Villanova Wildcats Trounce JMU Dukes 49-31 in CAA Opener

The Villanova Wildcats overcame a rough patch in the first half to beat the Dukes of James Madison University 49-31 in a CAA conference match at Villanova Stadium on Saturday, September 20th. The game was televised by the Comcast Network. The game kicked off at 1230pm on a picture perfect afternoon, following Parents’ Day tailgating festivities. There was a real buzz around the stadium leading up to kick-off, and we hope to see this level of support continue throughout the season.

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The 8th ranked Wildcats scored on their first drive, marching 82 yards in 11 plays, capped off by a 6 yard pass from QB John Robertson to Mike Burke. It was Burke’s first career touchdown. The Wildcats then began another drive from their own 29 yard line to the Dukes 20 yard line. However, the drive was abruptly halted when Robertson fumbled and JMU recovered. Robertson was successful on all 8 of his passing attempts in the first quarter for 93 yards and a touchdown.

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The Dukes scored on the first play of the 2nd quarter on a 56 yard pass play from QB Vad Lee to WR Ismael Hyman. Villanova bounced back, scoring on a career long 62 yard run by RB Kevin Monangai, to retake the lead 14-7. JMU quickly tied the score when Lee connected with Sean Tapley on a 6 yard pass play. The Dukes then took the lead following another Villanova fumble (this one by Gary Underwood). JMU scored on a pass from Lee to TE Deane Cheatham. The Dukes went to the locker room leading the Wildcats 21-14.

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The second half was all Villanova Wildcats, giving the Parents’ Day crowd plenty to crow about. After JMU boosted its lead to 24-14 on a 33 yard field goal by Connor Arnone, Villanova scored on a4 yard toss from Robertson to TE Earnest Pettway, the first of two touchdowns he caught from Robertson. On the very next drive, Robertson again tossed a touchdown to Pettway, capping a 12 play, 86 yard drive, to put Villanova back on top 28-24. A Joe Sarnese interception set the stage for the Wildcats next score. Villanova marched 71 yards on 7 plays to score on a Kevin Monangai 3 yard run. On JMU’s next possession, Sarnese again picked off a Lee pass and scooted 36 yards to the JMU 4 yard line. Austin Medley powered it iin from 2 yards out to give the Wildcats a 42-24 margin.

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The Dukes scored to close the lead to 42-31 on a Lee 1 yard plunge with 5:30 left to play but the Wildcats were quick to answer the Dukes. Villanova’s next score came on a nifty shovel pass from Robertson to Gary Underwood. The play covered 69 yards. It was Robertson’s 4th touchdown pass, tying a career high.

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With the win, Villanova improved to 2-1 overall, 1-0 in the CAA. James Madison now stands at 2-2 on the season, 0-1 in league play. Next up for the Wildcats is a trip to Franklin Field on Saturday, September 27th to play the Penn Quakers at 3pm. JMU will host the Delaware Blue Hens next Saturday.

[Photo credit: D. Jacob Miller Photography]

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