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Tribe spoils Senior Day celebrations, down ‘Nova 24-17

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William & Mary took advantage of Villanova miscues to beat the ‘Cats.

NCAA Football: Villanova at Temple Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Coming off a big 45-21 win against Richmond last weekend, Senior Day for the Villanova Wildcats did not go as planned, as they fell to the William & Mary Tribe, 24-17. The ‘Cats had a chance to put together two game-tying drives but ultimately fell short with both.

The game stayed scoreless through the first quarter as both offenses struggled to get a solid drive going. Quarterback Zach Bednarczyk threw his first interception towards the end of the first quarter as the ‘Cats were knocking on the door in the W&M red zone. The team traded punts for a few more drives until William & Mary broke the tie with an 18 yard TD pass to Tyler Klaus from backup quarterback Shon Mitchell. The ‘Cats responded with a touchdown drive of their own culminating in a 1 yard rushing TD from Aaron Forbes, tying the game at 7.

The Tribe got the ball back with a little less than 3 minutes in the half and quickly found themselves in the red zone after a 37 yard pass to Nick Muse. The Wildcats made two goal line stops but Nate Evans took the ball in for a 1 yard rush for the last play of the half and the Wildcats were down 14-7 headed into the break. Villanova certainly wasn’t playing their best game, but its defense was playing well compared to the past few weeks.

Bednarczyk and the ‘Cats offense stalled on their opening drive to the third quarter and gave the ball back to Tribe quarterback Ted Hefter. Hefter had a great drive featuring a 28 yard pass to Nick Muse and a 18 yard TD pass to DeVonte Dedmon to give William & Mary a 21-7 lead. Villanova fumbled on the second plan of the next drive giving W&M good field position but they stalled in the red zone and were forced to kick a field goal to give the Tribe a 17 point lead.

The ‘Cats embarked on a long, 87 yard drive that bled over into the 4th quarter but ended in a 5 yard touchdown pass to Aaron Forbes to make the score 24-14 with 12 minutes left. The ‘Cats D held them to a three-and-out and their offense took over on their on 36 yard line. They drove down to the W&M 2 yard line but failed to convert on third down and were forced to kick a FG, shaving the lead down to 7 points. The Tribe offense went three-and-out again and gave the ball back to the Wildcats but Bednarczyk couldn’t handle a 3rd downs snap and fumbled the ball back to William & Mary.

Just to complete the trifecta, the Tribe went three-and-out again and gave the Wildcats offensive another shot to tie the game with just under 2 minutes left. They drove to the W&M 36 yard line but Bednarczyk couldn’t complete passes on third and fourth down and the Tribe ran out the clock to seal the victory.

Bednarczyk finished the game with a modest 212 yards and one touchdown, but had two interceptions and a fumble. The ‘Cats didn’t have much trouble running the ball, raking up 156 yards on the ground. The Tribe only put up 232 yards of offense but averaged a whopping 17 yards per completion while forcing 4 turnovers on defense.

No doubt this is another disappointing loss for the Wildcats season, which has seen them fall from the rankings to a 4-6 record. The Wildcats will finish up the season next week at the 7-3 Delaware Blue Hens.