In the first quarter, Villanova managed only 31 yards in the first quarter and failed to convert for a first down. Christian Culicerto was ineffective in the 47-17 loss to New Hampshire this weekend and was pulled in the second quarter to give the true-freshman another chance to shine. Chris Polony came in and went 15-for-19 the rest of the way, picking up 120 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions.
Polony performed well, leading the 'Cats on all three of their scoring drives in the game. He spread the ball around, completing passes to a number of receivers, including freshman tight end Earnest Pettway, who got his first start and his first catch of the year, for a gain of 9 yards. Jamal Abdur-Rahman caugh 3 passes for 20 yards out of the slot, while Dorian Wells was again the leading receiver with 5 catches and 36 yards.
The running game helped, a lot. After struggling to get anything done on the ground int the first half. The 'Cats still aren't getting much push from the offensive line this season, which has held the run back, with far too many plays being stopped at the line of scrimmage.
Nonetheless, true freshman Kevin Monangai heard his number called more than anyone else today, with 18 carries picking up 57 yards and one touchdown. Austin Medley put up a strong performance with just 8 carries, however, picking up 40 yards for an average of 5 ypc.
The 'Nova defense just couldn't get many stops against the offense left behind by Oregon head coach Chip Kelly. Quarterback Kevin Decker looked every bit like a Walter Payton award candidate, passing for 401 yards and three touchdowns while rushing for another 46 yards and a touchdown.
Decker really was a one-man wrecking ball for the Villanova defense. His top receiver today was R.J. Harris, who made a mockery of the 'Cats' secondary, picking up 190 yards receiving on 7 catches, including one long 66 yard reception for a touchdown. Decker's other two TD throws were caught by rising star Justin Mello and Jimmy Giansante.
Mark Hamilton was a bright spot for the 'Cats. The punter-slash-kicker made the one field goal he was called on to kick and made both extra points while also averaging 45.2 yards on 6 punts. Hamilton also ran for 3 yards and a first down on a fourth-quarter fake-punt.
UNH did not need to punt much, Mike MacArthur took only one snap out of the punting formation, but also went 3-for-3 on field goal attempts.
Nobody wants a moral victory, but that is about as much as the Wildcats can take from this season now. Polony threw two interceptions, but for much of the final three quarters he looked much better than the nervous true freshman that struggled to manage against a slow, undersized, Monmouth University defense. Dillon Lucas continued to make plays and build his Jerry Rice award resume.
Villanova football now falls to 1-5 on the season, and things won't get much easier. Next week they travel to Harrisonburg, Virginia, to play number-6 ranked James Madison in their newly-renovated, 25,000-seat stadium.