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Villanova Wildcats Overwhelm Lafayette Leopards 59-0

The 7th ranked Villanova Wildcats won in extremely convincing fashion, 59-0 at Villanova Stadium on Saturday night, scoring at will against an overmatched Lafayette Leopards team. A large Family Weekend crowd was on hand (including many people in the brand new end-zone beer garden) as The Wildcats scored on their opening possession on a 4-yard run by QB Zach Bednarczyk to cap a 6 play, 79-yard drive, and never let up. On its next possession, Villanova scored on a 4 yard-pass from Bednarczyk to Ryan Bell to culminate a 13 play, 83-yard drive. The extra point was blocked, leaving Villanova up 13-0 at the conclusion of the first quarter. Villanova ended the quarter with 204-total yards of offense, the overwhelmed  Leopards with minus 4-yards.

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In the second quarter, things went from bad to worse for Lafayette as Villanova rang up a record 36-points, scoring every way possible. First, the Wildcats scored on a 37-pass from Bednarczyk to Bell. Next, they scored on a 35-yard pick-six by true Freshman Cornerback Jaquan Amos. Then the Wildcats forced the Leopards to punt on fourth down, and, lo and behold, Taurus Phillips ran it back 64-yards for special teams score. After fumbling the ball away inside the Lafayette 5-yard line, the only mistake by the Wildcats in the first half, Villanova drove 41-yards in 9 plays to score once again on a Matt Gudzak 2-yard run with 0:36 remaining in the half. But the Wildcats were not finished scoring.  Linebacker Keeling Hunter picked off an errant pass by Lafayette’s QB Sean O’Malley and ran it back 27-yards for the second defensive score of the first half with 0:28 remaining before intermission. The score at the half was Villanova 42, Lafayette 0.

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The second half was played exclusively by the Wildcats reserves. Villanova scored in the third quarter on a one-yard run by running back Corey Russo, and, one last time, in the fourth quarter on a 30-yard field goal by backup placekicker Gerard Smith. Smith’s kick gave the Wildcats a lead of 59-0, which ended up as the final score.

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Villanova amassed 505 yards of total offense (262 rushing and 243 passing). Bednarczyk passed for 237 yards and two touchdowns, both to Bell, and ran for a touchdown, all in the first half. Aaron Forbes ended the night as the Wildcats leading rusher with 78-yards on 11 carries. He was followed closely by Freshman Justin Covington who ran the ball 9 times for 74-yards. Russo chipped in with 44-yards and a touchdown on 15 rushes. Ryan Bell was the Wildcats leading receiver with 5 receptions for 119-yards and two scores. Defensively, the Wildcats limited the Leopards to a total of 77-yards of offense. The defensive unit picked off three passes, two for scores, tacked on 3 sacks, and 7 tackles for loss. Safety Julian Williams had 6 tackles, one for a loss, and an interception. Backup Linebacker Gabe Cohen contributed 3 tackles for a loss.

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For the Leopards, O’Malley, the Freshman QB, completed 15-29 for 84 yards. He had three passes picked off, including two for scores. Lafayette rushed the ball 17 times for minus 12 yards. For the Lafayette defense, Brandon Bryant ended up as the game’s leading tackler with 14-total tackles. Michael Root added 9-total tackles. Phillip Parham had an interception.

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With the dominating victory, Villanova improved its season record to 2-1. Villanova goes back on the road next Saturday night (September 23) to open CAA league play when it plays the Albany University Great Danes (2-1) at 7 p.m. Lafayette, 0-3 with the loss, will play Princeton University at home next weekend.

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[Photos by D. Jacob Miller Photography]

[Article by Stephen Miller]

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