Wow, what a game. It feels like it's been a while since I was standing over a live stream of a Villanova Wildcats football game, but that's exactly what happened yesterday as John Robertson led a game-winning drive to defeat William & Mary 35-31. It was a massive road win, but not without its faults.
It wasn't the 'Cats' best game, nor the prettiest, but great teams win these games. The fact that it was on the road during Homecoming Weekend makes it all the more impressive. At one point in the third quarter I started to talk myself in to how a loss wouldn't be the worst thing for this team. That was a stupid though - winning was so much better.
Here are your 'Winners & Sinners' from yesterday's massive victory.
John Robertson - Look out, Robertson looks like he is over the hip-pointer. He rushed the ball 18 times for 63 yards and 2 TDs, and threw for another 267 through the air along with 2 more TDs. The game-winning drive more than likely sealed the Walter Payton Award for the junior if Villanova can finish off the year without a loss.
Kevin Monangai - I certainly didn't expect the gameplan to involve that much rushing, but Monangai gave Andy Talley no choice by averaging 4.6 yards per carry and notching 2 touchdowns on the day. With Austin Medley back in action and Gary Underwood continuing his effective play, Monangai stepped up and carried the rushing game.
Clay Horne - The much-maligned wide receiver has steadily been improving his play in recent weeks and came up big on Saturday. Both of his catches went for big yardage, and it could have been him with the game-winning TD if Robertson hadn't overthrown.
Kevin Gulyas - He recovered from a drop early in the game and secured his only catch for the game-winning touchdown. He did well to shake a defender and get in for the touchdown.
Don Cherry - A career-high 16 tackles in addition to his ninth sack of the season. He also forced a fumble in the red zone to stop a Tribe drive. His All-American campaign continues to pick up steam.
3rd Down Defense - Nominated by sjkqw, and I concur. I don't have the official statistics, but when they needed a stop - especially in the second half - they tended to make it happen. John Robertson wouldn't get the chance to win that game without his defense getting him the ball back.
Collin Linden John Hinchen - My video feed jumped, but it looked like a bad snap to John Hinchen which resulted in the Tribe getting great field position and Ailurophile has alerted me that it was a clean snap, but mishandled by Hinchen. Hinchen did a decent job recovering and getting a kick off, but special teams errors continue to look like the potential Achilles heel of this team.
Anybody *trying* to cover Tre McBride - He's one of the best WRs in the country, but Villanova was the first team all year to let him loose. Their was a blueprint out there to follow, and it wasn't executed. It felt more like it was down to scheme than player execution, but McBride was consistently open all day and made the 'Cats pay to the tune of 11 catches for 209 yards and 2 touchdowns.
The pass rush - 'Nova seemed to get some mild pressure, but nothing was sustained. Steve Cluley, who TFTribe himself wasn't high on, looked like he could be an NFL Draft pick yesterday. He had way too much time to survey the field, and when there was pressure, the 'Nova D rarely got home to bring him down. This feels like an aberration, as it's been one of the stronger points on defense so far this season.