Fresh off a 34-14 victory over No. 13 Colgate, the Villanova Wildcats were feeling good after they were victorious in the first game of the college football season. The past few seasons have been quite a roller-coaster for the Wildcats, switching between multiple quarterbacks and never seeming to string multiple good games together. Transfer quarterback Daniel Smith from Campbell got the nod to start and proved himself to be effective controlling the office.
Speaking to the media on Monday, head coach Mark Ferrante addressed the crowded quarterback position and praised the new quarterback.
“He’s done a really good job picking up the system - I think what has helped him to compete and earn that starting spot was bringing in [Offensive Coordinator] Chris Boden. The terminology has changed, but the overall scheme and the implementation not so much. Everyone is starting and learning Chris’s terminology.”
Ferrante added, “We felt that Dan picked things up and was a little further along after this summer...we gave him the nod and we were very happy with his production.”
The defense got the game started on the right foot, forcing two three-and-outs before forcing two consecutive turnovers. Malik Fisher forced a fumble that led to an 18 yard pass from Smith and on the ensuing Colgate drive Jaquan Amos took one to the house with a pick-six.
“We were able to gain some momentum with those two back to back turnovers that lead to scores, and we were able to maintain that for the rest of the game,” Ferrante said.
Ferrante praised the ‘Cats defense for getting the momentum going after the ‘Cats offense had two stalled drives.
“Our defense held them to two consecutive three and outs and our offense drove a little but got called back because of penalties, so that [turnovers] was a big momentum swing.”
Although Colgate proved to be a force to reckon with last season, Ferrante said he and the team weren’t too worried about it. “You never know going into an opening game, especially with a team that you haven’t played in a while. Every year is a different year.”
He was impressed with the energy and physicality his team brought going into the opening quarter. “It’s been nine months since we’ve played against another opponent and they were excited to get out there and play someone else, and they came ready.”
After grabbing a 27-0 lead going into the half, there was no looking back for the ‘Cats and they held on to a twenty point victory.
The ‘Cats get a week off before their home opener against Lehigh on September 7 at 6:00 P.M.