With gloomy skies overlooking the Villanova Stadium came an unfortunate symbolic depiction of the ‘Cats play. The Spiders were able to get their first bite in quickly in the first quarter as Griffin Trau nailed a successful 30-yard field goal.
Trau would make another kick, and then the Spiders would get a safety—that was only the beginning.
Despite a close first half, the Spiders kept biting and would break loose in the second to win 22-0.
The ‘Cats needed to come out today with a win in order to make it to the realm of playoffs. Unfortunately, things look gloomy for the Cats in regards to those terms.
The ‘Cats now have their heads set on Rhode Island, then Delaware. The goal is to not to win playoffs, not to win a national title, but to emerge with a winning season. While they are at it, they hope to win the Battle of the Blue in order to “get that trophy in the trophy case it belongs”—in the words of head coach Mark Ferrante.
“The plan moving forward is to watch film, motivate, practice with a good frame of mind on Tuesday, and keep moving forward,” Ferrante said.
Not everything was terrible for the ‘Cats, as an exciting 60-yard reception by tight end Simon Bingelis drove them deep into Richmond territory. Unfortunately, a Kyle McCloskey fumble at the one-yard line stopped Villanova from capitalizing on it.
That would be the closest the Wildcats got to scoring.
All in all, Villanova was limited to just 163 yards of total offense. With Zach Bednarczyk being down and out, Villanova hasn’t been able to play as aggressively from an offensive standpoint. That trend continued.
McCloskey completed 6-of-17 pass attempts for 90 yards. He was sacked four times. The ground game couldn’t get much going either, but Justin Covington showed some promise. At one point he broke for a 20-yard run, but he would finish with a team-high 54 yards off of seven carries.
From all angles of Villanova’s side of the stadium, moments of frustration in the crowd heightened the game’s atmosphere as phrases like “Wake up” started to brew, and were thus hurdled toward the direction of the field.
Being one of the top defenses in the FCS, the ‘Cats knew what they had coming. The Richmond Spiders were out for blood and if they wanted to secure a spot in the FCS playoffs they needed to come out Saturday with a win. In a battle of offense versus defense, the Spiders’ top tier attack came out on top. They combined for 434 yards of offense.
“Today, meant an elimination game,” said Richmond head coach Ross Huesman. “So, we came to play. And that’s what need to happen when you have two teams who have their backs up against the wall.”
Richmond was able to consistently get first downs, providing them with the keys they needed for a W, as their offense moved the ball at will in the second half. A pair of third quarter touchdowns by Kyle Lauletta and Xavier Goodall padded the Spiders’ lead.
“The key today was getting the 8-point lead quickly,” Huesman said. “Once we get the lead, we can control our game.”
While it was a setback for the ‘Cats, they look ahead to salvaging the season with a winning record, getting their heads above-.500. With a young team remaining after injuries, it could help boost their confidence moving into next season.
For now, it’s on to Rhode Island.