Instead, they dismantled the Lafayette Leopards in Mark Ferrante’s home opener 59-0 in as dominant performance as we’ve seen in recent years. The offense did whatever they wanted until the coaches called the dogs off, and the defense continued to smother Lafayette even when the second unit played the majority of minutes in the second half.
Here are the three main takeaways from the dominating performance.
‘Nova poured it on and broke Lafayette’s spirit
From start to finish Villanova was clearly the better team, but the way in which they finished this game off so quickly was mesmorizing.
After Zach Bednarczyk found Ryan Bell for a 37-yard touchdown on a beautiful pump-and-go down the sideline, freshman Jaquan Amos broke extremely well on a tipped pass and took the INT 35 yards for a touchdown.
After the defense forced a 3-and-out, Taurus Phillips weaved his way through a crowd and broke a punt return down the sideline. 64-yards later he was in the end zone. 3 touchdowns in less than 3 minutes.
And that wasn’t all. Villanova ran it down the field late in the half trying to kill clock and Matt Gudzak punched it in for a touchdown with 36 seconds to go. On the very first Leopards offensive play of the next drive Keeling Hunter stepped in front of an out pattern and took it 27-yards to the house.
From 13-0 to 49-0 in a quarter. Holy Massimino.
Backups look promising
Villanova hasn’t had great fortune lately with QB injuries and Adeyemi Da Silva has moved to WR, so Jack Schetelich getting several drives before making way for Jackson Bradley was important. It was a vanilla offense with the score what it was, but I saw a couple of good things.
Schetelich is extremely athletic - maybe even moreso than Bednarczyk. Whereas Bednarczyk is a tough runner, Schetelich moves effortlessly and covers ground in chunks. On one play he easily side-stepped a rusher and turned a sack into a 7-yard gain. While his INT was poor, his other incomplete pass was off-target but looked intentional - and Sam Shaud nearly hauled it in.
Justin Covington is clearly #3 in line for carries behind Gudzak and Aaron Forbes, but he looked fantastic with 74 yards on 9 carries (8.2 ypc). He’s the shiftiest of the bunch, fast, and his feet never stop moving. He did most of his damage behind the second team offensive line that struggled, too.
There’s still some sloppiness to clean up
For all the good - the most impressive probably being Villanova’s 505 yards to Lafayette’s 77 - it wasn’t a perfect game.
After the defense turned Lafayette over on downs the ‘Cats had a short field to work with. Bednarczyk ran a sprint-option near side but a poor toss to Gudzak resulted in a fumble and turnover on the goal line. It was ugly, and reminiscent of earlier in Bednarczyk’s career when there were some bad red zone turnovers.
Villanova also racked up 12 penalties for 107 yards. While most came while the game was over, over 50 yards came in the first half on holding penalties. That will need to get fixed as the schedule really toughens up going forward.
Villanova (2-1) begins CAA play next week when they trip North to Albany (2-1). The game will be broadcast on ESPN3 and is scheduled to kick-off at 7pm ET.