Wildcats Win Fifth Straight Season Opening Road Win With a 47 – 3 Victory
September 4, 2021
The #16 Villanova Wildcats open the 2021 football season easily defeating the Lehigh Mountain Hawks in Bethlehem, PA. The Wildcats did so with contributions from offense, defense and special teams. This is a true team victory.
“This is a great team win for us today,” said Villanova Coach Mark Ferrante. “We got production from all three phases of the game and I am extremely excited by the number of turnovers we created, The offense did their job with the field position that the defense created. It is always good to get a win in the first game.”
The defense pressured Lehigh behind 4 sacks that resulted in a loss of 36 yards which created minus 12 yards of rushing. The Wildcats forced 3 fumbles recovering two. When the Mountain Hawks went to the air game, Nova intercepted 4 passes. Christian Bedford had a pair of picks. The Cats gave up one field goal, that of 34 yards at the end of the first half. The Nova Defense yielded 139 yards of offense.
On offense Villanova scored five touchdowns. Leading 6 – 0 in the second quarter running back Justin Covington crossed the goal line twice. The first on a 13-yard run, then later a 51-yarder to put the Cats up 20 – 0. Covington ran for 156 yards in the contest, his second career-game over 150 yards. As a team Villanova ran for 275 yards.
In the second half the Wildcats put points on the board via the passing game. Dez Boykin hauled in two scoring tosses in the third quarter. The first a 15 yard catch, then later a 51-yard touchdown reception. Boykin has 5 career touchdown catches. Jaaron Hayek caught a touchdown pass of 17 yards to open the third quarter scoring. Quarterback Daniel Smith threw for 182 yards, 3 touchdowns and 1 interception. Nova gained 506 yards of total offense.
On special teams kicker Cole Bunce converted all three field goal attempts, one from 49 yards away. Sophomore William Bartel made his collegiate kicking debut making a 26-yard attempt, giving the Wildcats four field goals for the game.
“I am thrilled with Cole Bunce and the kicking game,” Ferrante said. “I can’t remember the last time we had four field goals in a game.”
The four successful conversions in a game were the most since December 4, 2010 against Stephen F. Austin in an FCS Playoff game.
Villanova goes against Bucknell next Saturday at 6 PM in the home opener.
Written By: Glenn Papazian