Overcoming a sluggish start, and two turnovers by star QB John Robertson, the Villanova Wildcats rallied to beat William & Mary 20-16 on a 1 yard plunge by Robertson with 28 seconds remaining on the game clock. Villanova’s comeback was fueled by a stout defense that limited the Tribe to 109 total yards and two field goals in the second half. Villanova, trailing 16-13 with 6:11 left in the game, drove 80 yards in 13 plays to score the winning touchdown with less than a minute to play. For the Wildcats, it was their third consecutive win after starting the season 0-2.
Villanova, coming off of two impressive wins, both by the score of 35-6, struggled in the first half against their CAA rival. The Wildcats were held to 97 total yards on offense (including only 18 net yards on the ground) by the visiting Tribe of William & Mary before half time. In the first quarter, Robertson had a pass picked off by Tribe linebacker Airek Green that was returned to the Villanova 32 yard line. William & Mary took advantage of the turnover and scored on a Michael Graham 8 yard pass to Sean Ballard to give the visitors a 7-0 lead. Villanova answered back on its next possession, with Mark Hamilton kicking a 21 yard field goal on the 14th play of the drive to make it a 7-3 game. The Tribe, in turn, responded with a drive that culminated with a 21 yard field goal by John Carpenter to put the visitors up by a score of 10-3 at the end of the first half.
After a Robertson fumble was recovered by William & Mary at the Villanova 27 yard line early in the third quarter, the Tribe increased its lead to 13-3 on a 24 yard field goal by Carpenter. At this point, Villanova’s offense started to show some life with the Wildcats’ M&M running back tandem of Kevin Monangai and Austin Medley leading the charge. Monangai broke off a 54 yard run, then an 8 yard run, before Medley ran it in for a touchdown from the 13 yard line, leaving Villanova trailing by a score of 13-10.
Villanova tied the score with 11:47 remaining in the 4th quarter on a 35 yard field goal by Hamilton. William & Mary quickly regained the lead with 6:17 remaining in the game on another Carpenter’s field goal (24 yards), setting the stage for the Wildcats dramatic comeback.
With the win, Villanova’s record stands at 3-2, 2-0 CAA. William & Mary dropped to 3-2, 1-1 CAA. The Wildats were paced by Monangai with 93 rushing yards, and Robertson’s 70 rushing yards (1 TD), and 154 passing yards (21-28-1). Poppy Livers was Villanova’s leading receiver with 6 receptions for 42 yards. Joey Harmon was the Wildcats leading tackler with 12. Cameron McCurry added an interception for the Wildcats.
Villanova’s next game is against undefeated CAA opponent Towson, on Saturday night, October 12th. William & Mary will entertain the Penn Quakers next Saturday afternoon.
[Photo credit: D. Jacob Miller Photography]
You can view the box score and an expanded photo gallery below (click thumbnails to enlarge):