‘Cats snap Penn’s winning record

James Evans

The Wildcats snapped the longest winning streak in Division I-AA football on Saturday as they defeated Pennsylvania 16-13. The No. 11 Wildcats walked into a game against a team that hadn’t lost in nearly two years and had a 17 game winning streak, but the ‘Cats were able to hold on and come away with the victory. The last loss for Pennsylvania was also against Villanova, on Oct. 10, 2002, at Villanova.

The first quarter was a back and forth battle between the Quakers and the Wildcats. However, both big plays came from Villanova players. The Quakers on their second series had driven the ball all the way down to the six-yard line, but had to settle for a field goal. However, what was supposed to be a guaranteed three points for UPenn was denied by Darrell Adams’ hand. Adams burst through the line and was able to get a hand on Evan Nolan’s field goal attempt.

Then on UPenn’s next drive, they were once again stymied, this time by a fumble. On a third down and 13 yards to go, UPenn’s Sam Matthews took the hand off from Pat McDermott. Matthews was quickly met in the backfield by Jamil Butler, who forced him to fumble allowing Butler recovered the ball to stop UPenn’s drive.

At the start of the second quarter, the ‘Cats took advantage of their second possession and made quick work of it. Marvin Burroughs threw a 45-yard pass to wide receiver Chris Polite, who brought the ball all the way down to the two yard line. Two plays later, Terry Butler took a one yard plunge and put Villanova up 7-0.

Then on the ensuing kickoff UPenn took a penalty and started with the ball inside the 10 yard line. On their first play, the Quaker’s Pat McDermott dropped back, and was hit by Butler, forcing another fumble. McDermott recovered in the end zone giving the Wildcats the safety.

The teams went into halftime with the Wildcats leading 9-0. However, it wasn’t without some fireworks. Once again UPenn drove down the field and was able to get the ball inside the 10 yard line, but failed to score a touchdown and had to settle for a field goal.

However, what again should have been a sure field goal, was not, as this time Terrance Reaves was able to bust through the lane and block Nolan’s field goal attempt.

Nolan’s troubles continued as UPenn once again was able to drive down the field and got the ball to the 10-yard line.

However, McDermott was sacked by Terence Taylor, spotting the ball at the 20 yard line. Nolan came on and this time hit the left upright.

The start of the third quarter saw Villanova receive the opening kick off and drove 80 yards for a touchdown. It was capped off by Marvin Burroughs who ran in from seven yards out and put the ‘Cats ahead 16-0.

UPenn scored twice in the last six minutes to make it a close game, but an onside kick was recovered by Villanova and they were able to run out most of the clock before giving it back to UPenn deep in its territory. There were only 12 seconds left and the Quakers were unable to drive the field.

The next game is this Saturday at 6 p.m. against New Hampshire.