The Villanova Wildcats (2-1) squared off against its Big Five rival the Penn Quakers (1-0) of the Ivy League at Villanova stadium last night.. Overall, coming into the game, Villanova lead the series between the teams 9-5. Last year the Wildcats beat the feisty Quakers 14 -3 at Franklin Field. Penn has not beaten Villanova in football in 99 years.
Last week, Villanova beat up on CAA league opponent Towson 43- 7. Penn, playing its first game of the season last weekend, beat Lafayette 19- 14. Both teams appeared in the latest Sports Network top 25 poll – Villanova in the top-spot and Penn at number 24.
Just as in previous years, Villanova and Penn engaged in a backyard brawl. Penn got on the board first on a 2 yard touchdown run by Brandon Colavita culminating a 17 play, 80 yard drive with 11:37 left in the second quarter.
During the drive, Penn lost starting running-back Lyle Marsh with a broken forearm. Villanova got on the board a few minutes later on a safety when Penn snapped the ball over quarterback Billy Ragone’s head and the ball was batted out of the end zone.
The Wildcats came right back on their next possession, a 7 play, 42 yard march, with Angelo Babbaro slashing in for a touchdown from a yard out.
Babbaro was filling in for Matt Szczur who was injured early in the game with an ankle sprain and did not return. At the half, Villanova led 9-7.
After a scoreless, but exciting third quarter Penn drove from its own 10 yard line to the Villanova 2 yard line where the drive stalled. Andrew Samson kicked a 19 yard field goal to put the Quakers up 10-9 with just over 9 minutes to play in the fourth quarter.
Villanova rallied and drove the ball down field and scored the go-ahead touchdown on a 21 yard hook-up from Chris Whitney to Norman White. Whitney was 10 of 12 passing on the day for 155 yards. White caught four balls for 61 yards to lead the Wildcats. Villanova tried for a two-point conversion but were unsuccessful.
On Penn’s next possession, Villanova sealed the game when James Pitts intercepted the ball and returned it 56 yards for a touchdown to put Villanova ahead 22-10.
In addition to Szczur’s injury, Villanova linebacker Anthony Johnson left the game with a knee injury.
“They played their usual hard-nosed, tough, tough game against us,” Villanova coach Andy Talley said of Penn’s effort.
Aaron Ball led the Wildcats with 81 rushing on 16 carries (including a 51 yard run which ended when the ball was punched out from behind by the Quaker’s Josh Powers, which Penn recovered). Lyle Marsh led the Quakers with 40 yards on 8 carries.
Up next for the Wildcats is a road game this coming Saturday against league rival William & Mary.
For more photos from the game, check out our photo gallery: