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Villanova vs. Rhode Island: Winners and Sinners

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We didn't see much go wrong for the Wildcats against URI, holding the Rams scoreless through three quarters, but late mistakes allowed three scores and Coach Andy Talley thought his team needed penance.

Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Villanova won its fifth straight and had their lead over Rhode Island as high as 44-points on Saturday afternoon. It is hard to point any fingers at the Wildcats' play in the first half -- and we won't -- but the sins occurred later in the second half for the 'Cats and they cannot be overlooked. Penalties and sloppy play allowed Rhode Island to score three times at the end of regulation to pull within 23 of the 'Cats.

Here are your winners and sinners from Saturday.

Winners

John Robertson - Andy Talley stated that he didn't think Robertson was as good as he usually is yesterday, but that was hard to tell from his stat line. In just one half of football, he went 13-16 for 189 yards and 4 TDs, while adding 61 yards on the ground. Hopefully his touchdown totals speak for him when it comes time to vote on the Walter Payton Award.

Poppy Livers - Who can argue with this guy's results? Livers always seems to be open, he pulls in whatever is thrown at him, and fights for yards after the catch. That combination helped earn him 113 receiving yards and two touchdowns against Rhode Island, as long as one massive running play off of a reverse that went for 43 yards.

Dillon Lucas - Lucas was one of the best freshmen in the country a few years ago, but took last season off to recover from injuries. Now he's back and yesterday was perhaps his best performance of the season, with 9 tackles and a solo sack on Saturday.

Don Cherry - With 11 tackles, 7 solo and a share in a sack, Cherry continues to make big plays for the defense and seems to be finding his way to the ball with ease. He also forced the fumble with 3:13 left in the game that ended the last Rhode Island threat and allowed Polony and Matt Gudzak to run out the clock.

Cameron McCurry - His fumble recovery on that late fumble created by Cherry sealed the victory for Villanova.

Sinners

Cody Pittman & the Third String Offense - The backup quarterback led the implosion that allowed the Rams to score three times in quick succession in the fourth quarter. That forced Talley to put Chris Polony back in the game at quarterback and risk his only other scholarship quarterback (based on the assumption that Zack Bednarczyk is redshirting). The third unit went absolutely nowhere on three drives, with penalties for delay of game, substitution infraction, and personal fouls giving URI improved field position. Pittman went 2-of-2 for 9 yards, but was sacked once and fumbled on another play to give Rhody the ball on the Villanova 21 yard line.

Austin Calitro - His play on defense wasn't bad for most of the game, but it was Calitro who committed a personal foul on a fourth-quarter punt that allowed Rhode Island to start their mini-rally from the Villanova 20 yard line.