#4 Wildcats Had Four Turnovers and Lost the Ground Game Battle
October 30, 2021 –
In the CAA every conference play will be a tough game. It is not a huge surprise to lose a game. For the #4 Wildcats it was surprising in the way they lost 31 – 18 to the Tribe of William & Mary at Villanova Stadium, their first home loss this season.
Villanova turned the ball over a season-high 4 times in the game, and got outrushed 258 yards to just 39. These things do not usually happen, but they did and the Cats fall to 4 – 1 in conference, same record as the Tribe.
“You’re not going to win the game no matter who you are playing in this league when you have four turnovers against and only one in your favor,” said Villanova Coach Mark Ferrante.
All four turnovers were by interception, and two led to 10 points for William & Mary. It was a season-high in passes picked off for Smith and matched his season total to this point. The total interceptions match the most for Villanova since a November 12, 2016 game by James Madison. Smith went 18 for 38 gaining 252 yards passing and a touchdown. Jaaron Hayek caught the scoring toss and had 8 catches for 115 yards.
On the ground the Tribe gained 258 yards on 60 carries. Bronson Yoder led the way gaining 106 yards on 25 rushes and one score. Malachi Imoh ran for 67 yards and a touchdown. Villanova was limited to 39 rushing yards on 20 carries, a season-low. The previous low was 58 at Penn State.
William and Mary was running effectively and that resulted in a time of possession advantage of nearly 40 minutes to 20.
“That was the first time this season that anyone has run the ball consistently against us,” said Ferrante.
Villanova took a 3 – 0 lead in the first quarter on a 39-yard field goal by Cole Bunce. The visitors scored the next 31 points to lead 31 – 3 with 11:16 to play. Four different Tribe players crossed the goal line on runs; JT Mayo (23 yards), Darius Wilson (1 yard), Ry Yoder (2 yards), and Malachi Imoh (2 yards). Kicker Ethan Chang added a field goal.
In the fourth quarter Villanova staged a rally getting a touchdown on a Smith 15-yard pass to Hayek, then converted a two-point conversion. Smith got the final score of the game on a one-yard run with 3:49 to play. Nova got another opportunity but advanced the ball only to their own 40 yard line before turning the ball over on downs with 33 seconds showing on the clock.
Forrest Rhyne led the Wildcats defense making 19 tackles, one shy of his career-high. Amin Black also set his career-mark 12 tackles. But the Nova defense needed to make 104 tackles, too many. Christian Benford intercepted a pass, the 13th of his career.
“We had some plays and we missed them, and they had some plays and they made them,” Ferrante said.
Nova is on the road next week to face Elon. Time to rebuild momentum.
Written By: Glenn Papazian