Babbaro rallies team, rushes for career-best

Kate McAvey

As the snow spiraled down and the fans shivered in the stands, the weather conditions were ideal for running back Angelo Babbaro. Rushing for a career-high 148 yards on just 13 carries with a pair of touchdowns, Babbaro had the game of his life to help carry the Villanova football team to the FCS semifinals.

Babbaro was in the winning mindset before he stepped out onto the field on Saturday. Prior to the game, Babbaro wrote a letter to the rest of his teammates, and Head Coach Andy Talley placed the letter in every player’s locker. It was Babbaro’s words of advice that the team had ringing in their ears when they dominated UNH.

“He is a quiet guy who doesn’t say too much,” Talley said. “He wrote a beautiful letter, and he put his thoughts into action.”

The weather conditions were exactly what Babbaro was used to after growing up in Canfield, Ohio, where snow is not a rare occurrence.

“In high school I think I played in five games like this,” he said, “I felt at home today. [The weather] didn’t really bother me.”

Maybe it was the cold conditions that he was used to, or maybe it was the winning attitude he had going into the game, but either way Babbaro was prepared to play and defeat UNH.

“There wasn’t really anything special we did in practice to emphasize the run against them,” he said. “For me, there was a special emphasis on having a good game because I didn’t play against them earlier. We just wanted to iron out the stuff we struggled with last time, and our offensive line did a great job of doing that even as banged up as they were coming into the game.”

Babbaro’s first touchdown came in the last minute of the first quarter, bringing the score to 17-0. He ran 25 yards into the end zone to lengthen the ‘Cats’ lead. Babbaro’s second touchdown on the day came at the end of the third quarter to increase the lead to 39-0. In total, Babbaro ran the ball a total of 13 times and tallied his first career game with over 100 yards.

It was a team effort to step off that snow-covered field victorious, but Babbaro showed how to rise to the top and lead a team to the semifinals.