After losing their first conference game to Richmond last week, the Wildcats were able to bounce back and defeat Albany, 24-13.
Zach Bednarczyk was medically cleared to play the game after suffering a headache injury last week, that was originally thought to be linked to a concussion.
“I felt good out there,” Bednarczyk said. “For most of the week I was experiencing no symptoms, so that was a good sign.”
The Wildcats did not throw the ball that much, because it went to the strength of their offense: their running game. Their 3-headed monster of backs rushed for 269 yards, led by sophomore Aaron Forbes. The dynamic back had a game-high 152 yards and 2 touchdowns. With the other touchdown scored by junior Matt Gudzak, it seemed that there was an effectiveness in the running back committee.
“It was something we needed to have in order to beat Albany,” said head coach Andy Talley. “I knew we weren’t able to sling it. First of all because of where Zach [Bednarczyk] was not practicing a lot, and secondly with the wind.”
It seemed that every time a Villanova running back touched the ball, the Albany defense was unable to stop the running game of the Wildcats. They marched up and down the field on the ground with ease.
The defense had a stellar performance as well. Regarded as one of the best defenses in the CAA, the Wildcats lived up to the expectations. They were able to get Albany quarterback Neven Sussman all day, as they recorded a whopping nine sacks; lead by defensive end Tanoh Kpassagnon and linebacker Ed Shockley who combined for five of the nine sacks.
The defense shifted its focus to stopping the run and limiting the quarterbacker. Outside of a long touchdown run by Albany running back Elijah Ibitokun-Hank, the defense was able to keep the Albany offense in check.
“Unbelievable, really unbelievable,” Talley said. “Actually, I feel that a lot of that was on Tanoh [Kpassagnon]. He had a lot of pro scouts here today. He was geared up. We felt like we had an opportunity to get after their quarterback pretty good.”
The sentiment was echoed by members of the defense, which held the Great Danes to a measly 161 yards of offense.
“We definitely executed the game plan,” Shockley said. “Everybody did their job. If we do that every time, that’s going to be the result.”
As a head coach, you couldn’t ask for a better performance from your defense if the game plan is executed. With their aggressive style of play from their D-Line, this defense is dangerously good.
It was a big day for Talley. Aside from the win, the new football facility officially opened in his honor.
“Everyone kept saying to me ‘Enjoy the moment,'” he said. “I can’t explain the feeling. I kept on thinking what I was going to say and when trying to prepare and say something relevant, I actually tore up the cards I had and spoke from the heart.”
The Wildcats will be on a bye next week, getting a nice week of rest before traveling to Maine on Nov. 5. Kickoff is at 12 p.m.