The final score might not have been the same, but there was certainly a lot of similarities as last year’s ‘Battle of the Blue.’
Villanova and Delaware met once again to finish the regular season, with the Wildcats entering as the underdog and in their final game of the year. Meanwhile, Delaware was one of the top teams in the CAA entering Saturday and needed a win to bolster its postseason resume and likely solidify a spot in the playoffs. A loss would be devastating for the Blue Hens’ hope to extend their year.
Just like last year, when Villanova played spoiler to Delaware’s season, the ‘Cats were able to do it again. This time around, it was a 42-21 finish, with Villanova winning in lopsided fashion yet again.
With the win, the Wildcats have now bested the Blue Hens in seven-straight rivalry meetings—dating back to 2011.
Aaron Forbes led another heroic performance on the ground, rushing for a game-high 138 yards and three touchdowns off of 24 carries.
The senior running back decimated the Delaware defense last season and did the same in his final game of the year. It was the emphatic exclamation point the Wildcats needed on their dominant day, in which they generated 459 yards of total offense.
After giving up a touchdown to Delaware to start the game, Villanova responded with 21 unanswered points to take a big lead over the Blue Hens. The Wildcats entered halftime with tons of momentum, pushing Delaware back on its heels with a 21-7 lead at the break.
However, the Blue Hens made some key adjustments at half to get their offense going again. They scored a pair of touchdowns in the third quarter, topped off by a big 43-yard touchdown reception for Joe Walker.
Villanova was able to score one touchdown in between the two Delaware scores, but the long scoring play for Walker and the Blue Hens made it a close 28-21 game entering the fourth quarter.
The Wildcats responded quickly with a touchdown of their own. Tight end Ryan Bell reeled in a touchdown pass from Zach Bednarczyk after the Wildcats flew downfield with very few issues.
Then, later in the fourth, Villanova put the game out of reach with one last Forbes touchdown.
More importantly, the Wildcats were able to keep the Blue Hens off the scoreboard in the fourth quarter, as they elevated their play at a crucial time to solidify the win—and the upset.
Aside from Forbes, senior Matt Gudzak scored for the ‘Cats. Bednarczyk finished the day with a 12-for-22 performance at quarterback, throwing for 269 yards and a touchdown. He also ran for a score on the ground.
Bell accounted for the Wildcats’ lone passing touchdown, but it was also a nice game for Jarrett McClenton, who had a team-high 94 receiving yards off of just two receptions.
For Delaware, DeJoun Lee led the Blue Hens with 98 yards and a pair of touchdowns off of 14 carries. The Blue Hens will be on edge, as they wait for the FCS playoff announcement and see how the rest of the CAA plays out. They finish the regular season 7-4 overall and 5-3 in the CAA.
As for Villanova, it concludes the season with a 5-6 record and a 2-6 showing in conference play.