Villanova has definitely moved on from the heartbreak they suffered against UPenn and William and Mary, because they did not look like a team that had just suffered back to back losses.
In fact, they looked dominant.
“This was the turnaround game for us this year,” Villanova head coach Andy Talley said. “I thought we played really well, made some big plays and hung in there”.
The game was Villanova’s from the get go. In the first four minutes of the first quarter, the tone was set as runningback Matt Gudzak (3 carries, 22 yards) pounded his way in from ten yards out to put the ‘Cats up 7-0. This play was a microcosm of the entire game: Villanova ran the ball down Albany’s throat, and they could do little to stop it—Villanova finished the afternoon with a season high 269 yards rushing, a testament to the Wildcats’ toughness this afternoon.
“The big thing was we had the same offensive line three weeks in a row. We haven’t had that. It’s what is up front that counts. The backs ran hard.”, said Coach Talley of his run game.
Villanova would later add on to that lead in the first quarter thanks to kicker Gerard Smith, which made the game 10-0.
The Villanova defense came out all guns blazing as well, and never gave Albany the chance to catch up. The Danes’ top wideout Zee Roberson did next to nothing the whole game (3 catches, 43 yards), and in fact had a fumble on the Danes’ subsequent drive after the Smith field-goal. Shutting down Roberson was exactly what ‘Nova had to do, as he was the only offensive threat on the Albany roster.
The second half fared much worse for the Danes. Albany quarterback DJ Crook would go on to be intercepted three times in the second half. His replacement, freshman quarterback Neven Sussman, would also go on to be intercepted in his first (and only) pass of the game. On top of the turn-overs, the offense for Albany was simply stagnant, as they were held to a paltry 232 yards of total offense from 50 plays on the game.
The Villanova offense, on the other hand, was much more explosive in the second half.
This second half offensive explosion began with an eight yard touchdown run by runningback Javon White (16 carries, 124 yards) with ten minutes to go in the third. It was an excellent demonstration by the most dominant runner of the afternoon.
“The offensive line did a great job”, said White. “We were working all week and focusing on getting a push so we could improve our running game. We came down here, we stayed focused and we were hungry. We knew it was a must-win and we got it done”.
While the run game was the star of the show offensively, the passing attack showed immense improvement. This was evident on the next Villanova score, as star wide receiver Kevin Gulyas (4 catches, 77 yards) exploded into the endzone with a 51 yard touchdown reception. It was one of two more scores that would occur in the second half: the first was a 16 yard touchdown catch by runningback Gary Underwood (10 carries, 49 yards). The second: a three yard touchdown run by freshman runningback Aaron Forbes (10 carries, 42 yards). It was a solid close to what was a fantastic game.
Quarterback Zach Bednarczyk looked phenomenal in today’s game, as he finished with 12 completions on 12 attempts (he became the first Division I quarterback to complete at least the first 10 of his passes this season) for 152 yards and two touchdowns. He was never asked to carry the team, but he played an excellent game manager.
“The game plan was to get the ball out quickly”, said Bednarczyk. “That way the line didn’t have to hold the defenders for too long. We were going to just take what the defense gave us. The game plan helped me go 12-for-12. It was just a lot of quick passes”.
Safety Cameron McCurry had a great game, finishing with two interceptions and five total tackles. He also caused the forced fumble on Zee Roberson. It was a fantastic individual effort on what had been a dominant display by the ‘Cats defense.
The ‘Cats are now 3-3, and will look for another win on the road against Towson on October 24th. Kickoff is at 7:00 PM.