A shorthanded Villanova Wildcats defense, playing without 3 starters, struggled to contain Fordham's offense led by Michael Nebrich. The Rams eventually won the game 27-24, but the real story of the game was the continued struggles of the Villanova offense.
Villanova fumbled the ball away times on the night, with John Robertson (2 fumbles and an interception), Jamal Abdur-Rahman (2 fumbles) and Poppy Livers (1 fumble) the culprits. The defense, admirable as they played, could not overcome these inexcusable errors by the offense as Villanova fell to 0-2 on the season.
Fordham started off the game with a nice drive down the field, culminating with QB Michael Nebrich running it in from 19 yards out. Villanova responded with John Robertson running it in on the very next drive. After a couple of three and out's from both teams, Fordham drove down the field following a John Robertson fumble and RB Carlton Koonce ran it in from 7 yards out to stake the Rams to a 14-7 lead.
Reeling, Jamal Abdur-Rahman gave 'Nova a lift with a long kick return that set the Wildcats up deep in Fordham territory. Robertson connected with Joe Price down the sideline to make it 1st and goal, and Robertson would run it in again from a yard out a few plays later to knot the score at 14.
Villanova's defense, though struggling, would make a big play on the next drive. Jerry Miles grabbed a tipped ball and ran it back 46 yards for a touchdown to finally give Villanova some much needed momentum. A Fordham field goal would close the gap to 21-17, and Villanova had a golden chance to push the advantage at the end of the half. Robertson squandered that chance in horrible fashion, fumbling the ball as he attempted to cross the goal line, giving Fordham all the momentum heading into the break.
Mark Hamilton was able to extend the Villanova lead back to 7 points on the opening drive of the second half thanks to a 57-yard burst by Kevin Monangai, but Fordham responded immediately with a field goal of their own to bring the score back within 4 points. That was when the comedy of errors began.
Mark Hamilton would pin the Rams at their own 4 yard line, and Fordham would march down the field for a long 96-yard touchdown drive that ended with another Nebrich rushing score. Jamal Abdur-Rahman fumbled the ensuing kickoff, setting Fordham up in great field position. The 'Nova defense responded however, forcing Fordham to punt after back them up.
On the next posession, Robertson hit Poppy Livers over the middle, but Livers was crushed and fumbled the ball, which Fordham recovered. Remarkably, the Villanova defense stepped up again and forced Fordham to punt the ball away.
With just 3 minutes remaining, Villanova began a march down the field that have might have salvaged an otherwise forgettable night. However, the final nail in the coffin came when Jamal Abdur-Rahman fumbled yet again, which allowed Fordham to run out the clock.
Villanova limps into their bye week, where they will need to address the massive turnover problem they are facing before returning to face Stony Brook in two weeks time.