A dark and frigid day, with 30 mile per hour winds at Villanova Stadium seemed to perfectly mimic a classic Halloween horror film.
The Wildcats obliged with a ghostly performance of their own.
There was no homecoming celebration for these ‘Cats as New Hampshire steam-rolled Villanova 34-0. The now 2-6 Wildcats from New Hampshire seemed to come back to life.
“We saw why you throw the records out the window in this league today,” proclaimed a disappointed coach Mark Ferrante.
It all went wrong from the start for Villanova as on the first play from scrimmage, redshirt freshman Carlos Washington Jr. exploded through the Nova defense on his way for a 75 yard score.
Villanova seemed to respond early with a blocked punt deep in New Hampshire territory. Yet it followed that up with a fumbled snap on the next play and eventually kicker Drew Kresge sent his field goal attempt wide right.
The offense struggled to gain any traction in the wet weather.
Redshirt senior Zach Bednarczyk was unable to spark any life after returning from his two and a half games on the sideline through injury. The lefty finished 13-21 throwing the ball, accumulating 103 yards-passing.
Nothing seemed to click. “We’re lacking rhythm” said feature back Aaron Forbes after the game.
New Hampshire took advantage by adding a 37 yard field goal from Jason Hughes, and then a 11-yard touchdown scamper from Trevor Knight to extend the lead to 17-0.
As Villanova desperately tried to cling to life, it shot themselves in the foot yet again. A costly fumble put an end to a promising drive midway through the second quarter.
It was then Washington Jr. again who seemed to put Villanova to bed with a 16-yard touchdown run to extend the lead to 24-0.
Washington Jr. finished his day with a game-high 182 yards on the ground.
Just before halftime, it seemed that the Wildcats may have had something going.
Starting on their own 28-yard line, the ‘Cats marched all the way down to the NHU 5. The big play on that drive came from sophomore running back Justin Covington. The Bronx native took off down the left sideline and rumbled forward for a gain of 29, displaying impressive speed.
Villanova was not able to cash in as they turned the ball over on downs when Bednarczyk rolled right and fired an incompletion on fourth down.
Things did not get much better for Villanova after the halftime whistle.
The Wildcats were forced to go three-and-out on their first drive and New Hampshire subsequently drove down and scored on yet another Trevor Knight option run. The floodgates had opened.
However, there was some intrigue during the second half for 'Nova.
Freshman quarterback Qadir Ismail entered the game for his first collegiate action. The son of Qadry “The Missile” Ismail struggled in his limited action.
Ismail completed 3-of-12 passes for 12 yards after coming in around the six minute mark in the third quarter. However, the experience gained by the 6”7’ Ismail should prove valuable in the long run.
“He had a good week of practice,” stated Ferrante on why Ismail was selected to enter the game. However, he came to the conclusion that Qadir was probably, “not quite ready to get in there”.
NHU added a late field goal to take the score to 34-0, before putting in their second team and focusing on running down the clock.
With the loss, ‘Nova has now suffered back-to-back shutout losses. It hasn’t scored a single point at Villanova Stadium since the Bucknell game on Sept. 22.
With the loss, Villanova falls to 3-5 and 0-5 in CAA play. Villanova’s next game will be next Saturday, November 3 at 3 p.m. when they take on the Richmond Spiders.