VILLANOVA, PA 9/21/2013 – The Villanova Wildcats were ranked #20 in the nation, but were looking for their first win of the season. They got it in their opening home game beating the 16th ranked Stony Brook Seawolves 35 – 6 gaining a measure of revenge against the team that beat them in a playoff game last season. That didn’t matter to Andy Talley. He was happy that his Wildcats played a complete game on both sides of the ball.
“I think that’s the thing we’ve been challenging them to do,” said Talley. ” We haven’t played two good halves back-to-back except for the first half at BC. We haven’t been playing Villanova football, which is kind of what you looked at today – cleaner, crisper, guys in position where they’re supposed to be, enthusiastic, good tackling, physical and good execution. It’s like having a really sharp sports car that’s not operating on all eight cylinders. We finally put that together team, and it was a very big game for us. It was a must-win game for us. We’ve got to make a run here if we’re going to be anything special nationally and within the league. If we can be special within the league. We needed a win that defined us a little bit. I don’t know how good Stony Brook’s going to be, but they certainly had some preseason hype. We considered them a top 12 or 10 team. I thought we got it done in good fashion.”
The Blue and White got it going early, using some trickery. In the second quarter of a scoreless game the Wildcats drove to the Seawolves four yard line. The drive was highlighted by a 57 yard run by junior running back Austin Medley, his career-longest run. Two plays later sophomore quarterback Corey Pittman took the ball on a reverse and found sophomore running back Gary Underwood alone on the left side of the endzone for a touchdown and a 7- 0 lead at the 14:21 mark. After getting the ball back on a Stony Brook punt Villanova got to the 43 yard line. Sophomore quarterback John Robertson used the reverse again, but this time got the ball back completing a 43 yard touchdown strike to junior wide receiver Clay Horne. The flea-flicker came with 8:55 in the quarter and Villanova led 14 – 0. The lead would grow to 21 – 0 a halftime.
“The trick play is always good when it works,” Talley said.
In the second half with Stony Brook at their 24 yard line quarterback Lyle Negron found wide receiver Louis Murray with a pass but a hit by Villanova sophomore safety Cameron McCurry separated Murray from the ball. The fumble was picked up by junior defensive back Joe Sarnese who returned the fumble 36 yards for a touchdown and a 28 – 0 lead with 9:01 to play in the third quarter.
“We are taught to strip at the ball on every play,” said Sarnese. “When it comes out it’s called a country ball. I know my teammates are going to block for me. I just ran it in.:
It was time to turn the game over the Villanova running attack and the Villanova defense. Junior running back Kevin Monangai completed the scoring with a 5 yard touchdown run. For the game the Wildcats ran for 266 yards led by Robertson with 119. The sophomore also completed 12 of 9 passes for a touchdown, He also had one on the ground. Sophomore Jamal Abdur-Rahman ran for 65 yards, while Medley contributed 60.
“We’re not good at coming from behind, so we need to run the ball to get into a comfort zone,” Talley said
Defensively, Villanova limited Stony Brook to 87 rushing yards. The Wildcats did give up a touchdown late as Negron completed a 4-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Malcolm Eugene. However, the Blue and White turned away the Seawolves twice stopping them in fourth down late in the second quarter and early in the third. The Wildcats did not get the shutout, but did come up big when they needed to. The Seawolves converted only 4 of 14 third down situations.
“It is very important,” said senior defensive lineman Rakim Cox. “We were down a turnover, so we tried to get one back. It is something we drive in the defense, getting turnovers.”
The Wildcats got their first win, and now prepare for city rival Penn on September 28 at Villanova Stadium.
Written By: Glenn Papazian