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Villanova at Albany football recap: Backed into the wall, Wildcats stepped up for the win

After two rough outings at home, the Wildcats looked much more comfortable on Albany's Bob Ford Field.

Matthew Gregory

At half time Villanova head coach Andy Talley described both teams as "backed against the wall," heading into the game. The Wildcats didn't run away with it early on -- they held a 10-0 lead at halftime, but by the end,  they had smashed through their wall like the Kool Aid man, to win 37-0 against the still-reeling Great Danes.

Villanova limited its mistakes this week, avoiding turnovers, and damaging penalties. With a relatively even time of possession, the Villanova defense was able to keep their legs underneath them throughout the game, make the right adjustments and keep the Albany offense off of the scoreboard.

"This was a turnaround game for us," Talley told reporters after the final whistle.

The Wildcats' defense lost the turnover battle in the last two weeks, but they were plus-five in turnovers this afternoon. After stopping a second-quarter goal line run by Albany with a strip and fumble recovery, the Wildcats secondary keyed in on the passing game in the second half, grabbing three pick-offs and having another from defensive lineman Tanoh Kpassagnon. Safety Cameron McCurry was the defensive star, forcing that fumble, and grabbing two of the interceptions.

"We had the same offensive line three weeks in a row, and we haven't had that," he added.

Freshman quarterback Zach Bednarczyk had a good outing after struggling in the prior two games, setting an unbreakable school record for completion percentage at 100% (12-for-12), beating the prior record that was held by John Robertson. True freshman back-up Adeyemi Da Silva came in for the last series to close it out, laying down a block for Aaron Forbes to secure a first down and end the game with a knee.

The Wildcats outgained the Danes 421-232 on offense, and ran for 269 yards on the ground to Albany's 75. With Javon White picking up 124 of those yards, and one touchdown.

"This week you have to bring your own blocker, don't go down after the first hit," White recounted running backs coach Ola Adams telling the unit before the game.

The other scores were provided by Aaron Forbes and Matt Gudzak on the ground, and Kevin Gulyas (77 yards total) and Gary Underwood in the air. Gulyas' score came on a beautiful 51-yard play, accounting for most of his yardage on the day.

For the second-straight week, the Wildcats connected on their only field goal attempt, with freshman Gerard Smith putting a 39-yard attempt through the uprights in the first half. Smith went 4-of-5 on extra points as well, with his final attempt being blocked.

Albany had a couple of drives that looked like they could have ended with points. In addition to losing a fumble near the goal line, they ended the first half with a drive in the red zone that was stopped after a bad snap left them with 4th down and just 10 seconds to kick a field goal -- their offense never got set, and though the ball sailed through the uprights, the referees called it back.

Albany quarterback D.J. Crook, a former Penn State walk-on, went 13-for-24 passing for 157 yards and 3 interceptions.

The Wildcats turned up the pressure in the second half, and showed some good momentum to end the game. While their next opponent, Towson, will not allow the 'Cats to run around so easily, they at least seem to have developed some roadmap to success in this game that will hopefully help them as they seek to get back to their winning ways in conference play.