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‘Nova Football outlasts Towson in turnover and injury filled game, 24-9

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Wildcats are back above .500 with a 3-2 record, but is down another key player.

NCAA Football: Villanova at Pittsburgh Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

In a game where there were seven combined turnovers between both teams, a win wasn’t going to come easy.

For Villanova, things became a lot more difficult when starting quarterback Zach Bednarczyk went down in the game’s opening drive. As a result, redshirt freshman Jack Schetelich entered the game in his place.

The Cranford, N.J. native would help steer the Wildcats to victory by finishing off the opening drive with a touchdown, then later capitalizing on Towson turnovers with a pair of decisive rushing touchdowns—allowing Villanova to fight its way to a 24-9 win.

Bednarczyk would not return to the game with what appeared to be a knee injury. He would stay on the sidelines with crutches. Schetelich’s first game with extended action had its moments—good and bad.

He finished the game with a subpar 5-for-15 in pass attempts, throwing for 59 yards, one touchdown, and three interceptions. However, he demonstrated a solid running and scrambling ability, rushing the ball for 40 yards and two touchdowns off of nine carries.

With a narrow 10-9 lead in the fourth quarter, the Wildcats were able to recover a Tiger fumble deep in Towson territory. On the following play, Schetelich would run the ball in from eight yards out for a touchdown to give the ‘Cats some breathing room with a 17-9 advantage.

Villanova would later go three-and-out—a recurring theme in this game—but the Tigers would squander the opportunity by fumbling the ball away, allowing the ‘Cats to set up right in the red zone. Once again, Schetelich would strike on the following play, with an 11-yard rushing touchdown, which gave Villanova a 24-9 lead with 3:12 remaining in the game.

The decisive blow officially put the game out of reach, improving Villanova’s record to 3-2.

Schetelich did get his share of growing pains, especially in the opening half of the game.

After Villanova’s opening score—Schetelich’s first career passing touchdown, which was caught by Taurus Phillips—both teams traded empty-handed drives, including one for Villanova that ended with a fumble in Towson territory.

In the second quarter, the Tigers would capitalize on Schetelich’s first interception of the night, returning it to their own 47-yard line. After a big 38-yard reception by Sam Gallahan from Ryan Stover, Towson would score a touchdown, but miss the point-after attempt, leaving the score at 7-6.

On Villanova’s first drive after the Towson score, Schetelich would throw another interception, but Towson was unable to take advantage of it.

Both teams exchanged field goals just before half (Villanova’s Drew Kresge nailed one for 46 yards out) and Villanova had a 10-9 lead at the break.

The Wildcat defense held Towson to 246 yards, recovering the two key fourth quarter fumbles that set Villanova up with great field position.

The Tigers were limited to just 44 rushing yards off of 32 carries, keeping Villanova’s streak alive of not giving up 100 yards on the ground to any opponent this season.

Stover paced the Tigers with a 22-for-44 performance under center, throwing for 202 yards and one interception. He accounted for Towson’s lone touchdown of the game.

While the Wildcats defense remains solid, there will be some question marks on the offensive side of the ball. Injuries continue to take a toll on the Wildcats and Bednarczyk’s immediate future isn’t clear just yet. The Wildcats were just 1-of-11 on third down conversions, and Bednarczyk accounted for the lone conversion before exiting the game.

Villanova will return home next week to play Maine (1-2). Kick-off will be on Oct. 7, at 1 p.m.