The Albany Great Danes marched down the field on their first drive, however a fumble one yard short of the end zone shifted the momentum towards the Villanova Wildcats then and for the rest of the night. John Robertson finished the day with 168 rushing yards and Kevin Gulyas had 3 receptions for 106 yards as the 'Cats won 48-31.
Tempers of both coaches were high immediately after the game. With 48 seconds left in the game, Villanova took the field for what was assumed to be the victory formation. Instead, Coach Talley let 4-year walk-on senior Fred O'Connor take two handoffs for a total of 20 yards. At the postgame handshake, Albany head coach Greg Gattuso refused to shake as he believed Talley refusing to kneel the ball was "low class." He went on to say that "the great [coaches] kneel there, that's it." Talley called Gattuso's response "bullsh*t." He added, "For him to come into a press conference and criticize me in front of my hometown press for something like that? I mean, if you're gonna be mad at me running up the score, you can talk to me or anyone in this league, I don't run up the score and wouldn't do it. So don't come to Villanova and talk in our press room and talk trash. I'm not buying it." This was the first time these two coaches ever met, and it obviously was not a great first impression on either side.
Albany completed their first 8 passes to start the game, including a 28-yard strike to Cole King that he ultimately fumbled into the end zone. Jason Ceneus fell on the ball and `Nova took over at their own 20. Villanova would convert that turnover into a touchdown on a 9-yard Robertson rushing TD. Albany would respond in less than two minutes as RB Omar Osbourne ran 4 yards for the score. Before the quarter ended, Robertson found Kevin Gulyas for a 37-yard touchdown that gave the Wildcats a 14-7 lead after one quarter.
The Great Danes came out quick in the second quarter as they got all the way to the 1 yard line again, but a false start followed by a delay of game forced them to settle for a field goal. Robertson would add rushing touchdowns of 22-yards and 2-yards before the end of the half. The `Cats had a comfortable 28-10 lead going into the third.
As a whole, penalties were not an issue for Villanova. They had two at the half and six on the day for 59 yards. Albany had the only punt and Villanova had the only sack. Both teams were 1-1 on fourth downs.
Villanova's defense had few bright spots on the night. They forced 3 fumbles on the day, recovering 2, with which the offense converted in to 14 points. The Great Danes were 5-10 on third downs on the night. Villanova had 1 sack and 4 tackles for loss.
The second half started out great for the Wildcats as they scored a touchdown just 1:13 in to the quarter. Robertson found Gulyas again, this time for 62 yards. Five minutes later Monangai punched it in from two yards out to stake `Nova to a comfortable 42-10 lead. Omar Osbourne scored his second TD of the day to cut the lead to 42-17, but at that point the game was well in hand.
Albany tight end Brian Parker had a great 4th quarter, catching touchdowns of 8 and 25 yards. He finished with 5 catches for 103.
Kicking was again the Achilles heel of the Wildcats, as they missed the extra point on Austin Medley's 4th quarter score.
John Robertson commented that his hand is almost fully healed, having the cast off for the past two games. "I wasn't able to stiff arm, that was a big part of my game when I run the ball. It's very good not having the cast on."
Robertson moved up on some all-time lists tonight. He now ranks second in school history in total offense, passing both Kirk Schulz and Brett Gordon. He sits at third in school history in points, passing Mark Keifer. Lastly, he is now fourth all-time in passing yards, passing Chris Whitney.
LB Don Cherry had 6 tackles tonight, 3 solo, putting him at 102 on the year. He is the first Villanovan to achieve 100 tackles in a season since Marquis Kirkland in 2010, who had 104.
All players and coaches are very excited for the matchup against the Delaware Blue Hens. Kevin Gulyas calls it "the first round of the playoffs. It's a playoff atmosphere and we just have to come out ready to go." Robertson added, "we play for everyone before us, and last year when we were down a lot I remember thinking 'I know there's guys watching who know it's a big game.'" Talley believes the Delaware game is "the rival game for us. They play great, we play great." He echoed Kevin's call that it's like a playoff game. "I want that top seed and we have to go down there and play our hearts out. I'm looking forward to it and hope to enter the playoffs with a real good feeling."
That Delaware game is on November 22nd at 12:00pm. It is the final game of the regular season.