After suffering its first loss of the season, the Villanova Wildcats rebounded in a dominant fashion by downing the Bucknell Bison in a 49-7 lopsided win on Saturday night—a game that was seemingly decided early on.
The Wildcats rattled off four touchdowns in just 12 plays from scrimmage in the first quarter, scoring spree that was highlighted by a 90-yard touchdown pass from Zach Bednarczyk to Josh McGrigg—the longest touchdown through the air in program history.
With Villanova deep into its own territory, Bednarczyk found an open McGrigg, who caught the ball around midfield. From there, he blazed out of the clutches of the Bucknell defense and into the end zone. It broke a previous record set by John Robertson and Kevin Gulyas, who connected for an 87-yard touchdown in 2014.
It seemed like a great way to close the first quarter, after touchdown runs by Aaron Forbes and Matt Gudzak, but the Wildcats ended up racking up one more scoring drive before the second quarter. 23 seconds after the record-breaking touchdown, Adeyemi DaSilva ran it in from 29 yards out to give Villanova a 28-0 lead with 2:10 left in the opening quarter.
“We talked to the guys all week and a lot of people asked me the question during the week of how our guys were going to respond,” Villanova head coach Mark Ferrante said, of last week’s loss. ”That was a question I had for my team and I think they responded in a really nice way. I’m proud of our team and the way they came out and practiced all week, and the way we performed on the field today. This is a great way to go out with winning all of our non-conference games.”
The Wildcats continued to apply the pressure onto Bucknell in the opening half, as they added two more touchdowns. First, Forbes scored again, punching it in from one-yard out for his second touchdown of the game. Minutes after that, Bednarczyk had his first rushing touchdown of the game, with just seconds remaining in the first half.
Bucknell would score its lone touchdown midway through the second quarter, capitalizing on a Villanova miscue when attempting to return a punt. The Bison set up deep into Villanova territory, and Bison quarterback Logan Bitikofer called his own number a few plays later for a touchdown.
The Wildcats took a 42-7 lead going into halftime. While the second half, was quieter in a scoring sense, it was a very productive day for the Wildcats’ offense.
Villanova outgained Bucknell, 609-128. It was a nicely balanced effort for the ‘Cats, with 302 of 609 yards coming on the ground.
Early in the fourth quarter, junior running back D’Andre Pollard accounted for the final—and only—touchdown of the second half—when he ran the ball four yards into the end zone.
Bednarczyk completed 11-of-17 pass attempts for 281 yards and a touchdown. He also had one interception. McGrigg, a sophomore, enjoyed a career performance. Aside from nabbing his first—and record-breaking—touchdown as a Wildcat, he racked up 187 yards on just five receptions.
As for Bucknell, Bitikofer went 11-for-24, passing for 87 yards and three interceptions. Freshman running back Jared Cooper had a team-high 37 yards on 13 carries.
Villanova will refocus on conference play next week, as it heads on the road to take on Stony Brook next Saturday. Kickoff is scheduled for 6 p.m. ET.