For Villanova, its postseason hopes were known to be pretty much dead by this point.
However, Senior Day was enough of a reason to deliver. Having the Wildcats’ rival, the Delaware Blue Hens, come to Villanova Stadium and the Battle of the Blue trophy up for grabs provided even more motivation.
Delaware entered with a 7-3 record and had a chance to go to the playoffs, but today Villanova got the chance to spoil it.
The Wildcats pounced on the Blue Hens early and from there took control of the game and won in a 28-7 fashion.
“As difficult as these past games have been for us, I have said earlier in the week that this is a rivalry game and that brings extra emotion and this being our last home game and also being our senior game brought double the emotion,” Villanova head coach Mark Ferrante said. “It is amazing what you can do with a little more emotion, passion, love for each other, which they expressed this week when [the seniors] talked to the team, and I am really proud at how they played today.”
The Wildcats proved they were on a mission to win The Battle of the Blue right from the start of the game, and that they wanted to thwart the Blue Hens’ bid at a playoff spot.
Senior linebacker Jeff Steeb put chills down the spines of the Villanova crowd early in the first quarter.
After Taurus Phillips took hold of the first touchdown of the game on a 9-yard pass, the Wildcats’ energy sustained to be contagious.
“The early lead always takes a little pressure off our defense,” Phillips said. “It allows us to play with a lot of energy, but still gives us the room to play loose.”
Steeb landed a 38 yard-interception return touchdown, his second career score. It gave Villanova a quick 14-0 advantage over Delaware. Steeb also proved to be an astounding facet defensively, as he led the Villanova defense with 13 tackles.
The ground game shined throughout the game, especially Aaron Forbes. He did most of the work in the first half, but finished the game with a strong 140 yards off of 13 carries—his third career 100-yard rushing performance. However, he wasn’t alone, as a team the Wildcats ran for 261 yards.
Villanova maintained its 14-0 lead, after it stopped a fake field goal attempt late in the second quarter.
“We called more of a middle pressure instead of the more traditional edge pressure so that we could cover the tight ends in the wings,” Ferrante said. “Our guy Rasaan Stewart made a great play.”
Villanova would add a pair of third quarter scores to pad its lead, first a 37-yard touchdown reception by Phillips—his second score of the game. Then, a quarterback sneak by Jack Schetelich.
Delaware finally found paydirt late in the fourth quarter, but it was far too late by then.
Wildcat iron-man Ed Shockley, who had only missed one game in his entire Villanova career as a senior, finished today’s game with 10 tackles to give him 101 for the season.
Shockley is the first Wildcat since Don Cherry to provide 100 tackles in a season.
The Wildcats did the job today in keeping the Battle of the Blue trophy where it belongs.
Forbes mentions, “Not only will this win will spring us into next season, but it gives us insight on what we need to bring to the table looking at the next coming preseason.”
Now the ‘Cats can feel good going into Thanksgiving, as Coach Ferrante leaves us on the note “it doesn’t matter who you’re playing, if you’re playing for each other.”