Villanova Victorious After Duking It Out with JMU in CAA Battle

Villanova, paced by QB John Robertson, RB Kevin Monangai, and a fired up defense, beat the Dukes of James Madison University 35-20 in their final regular season game at Villanova Stadium, on Saturday afternoon, November 10th.

Villanova led the 9th ranked Dukes from start to finish. After JMU went three and out on its first possession, the Wildcats marched 74 yards in 10 plays to score on a 4 yard run by Robertson. On JMU’s next possession, the Wildcats defense stopped the Dukes on a fourth and one play at the Villanova 42 yard line (but failed to score after missing a FG attempt).

Early in the second quarter, the Wildcats Mark Hamilton booted a 22 yard field goal to make it 10-0. The highlight of the scoring drive was a 68 yard pass play from Robertson to Joe Price. Then, following an interception by safety Joe Sarnese, Villanova drove 45 yards in 11 plays to score on a 20 yard pass from Robertson to wide receiver Dorian Wells. At the half, Villanova led 17-0.

JMU got on the scoreboard in the third quarter after recovering a fumble by Robertson at the Villanova 18 yard line. The Dukes scored on a one yard run by QB Justin Thorpe.

Villanova quickly regained its momentum by driving 69 yards in 6 plays to score on a one yard run by Robertson. This drive was sparked by a 35 yard yard run by Austin Medley. Robertson appeared dazed after a big hit on the TD plunge and was replaced for the rest of the game by back-up QB Chris Polony.

Following an interception by linebacker Devon Bridges deep in JMU’s territory, the Wildcats looked poised to score again. But the Dukes forced a punt which Villanova downed at the JMU one yard line. The Dukes QB was sacked by the Wildcats Matt McCann and Joey Harmon for a safety to make it 26-7.

On the ensuing possession, the Wildcats traveled 55 yards in 9 plays with Monangai capping the drive with a 1 yard plunge. At the end of the third quarter, the Wildcats held a 33-7 lead over the Dukes.

Although JMU tacked on two scores in the fourth quarter to narrow Villanova’s lead to 33-20, the Wildcats maintained their composure. Villanova scored again when Joey Harmon sacked Thorpe once more in the end-zone for another safety to make the score 35-20.

Monangai, who came into the game as the leading rusher in the CAA, gained 150 yards on 25 carries. In doing so, he passed the 1,000 yard mark in rushing for the year. This was his fourth consecutive game of rushing for more than 100 yards in a game. Most impressively, he became only the fourth player in Villanova football history to rush for more than 1,000 yards in a season, joining the legendary Brian Westbrook (who did it 3 times in his career), Aaron Ball, and Curtis Sifford as members of that exclusive club.

Even though his day ended early, Robertson passed for 141 yards and a touchdown, while running for two more scores. Medley, who returned from injury, racked up 61 yards rushing on 10 carries. Dorian Wells was the Wildcats leading receiver with 4 receptions for 47 yards and a touchdown.

With the win, Villanova improved its record to 7-3 (5-2 CAA). JMU dropped to 7-3 (5-2 CAA) with the loss. Villanova will conclude its regular season next Saturday afternoon (330pm) November 17 at Delaware. With a win, it is almost certain that the Wildcats will once again be in the FCS playoffs.

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