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Villanova vs. William & Mary recap: Wildcats survive a scare on the road

The Tribe gave the 'Cats all they had, slowing their offense down, and finding some big holes in the Villanova secondary. Despite that, the 'Cats came back and held-on for a 35-31 victory on the road, to go to 6-1 overall and 4-0 in the CAA.


Today's @novafootball view. #BeattheTribe

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Villanova got out to an early lead for the sixth time in six games, scoring on their first drive after taking the kickoff. The Wildcats moved the ball downfield with relative ease on that first drive, with a shovel-pass from John Robertson to Kevin Monangai putting the ball into the endzone. The lead didn't last long, however.

It took a last-second touchdown pass from Robertson to steal the win for the Wildcats and spoil the Tribe's homecoming celebration, 35-31.

William & Mary responded almost immediately with a long touchdown pass to wide receiver Tre McBride. The response was quick, taking just six plays and 72 yards. The Tribe passing game was on-target through most of the game.

Robertson led the Wildcaat on another long drive afterward, running 11 plays over 75 yards, mostly keeping the ball on the ground between Kevin Monangai and Gary Underwood taking the hand-offs. Robertson would take it into the endzone by himself, however, to take the lead once more for the Wildcats.

The Tribe tied it up again with a quick drive at the beginning of the second quarter to make it 14-all. Quarterback Steve Cluley threw a 56 yard pass to McBride for the score after getting the ball at the W&M 36-yard line.

Villanova's offense stalled out for the remainder of the first half, while William & Mary also had issues of their own, fumbling on the Villanova 7-yard line, and the Villanova 11 on consecutive possessions. They finally pulled themselves together again at the end of the half, going on a 6-play 88-yard drive ending with a 2-yard rushing touchdown by the Tribe's Kendell Anderson.

That play gave the Tribe a 21-14 halftime advantage over the Wildcats.

After the break, Villanova kicked off to the Tribe, then held them to a three-and-out. The Cats' followed that up with an 8-play, 72-yard drive from their own 28-yard line with Kevin Monangai took the ball into the endzone for the Wildcats to tie the game.

With 6:51 left in the third quarter, William & Mary kicked a 26 yard field-goal to go up by 3, 24-21. The Wildcats responded with a touchdown on a Robertson run, 10 plays and almost 5 minutes later.

The Tribe weren't done yet, however, scoring again a few series later, to go up 31-28, over the 'Cats. Two consecutive false start penalties forced them to kick the extra point from 34 yards away.

With 52 seconds left in the game, Robertson hit Kevin Gulyas for a 13-yard touchdown pass. Steve Weyler's extra point gave the 'Cats a 35-31 lead, enough to not only put the Wildcats ahead, but to force the Tribe to score a touchdown in order to take a lead -- with under a minute to do so.

The Tribe chewed up 43 yards over 7 plays, helped greatly by a personal foul against Joey Harmon, but their last-ditch attempts to land a hail mary shot fell short, or long, or on the finger-tips of Villanova's defenders.

The Wildcats had 444 total yards of offense to the Tribe's 518, and rushed for 177 -- just nine more yards than their opponent. Robertson was the key for the Wildcats, passing for 267 yards and two touchdowns and running for another 63 yards and 2 more scores. He wasn't his usual self, efficiency-wise, however -- completing just 20 of 32 (62%) of his attempts after the Tribe defense forced him to throw the ball away multiple times.

Kevin Monangai also chewed up yardage for the 'Cats, running for 78 yards and a score. He also scored on a passing play and tallied 14 total receiving yards on 3 catches.

Clay Horne featured big in the passing game as well, catching two long passes for 84 yards.

Tribe quarterback Steve Cluley was slightly more efficient than Robertson, completing 21-of-32, including some long passes for 350 yards in the air and three touchdowns. Top receiver Tre McBride helped him out tremendously, catching a team-high 11 passes for 209 of those yards and 2 scores. On the ground, the Tribe used workhorse Mikal Abdul-Saboor to chew up 83 yards over 23 carries and Kendell Anderson added another 75 yards and a touchdown.