Despite being down by a field goal at the intermission, Andy Talley's Villanova Football squad outpaced the Rams 24-0 to defeat URI 31-10 in the conference opener for both schools. The Wildcats move to 2-1 on the season and 1-0 in CAA conference play with the victory. They have already matched last season's win total and have not lost a game against an FCS opponent yet this season.
The 'Nova defense stepped up in the second half, holding their opponent scoreless in the 3rd and 4th Quarters for the second-consecutive week.
"It was the exact replica of last week," said Villanova coach Andy Talley. "We struggled a little bit in the first half with penalties again and that is very disconcerting. And we had passes knocked down and it was really difficult getting anything going."
Two second-half touchdowns from Kevin Monagai helped the Wildcat's offense in the victorious effort.
The Wildcats only gave up 51 total yards to the visiting squad in the second half. URI only accumulated 203 total yards of offense in the game with 14 first downs. Villanova outpaced the Rams, gaining 415 total yards and 21 first downs, including 244 rushing yards, making it the first time that the Wildcats have opened the season with three straight 200+ yard rushing games since 1992.
Rakim Cox had six tackles and one sack in the game, along with two pass break-ups, to lead the defense in the game. Linebackers Dillon Lucas, Pat Haggerty, and Devon Bridges, along with Safety Joe Sarnese each had 5 tackles, with Lucas picking up two tackles for loss. Haggerty and Bridges each picked up a sack and Sarnese grabbed another interception this week -- the second of the season for him.
Offensively, Robertson carried the ball 11 times for a game-high 63 yards, and a touchdown, while Austin Medley picked up 41 yards and a score and Kevin Monangai had 55 yards and 2 touchdowns. Villanova used five different receivers, with Norman White being the main target for 7 catches and 88 yards. Joe Price picked up 36 yards with some nice pick-up after the catch as well.
Robertson passed for 171 yards overall, going 14-of-27 in the game with no turnovers.
Rhode Island turned the ball over twice in the game, on an interception and a fumble that was recovered by Villanova.
Next weekend the Wildcats will travel to the cavernous confines of Franklin Field, where they will renew their rivalry with the Penn Quakers. The Quakers are coming off of a disappointing 21-28 loss to Lafayette where eight turnovers allowed the Leopards to win at home.