After falling behind to William & Mary early in the final game of their three-week homestand, Villanova came back to reward the fans with a 20-16 victory. The Wildcats, who struggled at times with a tough Tribe defense, went to 3-2 overall and 2-0 in the CAA football conference with the win. John Robertson had another solid game, but the comeback was driven by a strong rushing attack that wore down Jimmye Laycock's defenders as the game wore on.
"I think with two weeks to prepare, any team in our league will do to us what they did today," Andy Talley said about his team's early struggle in the game.
"I think it's great that we came out and won in the fourth quarter," Robertson stated. "I think a lot of our wins, on my bill especially, we were pretty much blowing teams out when we won. I think it's good for our confidence, because going late into the season these games are going to happen."
Kevin Monangai had another solid game for the 'Cats, picking up 93 yards on the ground, including one 54-yard charge downfield that put Villanova in scoring position. Moments later, Austin Medley punched the ball into the endzone to bring the Wildcats within a field goal of the Tribe.
With the score sitting at 13-10 heading into the final quarter, Villanova was able to work out of trouble, putting a field goal of their own through the uprights early in the period to tie things up, but the Wildcats' defense wasn't able to hold the tribe back from chipping in another field goal to run their score up to 16.
The tide turned for Villanova on the final possession, where the 'Cats put together a drive to take them deep into Tribe territory, with a little help from a pass interference call against W&M's cornerback. Villanova's quarterback, Robertson, kept the ball himself for the score to put the Wildcats ahead 20-16.
The visitors would get the ball back with just 28 seconds left to work with, and though they threatened to make a play, Villanova wouldn't allow any last-minute heroics from the away team.
The 'Cats showed their toughness by coming back in the fourth quarter and were forced to fight for their comeback in the second half. The Wildcats changed their approach through the game, working the outside heavily early on, and moving the offense to the middle late. As Monangai and Medley started making inroads up the middle, the Tribe stopped spying Robertson, and allowed him to use his speed to make plays that weren't available early on.
"It's a great feeling. Its a chance for me to right my wrongs," Robertson said about the final scoring drive of the game. "You know, I threw a pick at the beginning and you know, we've got to win this game anyway.
"We're gonna win, we've got to get down there and knuckle-up and get it done."
William & Mary lost their starting quarterback in the second half to what appeared to be a concussion. Villanova, meanwhile was without starting center Ross Hall and slot receiver Jamal Abdur-Rahman all game. Trey Johnson was also playing sick this afternoon, and needed an IV before the game to get hydrated.
"We were in church this morning, okay this is a new one for me, and our starting corner Trey Johnson gets up and walks out kind of wobbly and I'm like, 'are you kidding me?' Now we're losing them in church!" Talley exasperated about his team's injury situation. "We lose them in practice, we lose them in games, we're not even safe in the church."
Despite those troubles, the 'Cats have shown that their depth and will to fight is enough to claw out some victories.