The Villanova Wildcats defeated the Fordham Rams 14-7 on Saturday night in The Bronx to push their record to 1-1 on the season. Bad weather was a factor in the game, but the Wildcats looked sharp on defense and definitely showed some improvement on offense after a tough loss last week.
Here are the important storylines from the game.
Javon White can carry the load while Underwood heals
Javon White came in to the season a bit of an unknown after sitting out last season, but he certainly showcased all he's capable of on Saturday night. While Robertson picking up plenty of the rushing load (21 carries, 102 yards, 1 TD), it was White who starred in the running game. He finished with 23 carries for 152 yards (6.2 ypc) and eased the loss of starting running back Gary Underwood.
If White can continue his solid play, it will afford the Villanova staff to keep John Robertson from handling too much responsibility, and hopefully keep him healthy. When Gary Underwood recovers from his chest injury, he and White should form a nice 1-2 punch.
The kicking game is still a dumpster fire
Steve Weyler had a rough start to his career with accuracy issues as a true freshman. After missing a chip shot against UConn (to be fair, it was a bad snap and hold), Weyler missed another chip shot to end the first half against Fordham and then had another kick blocked in the second half (after a poor snap). Yes, it was raining and there was wind, but given his history it's hard to blame it solely on the elements.
I really want Weyler to figure this out and be successful. At this point, it has to be partially mental with him. There's going to be games this season where Villanova will need him to step up, so hopefully he can right the ship soon.
The defense looks elite
The big story heading in to the game was whether the Wildcats could contain star running back Chase Edmonds. They answered the call in a big way, holding Edmonds to just 80 yards rushing and 10 yards receiving. Without his big play threat, Kevin Anderson had a hard time getting things going (9-22, 85 yards, 1 TD passing) through the air and was stifled on the ground as well.
Don Cherry had a big bounceback game after a near no-show against UConn. The All-American finished with 9 tackles, 2 TFL and a sack to lead the way in the rain. Austin Calitro (10 tackles, 2 TFL, 1 sack) was impressive as well and the secondary was very good all night in limiting the Rams' passing attack. Jason Ceneus came up with the biggest play of game, a batted pass on 4th down with Fordham driving in 'Nova territory late in the game.
The offense is clearly still a work in progress, so it will fall on the defense each week to give them some breathing room.
The Wildcats return to action next Saturday for a 12:00pm ET kickoff against Delaware at Villanova Stadium. The game will be aired on Comcast SportsNet.