March 13, 2021 –
The Villanova Wildcats fell in overtime to the Rhode Island Rams 40 – 37. Villanova kicked a field goal in their overtime possession. The Rams surpassed that on a 2-yard run by quarterback Kasim Hill to win the game. URI posted a win in the Colonial Athletic Association game for the first time in two seasons, and it was the first on the Main Line. Villanova played a home game for the first time in 475 days.
In a back and forth game every point is meaningful. The Wildcats had chances, but the Rams defense held for field goals on two occasions with the ball on the 4 and 8 yard line in the third quarter.
“The big keys to that game, we missed opportunities twice and came away with field goals,” said Villanova Coach Mark Ferrante. “We left too many points on the field, and we obviously gave up too many points.”
The third stanza belonged to the Cats by a 17 – 3 margin for a 31 – 24 lead going into the fourth quarter. The offensive highlight in the quarter was a 76-yard rushing touchdown by Wildcats running back Justin Covington, his career-longest run. He finished the game with 141 yards on the ground scoring twice. Covington topped the 100-yard mark five consecutive times last season until an injury ended his campaign. Ferrante was happy to see him back on the field,
“That long run he had, he looked pretty fast, almost a little faster than what he was,” said Ferrante. “It’s good to have him back. When Cov snapped off that long run, he looked pretty good.”
While Nova held sway in the third quarter, URI had the advantage in the fourth. Rams running back Kevin Brown crossed the goal line from one-yard away with 3:36 on the clock. Villanova punted on their ensuing possession giving the ball back to Rhode Island one yard on the plus side of midfield as 2:32 shoed on the clock. The Rams drove the ball to the Wildcats 2 yard line and C.J. Carrick kicked the game-tying 22-yard field goal as time expired.
Villanova had the first chance in overtime. Kicker Cole Bunce was good from 45-yards away, a career-longest kick.
Rhode Island took over. On the first offensive play Hill hit Ivory Frimpong for 23-yards and a first down at the 2. Two plays later the Rams ended it as Hill ran it in. A win for former Villanova defensive coordinator Jim Fleming.
Hill passed for 246 yards and ran for 36 yards and the game-deciding touchdown. Brown went for 141 yards on the ground and he found the endzone four times. URI put up 494 yards of total offense. The run-pass balance presented a challenge to the Nova defense.
For Villanova Covington scored twice. Quarterback Daniel Smith and running back Jalen Jackson ran for a touchdown. Smith surpassed the 100-yard mark running gaining 110 yards. He threw for 116 yards. Nova gained 437 total yards.
“It wasn’t our day as far as executing on all cylinders,” Ferrante said. “They executed a little better on what they were trying to do on their offense than what we were trying to do on our offense.”
All touchdowns in this game were on the ground, none through the air.
Villanova has a 1 – 1 record, and will have a bye week before returning to their home field on March 27 to meet New Hampshire.
“We’ve got to play better as a whole and we’ll correct the mistakes tomorrow, and hopefully, build off the positives,” said Ferrante.
Written By: Glenn Papazian