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Cats Rammed by Rhode Island

#3 Villanova rode a three-game winning streak into Kingston to play the unranked Rhode Island Rams (2-3, 3-5). It was a game the Cats were expected to win easily. As Brian wrote in his game preview, "Villanova was 14-2 all-time against Rhode Island and a loss, even in Kingston, [would be] unlikely if the ‘Cats [kept] their foot on the gas this week." They didn’t. The Cats gained only an abysmal 218 yards of total offense (68 yards rushing) as the the Cats' offensive line was manhandled by the Rams' defensive front four. Yet it was turnovers that killed them, resulting in two Ram touchdowns and a crushing conclusion to a potentially dramatic comeback by the Cats in the closing seconds.

Things began to go bad at the end of the first quarter when Rhode Island’s Jarrod Williams returned an interception 33 yards for a touchdown. Angelo Babbaro got the Cats even with a three yard run half way through the third quarter. However, with Rhode Island up 10-7 early in the fourth quarter, Willie McGinnis blocked and then recovered a Villanova punt in the end zone to put the Rams up 17-7 with 2:19 remaining in the game.

Villanova did not quit and cut the lead to 17-14 with 1:43 remaining when Chris Whitney threw a five-yard touchdown pass to Norman White in the back corner of the end zone. The Wildcats had one last chance to come away with a win as they held the Rams to three plays over 41 seconds, getting the ball back on their own 36-yard line with 1:02 to go. However, one last turnover fittingly dashed Nova's hopes for a comeback, as Whitney fumbled the ball back to the Rams on a sack. With the 17-14 loss, the Cats fall to 6-3, 4-2 and third place in the CAA.

Rhode Island's Quarterback Steve Probst 100-yard rushing effort marked the first time in 23 games that Villanova has allowed a 100-yard rusher.

Press Coverage

FCS Top Five Results: There will certainly be a shake-up in the FCS Top 5 next week as Villanova is joined in the loss column by #1 Appalachian State, who lost to Georgia Southern, and #2 Jacksonville State, who lost to Eastern Kentucky. #4 Delaware and #5 William & Mary both won.