Villanova hasn’t won a Homecoming Game since 2010, when they beat James Madison in an intense 14-7 game. This time around, the game wouldn’t be so close… at least until the second half.
Villanova got the ball to start off the game and they made a huge opening statement. On the first play of the game, John Robertson kept the ball for a long 56-yard touchdown run. Morgan State played without quarterback Robert Council and Walter Payton Award candidate Herb Walker Jr. Despite this, they put on a great fight against Villanova in the first half. They capitalized on a muffed punt by Poppy Livers, to takeover in Villanova territory. On the next play, Moses Skillon connected with Thomas Martin for a 33-yard touchdown. The game went back and forth, the Wildcats made a number of mistakes that allowed the Bears to hang in for an even first half. Robertson found Doug Turrell, who made his first career touchdown, to temporarily put Villanova on top. Morgan State’s Skillon was also a dual-threat quarterback, getting the job done on the ground. He would run it in for a game-tying touchdown.
The Wildcats would respond with another score of their own. Kevin Gulyas reeled in the pass from Robertson for a touchdown. On the ensuing possession, Villanova stopped Morgan State to force a punt. A second botched punt return attempt for the Wildcats brought many groans to the home crowd, but Morgan State fans were ecstatic. The Bears rode the momentum into the end zone, scoring a touchdown to tie the game at 21 going into the half.
Villanova’s slow start was marked by 8 of their 11 penalties coming from the first half alone and the Bears putting a lot of pressure on John Robertson and the backfield. The two muffed punts were also crucial in setting up Morgan State with great field position to score.
Villanova came out of the locker room refocused for the second half. The Wildcats scored 28 unanswered points (all in the third quarter) to build an insurmountable lead. There were less penalties and mistakes in Villanova’s game. Kevin Monangai powered the ball into the end zone for the first score of the second half. However, during that same drive there were a few injuries. Gary Underwood went down and limped off the field, he would not return to the game. On the touchdown scoring play, offensive lineman Brad Seaton went down but later returned.
On the ensuing possession, Villanova’s defense got a stop to force Morgan State to punt. During the punt, Villanova’s Pat Williams blocked the kick, sending the stadium into a frenzy. It was a game-changing play that helped set up a touchdown by John Robertson to give Villanova their first two touchdown lead of the game. After that play, they never looked back. Villanova’s defense stepped up, Jason Ceneus would pick the ball off twice. Matt McCann would add another. Villanova would put together two more touchdowns later in the third quarter. Robertson hit Poppy Livers on a WR screen for a touchdown. Kevin Monangai would run it up the middle, shake off a few tacklers, find daylight, and then run it all the way to the house; putting the exclamation point on Villanova’s dominant third quarter performance. Monangai’s big run went for 81-yards and would be the final touchdown for Villanova.
Morgan State would score one more time, adding a meaningless touchdown in the fourth quarter. The touchdown by the Bears would make the final score 48-28, in Villanova’s favor.
John Robertson would finish with 143 passing yards with three touchdowns. He would also add 99 yards and two rushing touchdowns off of 11 carries. Kevin Monangai was a workhorse today, running for 170 yards and two touchdowns off of 16 carries. Kevin Gulyas led the receiving corps with four receptions for 63 yards and a touchdown.
For Morgan State, Moses Skillon completed 23 of 38 passes for 204 yards, one passing touchdown, and three interceptions. However, he was the Bears’ top rusher, with 77 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Tracy Martin started in Walker Jr.’s place and was rather irrelevant. Martin had 11 carries for 34 yards. Amanta Poteat had eight receptions for 75 yards.
The Wildcats expand their winning streak to seven straight games and they will look to continue their winning ways on the road, when they face the Richmond Spiders on Saturday, November 1st. Kickoff is at 12:30 p.m.