Villanova came out firing on all cylinders on Saturday as they took to the turf at the Georgia Dome for the first time against Georgia State. The Panthers were also a little hard for luck as their best player, running back Donald Russell was injured in the 1st quarter.
Behind very balanced play on both sides of the ball, 24th ranked 'Nova found themselves up 35-3 late in the first half and walked into the locker room with a 35-10 advantage. They scored 5 touchdowns in just under 19 minutes of game clock.
Those five touchdowns showed off that balanced attack. A 6-yard run by John Robertson, a punt return by Poppy Livers, a Robertson-to-Norman White pass, a Kevin Monangai 12-yard run, and an Eric Loper interception return.
In front of a crowd of 12,000, Andy Talley's squad took their foot off the pedal in the second but the Wildcats' option offense still amassed 470 total yards. 343 of which came on the ground led by Monangai's 130yards, his second straight 100-yard game rushing. It was the second consecutive game where the 'Cats managed over 300 yards rushing.
Monangai ended the game with 130 rushing yards on 18 carries to lead the team, while Robertson ran 11 times for 87 yards. Both the quarterback and leading rusher averaged more than seven yards per carry and scored their ninth rushing touchdowns of the season. Four other players registered at least 25 yards on the ground as well.
The lead was as high as 49-10 in the second half, as the second stringers came in and, with good field position, Chris Polony managed to find Nick Hurley in the endzone. Both teams scored a pair of touchdowns in the second half, including Robertson's second toss for a touchdown and Chris Polony's return to the field with a 1-yard strike to Hurley.
Georgia State drops to 1-7. Villanova improves to 6-2 overall on the 2012 campaign, 4-1 in the conference. The 'Cats return to action next Saturday as they host Towson for Homecoming.
All four of the 'Cats CAA victories have been won by a margin of at-least 20 points. It is only the fourth time in program history that the team has recorded four or more conference wins of 20-plus points. The others came in 1991, 2002 and 2009 — all playoff seasons, with two resulting in very deep playoff runs.
Fun Fact: Poppy Livers' punt return for a touchdown was the first at Villanova during Andy Talley's Tenure. The last time 'Nova returned a punt was against VMI 32 years ago.