The Villanova Wildcats utilized a balanced attack on offense and an opportunistic defense to defeat the Towson Tigers in a CAA conference matchup, 40-21, on Saturday, September 17th at Villanova Stadium (during parents’ weekend). QB Zach Bednarczyk threw 3 touchdown passes, including two to Taurus Phillips, running back Javon White ran for 2 scores, and safety Rob Rolle ran an interception back a 100 yards (a Villanova record for the longest touchdown scored via an interception) for a touchdown as the Wildcats cruised to victory in their first CAA conference contest of the year.
Towson jumped out to a 7-0 lead by scoring on its first possession of the game on a 3-yard run by Shane Simpson. Villanova reciprocated on its first possession by driving 62 yards in 8 plays to tie the game on a Bednarczyk 16-yard throw to Phillips. The touchdown catch was the first of Phillips’ career. On Towson’s next possession, the Wildcats interrupted a promising drive by the Tigers when defensive end Tanoh Kpassagnon forced and recovered a fumble. Villanova then mounted a 10 play, 71-yard drive that resulted in a touchdown on the first play of the second quarter on a 4-yard toss from Bednarczyk to Aaron Forbes to put the Wildcats on top 14-7. The Wildcats scored again at the 9:55 mark of the quarter on another pass from Bednarczyk to Phillips, covering 21-yards. The extra point was missed leaving the Wildcats up by a score of 20-7.
Towson rebounded by driving 82 yards in 13 plays to score on a 1-yard run by QB Ellis Knudson. The extra point try was successful leaving the Tigers trailing 20-14 with 4:19 remaining in the first-half. Villanova showed its resilience by driving 90 yards on 13 plays to score on a 1-yard run by Javon White to take a 26-14 lead into the locker room.
Bednarczyk was on fire in the first-half completing 16-20 passes for 190 yards and 3 touchdowns. Most impressive was the fact that Bednarczyk completed passes to 8 different receivers.
After a scoreless third quarter, the Wildcats defense again rose to the occasion when defensive back Trey Johnson stymied another drive by the Tigers by picking off a Knudson pass in the end zone. On the next Towson possession, Villanova held the Tigers to a turnover on downs when it limited star running back Darius Victor to a 1-yard gain on a 4th and 2 attempt. Taking advantage of a short field, Villanova drove 29 yards on 5 plays to score on a 9-yard run by White, his second of the game. Villanova then put the game on ice when safety Rob Rolle picked off a Knudson pass in the end zone and ran it back for a 100-yard touchdown giving the Wildcats a 40-14 lead. Towson scored with 1:17 left in the game when Knudson tossed an 18-yard pass to Sam Gallahan to conclude the scoring.
With the win, Villanova improved its overall record to 2-1, 1-0 in the CAA. Towson fell to 1-2 overall, 0-1 CAA. Villanova was paced by Bednarczyk who completed 20-26 passes for 230-yards, and 3 touchdowns. Phillips was the Cats leading receiver with 7 receptions for 110 yards and 2 TDs. White was the top rusher garnering 80-yards on 18 carries and 1 touchdown. On defense, Rolle, in addition to his pick six, was the Wildcats leading tackler with 9. Kpassagnon added a sack to his fumble recovery. Towson’s hard-charging running back, Darius Victor, rushed for 115 net yards on 22 carries. Knudson completed 19 of 35 passes for 238 yards, 0ne score, and had 2 passes picked off.
Next up for Villanova is an out-of-conference game at Lafayette next Saturday, September 24th at 6 p.m. in Easton, Pa. Villanova’s next home game is on October 8th at 12 p.m. when it entertains the Rhode Island Rams. Towson returns to action on October 1st when it travels to Richmond to take on the Spiders in a CAA battle.
[Photo credit: Michael Green]
[Article by Stephen Miller]
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