9 – 4 record. At this time the Wildcats are exploring all of their football options for the 2020 season as the CAA has suspended conference competition.
Written By: Glenn Papazian