VILLANOVA, PA. 10/27/2018 – It was Homecoming Day as the Villanova Wildcats played an infrequent conference foe in the New Hampshire Wildcats. Call it the Battle of the Wildcats. The teams last played in 2013, and the first time at Villanova Stadium since 2010. Villanova lost those games, last getting a win in 2009. The down trend continues as UNH has a 4-game winning streak in this series earning a 34 – 0 win over Nova at Villanova Stadium.
The local Wildcats came off a bye week, and got some of their key players back on the field including quarterback Zach Bednarczyk. The expectation was the results would be better.
“I thought that after a bye week and getting some of our guys back we would come out a perform a little better than we did today,” said Villanova Coach Mark Ferrante. “We didn’t perform well enough and they out executed us.”
On the first play from scrimmage New Hampshire running back Carlos Washington, Jr. scored on a 75-yard touchdown run. It was his first score of the season and a career-high run from scrimmage. For the visiting Wildcats it was their longest rushing play and scoring rush of the season.
“Coach was preaching all week, fast start, fast start,” Washington said. “I just tried to do all I can and give my team a spark that it needed.”
“You start out and you think you have some energy, then the first play from scrimmage, that happens,” Ferrante said about the opening touchdown. “That took some wind out of our sails. But that’s one play. It’s a downer, but something we should overcome.”
In the second quarter quarterback Trevor Knight, the preseason CAA Offensive Player of the Year, scored on a 16-yard scamper to increase the lead to 17 – 0. Villanova on the ensuing possession fumbled. UNH Josh Kania recovered to set up a Washington, Jr. 16-yard scoring run and a 24-point halftime advantage.
Nova had a chance to get on the scoreboard late in the second quarter, but with 4th and goal from the UNH 2 yard line and 45 seconds on the clock, a Bednarczyk pass was incomplete. The teams went into the locker room, then a misty rain took the field.
Knight crossed the line from 7-yards out in the third quarter. Villanova inserted freshman Qadir Ismail into the quarterback spot for the injured Bednarczyk. The results did not change.
The Cats were held to 164 yards of total offense, just 13 on the ground. Bednarczyk went 13 of 21 for 103 yards. On third down the offense converted only 1 of 12 tries. UNH has stepped up on defense over the past few games.
“This is something we needed,” said New Hampshire Coach Sean McDonnell. “The defense rose up. That’s back to back weeks of holding a team to under 200 yards. We came on a mission and a purpose.”
Washington ran for 179 yards on 17 carries. Knight completed 13 of 23 for 158 yards. As a team UNH (2 – 6, 1 – 4) rolled for 404 yards of offense.
Villanova has lost four straight games and falls to 3 – 5 on the season, 0 – 5 in conference. They will try to break that streak next week playing at Richmond. Nova has been shutout back to back weeks. The Cats have not scored since the third quarter of the game at Maine. The scoreless streak needs to end before they can start a new winning streak.
“We’re lacking in rhythm right now, and need to get back into a flow” said Nova running back Aaron Forbes.
Written By: Glenn Papazian