The Villanova Wildcats went north to Chestnut Hill, MA and put up quite the fight against the Boston College Eagles. In the end, BC was able to hold off the Wildcats 24-14 and avoid a massive upset. [Box Score]
Villanova used a quick start as the catalyst to their victory, with Jamal Abdur-Rahman taking a fake punt 47 yards for a touchdown on the opening drive.
(Editor's Note: That play is called "Talley Ho, Away We Go" which makes it all the better)
From there, BC responded with a long drive of their own, culiminating with Chase Rettig hitting backup FB Bobby Wolford for a 1-yard touchdown. Villanova, clearly there to compete, responded with a touchdown drive of their own, with John Robertson hitting Jamal Abdur-Rahman for a 27-yard touchdown pass on 3rd and long to quiet Alumni Stadium yet again.
The rest of the first half was for the defense, as both sides began to make the offenses show their early season signs of struggle. The turning point of the game will be looked back on Villanova's opportunity towards the end of the half, with 1st and goal at the BC 6-yard line. In 4 tries, the Wildcats came away with no points, with Robertson missing a wide open WR Joe Price on 4th down.
Still, at the half, it was all Villanova as the Wildcats took a 14-7 lead into the break, outgaining Boston College in the process.
The second half brought a change of fortune, as starting OLB Pat Haggerty limped off the field on the opening kickoff, robbing Villanova of their senior leader in the LB corps. Boston College immediately tied it up as Rettig hit WR Alex Amidon (13 catches, 142 yards) for a 49-yard touchdown pass.
The difference in depth started to show as Villanova's offense struggled to move the ball, while BC began to assert it's size advantage through RB Andre Williams (23 carries, 104 yards). Williams would go untouched on a 26-yard run to give BC a 21-14 lead they wouldn't relinquish.
Now trailing, Villanova went to the air. Robertson, who finished with 97 yards on 13 carries, couldn't replicate that success with his arm. A couple of late interceptions and a fumble made his final line (14-22, 139 yards, 2 INT, 1 fumble) look worse than his actual play was. In particular, his relationship with WR Poppy Livers (8 catches, 90 yards) looks like it will be very profitable for 'Nova this season.
Down by 10, Villanova made one last push to get within a score and drove into the red zone. LB Josh Keyes made a huge play for BC, sacking Robertson and causing a fumble, effectively ending the game.
A valiant effort by the Wildcats, and though the initial heartbreak will be tough, they should realize how advanced they are in the FCS ranks, and looked primed for the monster season that many are expecting.
- Kevin Monangai (11 carries, 23 yards) was a non-factor. BC clearly made it a priority to stop him. Don't expect that from him every week.
- Poppy Livers and Jamal Abdur-Rahman were beasts today. Great to have JAR back and Livers looks like he can be a breakout player.
- At the end of the first half, Talley called a HB Pass by Gary Underwood. It nearly resulted in disaster for Villanova, but luckily the defense caused a turnover, denying BC points. Strange call by the staff.
- If I never see Bobby Wolford again, I'll be a happy guy.
- Besides a couple of ugly INT's, I thought Robertson showed great presence in the pocket and a pretty good arm. Better than a year ago, but his WR's will need to step up and help him.
Next up for Villanova is a trip to Fordham next Saturday September 7th at 6 pm ET.