Villanova vs. Rhode Island recap: Wildcats dismantle Rams 45-0 as Robertson sets rushing record

Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

'Nova got their groove back against an undermanned Rhode Island squad.

Early on, it was apparent that this was going to be a walk in the park for a Villanova Wildcats team that has lost three straight games. All they needed was John Robertson, who kept moving up in the record books en route to a [score] win on Saturday afternoon. Robertson was back to his finest as he recorded four touchdowns on the day, all coming on the ground.

After an initial stop by the 'Nova defense, the offense got to work quickly. A 42-yard run by Javon White set Villanova up deep in Rhode Island territory. John Robertson punched the ball in from five yards out to stake the Wildcats to an early 7-0 lead.

Another Rams possession quickly fizzled and Robertson was quickly back on the field, this time utilizing a 60-yard catch-and-run by Austin Medley to get down to the four yard line. On the very next play, Robertson ran it in again and 'Nova was well on their way to a blowout victory.

That 4-yard rushing touchdown gave Robertson 2,163 rushing yards for his career, which broke the previous career rushing yardage held by Chris Whitney. With two years left in his career, Robertson now sets his eyes on the all-time rushing record held by Brian Westbrook.

A blocked punt by Reggie Paris (the team's sixth blocked kick of the season) led to another offensive possession, and the 'Cats easily made it three touchdowns in their first three drives. After a key third down conversion to Poppy Livers kept the drive alive, Kevin Monangai dove in from a yard out to make it 21-0 'Nova.

With Rhode Island struggling to generate any offense, Villanova showed no mercy. John Robertson made it four straight drives with touchdowns by running it in from three yards for his third touchdown of the day. On the Wildcats' next offensive possession, Robertson finally made his only mistake of the day, throwing an INT on third down deep in his own territory

Luckily, the Villanova defense stood tall stopping the Rams on fourth down to force a turnover. On the ensuing drive, Robertson went back to work on the ground, going over 100 yards rushing for the sixth time this season and ninth time of his career. He culminated the drive with his fourth touchdown of the day, shortly before the half to give 'Nova a 35-0 lead at the break.

If the scoreline wasn't enough, the yardage was an indication of how dominant a performance this was. 'Nova racked up 348 yards of offense on 35 plays in the half, while Rhody could only muster 66 yards on 29 plays.

The debate began as to whether Robertson should stay on the field. He lasted just one more possession, as he led Villanova to another scoring drive to begin the second half. Kevin Monangai recorded his second touchdown of the game on a 5-yard run to make it 42-0 'Nova, and give his quarterback an early shower.

Chris Polony entered the game for Villanova, and was able to navigate a scoring drive straight away. Mark Hamilton kicked a 22-yard field goal to make it 45-0, and the Villanova defense would make it stand up from there. With the field goal, Hamilton moved into fifth place in career-scoring with 218 points.

The win raised Villanova's record to 5-5 on the season, and 4-3 in the CAA. The Wildcats enter their bye week before playing the "Battle of the Blue" season finale versus Delaware on Saturday November 23rd at PPL Park.

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