Villanova Wildcats Blanked by Richmond Spiders 22-0

Kyle Lauletta, provided his mother with a special birthday gift, by pacing the visiting Richmond Spiders to a 22-0 victory over the Villanova Wildcats on Saturday afternoon, November 4, at Villanova Stadium. Lauletta entered the game leading the country in passing touchdowns with 26, passing yards with 2,953, and total offense (375.5 yards per game). Although held without a touchdown pass by the Wildcats defensive unit, Lauletta completed 25-32 passes for 259 yards and ran for 46 yards and a touchdown. As a result, Lauletta became just the 10th FCS player, and the first player in Richmond history, to throw for 3,000 yards in three consecutive seasons.

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On the other side of the ball, the Spiders defense overwhelmed the Wildcats’ injury-depleted offense. Villanova was held to a total of 163 total yards, with 74 of those yards coming on a first-quarter drive, including 60 yards on a pass play From Kyle McCloskey to Simon Bingelis.That drive ended with Richmond causing a McCloskey fumble on their 1-yard line that was forced by the Spiders’ Brendan Coniker and recovered by teammate Maurice Jackson. The numbers tell the story of the Spiders’ defensive dominance – Richmond racked up 22 first downs, and held the Wildcats to 9 first downs. Richmond rushed for 175 net yards (37 for 175) while limiting Villanova to 73 net yards rushing (35 for 73). Richmond passed for 259 total yards and limited the Wildcats to 90 total yards, including 60 on the Bingelis reception. Overall, Richmond ran 69 offensive plays for 434 yards, Villanova, in contrast, ran 52 plays for 163 total yards. Last, but not least, Richmond controlled time of possession by a significant margin – 35:16 to 24:44 for Villanova.

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The Spiders, after forcing the Wildcats to punt on the first possession of the game,  took an early 3-0 lead on a Griffin Trau 30 yard field goal to culminate a 13 play, 71-yard drive.Lauletta completed 6-6 passes for 61 yards on the drive. Villanova then mounted a drive that began with McCloskey throwing a pass to Bingelis that went for 60 yards. After gaining another first down at the Richmond 5-yard line, Villanova’s best opportunity to score ended in futility when McCloskey coughed up the ball on the Spiders one-yard line, which was recovered by Jackson.

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Richmond scored again in the second quarter on a 41-yard field goal by Trau, to give the Spiders a 6-0 lead. Richmond then gained an 8-0 lead when the Wildcats long snapper sailed the ball over the head of punter John Hinchen and out of the end zone for a safety with under a minute to play in the first half.

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Richmond started the second half by driving 81 yards in 7 plays to score on a 4 yard run by running back Xavier Goodall. Later in the quarter, Richmond scored again when Lauletta ran it in for a touchdown from two yards out. The Third quarter ended with Richmond on top by a score of 22-0. Neither team scored in the fourth quarter.

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Richmond’s leading rusher was Goodall who carried the ball 19 times for 116 yards and a touchdown. Cortrelle Simpson was the Spiders leading receiver with 6 catches for 47 yards.Tyler Wilkins added 5 receptions for 50 yards, and Dejon Brissett caught 4 passes for 69 yards. Dale Matthews was Richmond’s leading tackler with 9 total tackles and 1 sack. With the win, Richmond, coached by Russ Huesman, improved to 5-4 overall, 3-3 CAA. Richmond will play on the road again next Saturday, November 11, when it takes on CAA co-leader James Madison.

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Villanova’s record, with its third consecutive loss, the last two at home, now stands at 4-5 overall, 3-4 CAA. The Wildcats will travel to Rhode Island to play the Rams at 12:30 p.m. next Saturday, November 11. Villanova will then return home on November 18 to battle the Delaware Blue Hens at 1 p.m..Villanova will need to win the next two games on its regular season schedule to finish the year with a winning record. To achieve that goal, the Wildcats will need to become much more efficient on offense. The absence of many key players on the offensive side of the ball has resulted in the defense being forced to remain on the field too long in recent losses.

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Villanova’s defense was paced by senior co-captain Ed Shockley with 13 total tackles, Jeff Steeb contributed 12 total tackles. Julian Williams had an interception. On offense, Justin Covington was the leading rusher gaining 54 yards on 7 carries. Aaron Forbes added 33 yards on 13 rushes. Taurus Phillips caught two passes for 19 yards. Freshman QB Kyle McCloskey completed 6-17 passes for 90 yards.

[Photos by Rick Pettine]

[Article by Stephen Miller]

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