Teams Traded Touchdowns, Monmouth Got One More in a 49 – 42 Win
VILLANOVA, PA. 9/24/2022 –
The offenses were in gear. Both teams could run the ball, and they did. Both teams have the ability to pass the ball and would show that. It would take a defensive stop that provided the difference in the game. Nova did some good things, and issues that need cleaning up. Monmouth took a lead, Villanova played from behind tying it up until the end.
“We did not play well enough to win this game,” said Villanova Coach Mark Ferrante. “At times we were playing fine, but you have to play more consistently across the board. You have to play better football if you are going to come out on top in the CAA.”
Villanova got a turnover and a big break opportunity when Wildcats linebacker Timmy Furgeson pounced on a Monmouth fumble at the Nova 29 yardline with 8:51 to play, and the score even at 35. But on the next play Wildcats quarterback Connor Watkins threw an interception.
“They (the defense) got us a fumble recovery and gave us a chance with a tie game,” Watkins said. “I’ll take the interception ownership. That’s on us. As an offense we had an opportunity to drive down and take the lead late.”
Monmouth scored 4 plays later on a 1-yard run by quarterback Owen Wright at the 6:21 mark. The teams traded touchdowns and the last one went to the Hawks when running back Jaden Shirden went in from 16 yards away. Still, Villanova had a last chance getting the ball with 46 seconds left. Watkins sent two passes in the endzone. The first went off the hands of Jaaron Hayek, the last was a scramble that Monmouth caught to end the game.
Jalen Jackson paced Villanova running for a career-high 187 yards on 28 carries and 3 touchdowns, all collegiate-bests.
As a team Nova ran for 292 yards. The success on the ground helped Watkins to find open receivers for 239 yards completing 13 of 20 and a score.
“We wanted to establish the run and have a running back who is hungry as well,” said Watkins. “Establishing that early we knew they would have to adjust which would give us an opportunity to get the guys on the edge open.”
Hayek fell 5 yards short of his career-best in receiving yards with 136. His 8 catches tied a career-mark. The duo hooked up on a 51-yard pass and catch in the second quarter, the fifth completion of over 50-yards for Watkins.
But Monmouth would post big numbers too. Shirden carried the ball 22 times, a career-high, gaining 211 yards scoring twice. His longest gain of 56 yards resulted in a touchdown. The Hawks gained 292 yards on the ground. The Nova defense surrendered 472 rushing yards at Army last week. The run defense is becoming a concern.
“We’re giving up some big plays,” Ferrante said. “It’s a concern giving up 49 points two weeks in a row. That’s a major concern. The bottom line is that we have to tackle better.”
Hawks quarterback Tony Muskett completed 11 of 17 passes for 161 yards, 3 for touchdowns. Assanti Kearney caught two touchdown passes, Dymere Miller had 6 catches for 81 yards and a score.
“We knew they were a good offense coming in,” said Villanova defensive back Jalen Goodman. “We were prepared for it, but we just came up short.”
#9 Villanova drops to 2 – 2, and lost their CAA opener. Next week a trip to Maine is on the schedule.
Written By: Glenn Papazian