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Villanova vs. William and Mary Game Recap: Wildcat's can't get anything going, fall to 2-3

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The Wildcat's struggled on offense the whole game, and the defense couldn't stop Kendell Anderson.

David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Fresh off of a bye week following an ugly loss to Penn, the Wildcats fought to keep their playoffs hopes alive.

The Villanova Wildcats, looking to get above .500, won the toss and deferred until the second half. The Tribe fumbled the snap on the second play of the game, but recovered it and only lost two on the pass. After the slight misstep, William and Mary had a strong drive mixing the passing ability of Steve Cluley, and their strong running game, finishing the drive with a chip shot for Nick Dorka to go up 3-0.

After a Gary Underwood return to the 28, the Wildcats couldn't anything going and had a quick three and out. The 'Nova defense returned the favor thanks to strong play by the D-line and the linebackers, but the Tribe punt pinned the offense on the eight yard line.

With a 4th and one from the W&M 44, the Wildcats went into a Wildcat formation, and Gary Underwood pushed ahead for the first down. Andy Talley continued to think outside of the box, calling a flea flicker on 1st down, and Bednarczyk hit Kevin Gulyas for a 33 yard gain. Gary Underwood finished the long drive off with a four yard rush to give 'Nova a 7-3 lead.

Linebacker Austin Calitro forced a fumble in the backfield, and Tanoh Kpassagnon recovered it, giving 'Nova the ball at the Tribe 11. The Wildcats had two holding penalties in three plays, and kicker Gerard Smith made his first career field goal, a 26 yarder, to give Villanova a 10-3 lead after the 1st quarter.

William and Mary QB Steve Cluley started the 2nd quarter off quickly with an 18 yard pass, and a long 35 yard pass to Kevin Hart. Running back Kendell Anderson capped off the drive with a one yard rushing touchdown to tie the game at 10.

Kendall Anderson, who played the majority of the game for injured Mikal Abdul-Saboor, went 71 yards for a touchdown, giving W&M a 17-10 lead.

Matt Gudzak ran for 11 yards, followed by a 37 yard pass to Kevin Gulyas, and Andy Talley decided to go for it on a 4th and 13 from the Tribe 26. Bednarczyk dropped back and the pass was intercepted by DeAndre Houston-Carson, who returned it 94 yards for a touchdown to put William and Mary up 24-10.

Steven Cluley continued to show off his strong arm, throwing a 53 yard touchdown pass right before getting hit, to Christian Reeves who made a tough catch in traffic to give a 31-10 lead to the Tribe. The half ended with 'Nova down 21 after a hail mary pass wasn't caught.

The Wildcat's received the ball to begin the half, and the first play was a 20 yard run by Jarrett McClenton. Gary Underwood rushed for eight on the next play, but William and Mary's line stuffed the Wildcats on the next two plays, and they were forced to punt.

On a 3rd and 15 for William and Mary, Steve Cluley threw a 55 yard pass to Christian Reeves to put the Tribe right around the red zone. Running back Kendell Anderson continued to eat up the Wildcat defense and Mikal Abdul-Saboor, who subbed in for a few plays, also had success. Kicker Nick Dora missed a 37 yard field goal to keep the score at 31-10.

The Wildcats get the ball back inside their own 20, but on the second play Zach Bednarczyk threw an interception that was caught by Denzel Dykes. The Tribe used a lot of clock on the drive following the interception, and Kendell Anderson rushed one yard for another touchdown, making the score 38-10.

Berdnarczyk started using his legs in the 4th quarter, and that helped move the ball. Javon White finished off a solid drive with a six yard touchdown run and the Wildcats went for 2 and missed to make the score 38-16.

Zach Berdnarczyk missed many receivers both short and long, but it's not solely on him. The offensive line struggled quite a bit and he was rushed often. He went 13 for 31 yards with 2 interceptions on the day.

Coach Talley had some thoughts on Zach and his play, saying "We have to get Zach more experience, and try to come up with an offensive line that's going to be more cohesive."

The star of this game was Kendell Anderson, who rushed for 149 yards on 23 carries with 3 touchdowns. Mikal Abdul-Saboor, who mostly played in the late 3rd quarter and the 4th quarter, finished with 47 rushing yards. Tribe quarterback Steve Cluley also played very well. He went 16-28 for 267 yards and 1 touchdown.

On the defensive side, Luke Rhodes had 5 tackles and 2 tackles for loss. For 'Nova Austin Calitro had 6 tackles and 1 sack.

Coach Andy Talley was frustrated saying "We're not were we need to be to win in this league right now."  He was also optimistic saying he told the team "We're 1-1 in the CAA. Last year we were 7-1, if we can figure out a way to get better we have six more games left in the league, it's a long season."

The Wildcats are now 2-3 overall, and 1-1 in the CAA. Villanova makes the trip to Albany next week to take on the Great Danes at 3:30 P.M.