Villanova’s offense exploded for a total of 463 total yards of offense in a 35-0 victory over Rhode Island on Saturday.
The Wildcats were able to establish their running game early, totaling 317 yards on the ground with a combination of Aaron Forbes, Javon White, and Matt Gudzak running the ball.
The three-man rotation keeps each running back fresh and showed to be a major factor in today’s victory.
“Three of our tailbacks could start for just anyone in our league really,” said Villanova head coach Andy Talley.
The unselfish approach in rotating backs in and out was vital in getting the rushing attack going. Although it is tough to give each running back equal touches, the ground game has proven to be a vital part to Villanova’s success on offense.
Each running back scored a touchdown on Saturday, with the biggest contribution coming from sophomore running back Aaron Forbes, who was able to take a 67-yard run to the house in the second quarter to give Villanova a 21-0 lead.
“It’s been a long time coming,” said Forbes, about his long touchdown run. “I’ve had two runs like that and I’ve been chased down. All I was thinking this time was ‘don’t get caught, don’t get caught.'”
In addition to the running game, sophomore quarterback Zach Bednarczyk completed eight of his nine passes, throwing for 133 yards and two touchdowns. Juniors Ryan Bell and Taurus Phillips hauled in both touchdown passes in the first half.
With the score 35-0 after a one-yard touchdown run from Gudzak in the third quarter, Talley called off the dogs and began to shift reserves in to finish the game.
Defensively, the Wildcats were stellar once again, holding the Rams to just 103 yards in the shut out win. Rhode Island was unable to move the ball on the suffocating Villanova defense. By halftime, Rhode Island had only 44 yards of offense, with just eight of those yards coming from the ground.
“Shutting out a team means exactly what it is, shutting them out,” said Austin Calitro, who finished with eight tackles and a sack, about the Wildcats’ defensive effort. “You take pride as a defense, knowing they didn’t get any scoring, especially today. Shutouts are confidence, but they are definitely a morale booster.”
Rhode Island was led by running back T.J. Anderson, who had eight carries for 36 yards, and Harold Cooper‘s three carries for 24 yards.
As Villanova is finished with the first half of their schedule, they will have enough confidence to play the better teams in their conference, starting with a road game at Richmond next Saturday. They will also host James Madison for homecoming and finish the season on the road at Delaware.
The team’s health is going to be key down the stretch, as it heads into a tough slate of games to finish out the season. Regardless, Talley is feeling good about where his team is.
“You’ve got to have the confidence to go hit the challenge of your schedule.”