Flacco Looks “Elite” as Towson Downs ‘Nova


Courtesy of villanova.com

Flacco Looks “Elite” as Towson Downs ‘Nova

Nick France

In their home opener, the #10 Villanova Wildcats were unable to pull out a win against the unranked Towson Tigers, falling by a score of 45-35.

The Wildcats got off to a quick start, scoring on each of their first two drives, with TD passes to Aaron Forbes and Ryan Bell. A three-and-out by Towson in between the scores made it look like Villanova was taking over early. However, the Tigers scored 21 unanswered points in the back half of the 1st quarter. First, Towson’s Shane Simpson punched in a 13 yard rushing touchdown, followed by a catch and run of 76 yards by Shane Leatherbury for another Tiger touchdown. Villanova fumbled on the ensuing kickoff and Towson’s Troy Vincent ran it in for a 14-yard touchdown.

Villanova’s offense continued to struggle in the second quarter, and Towson continued to take advantage. Early in the second, the Tigers took the ball 92 yards in 13 plays, capped off by a Tom Flacco pass to Simpson to bring their lead up to 28-14. Another Towson touchdown by Yeedee Thaenrat brought their lead to 35-14. The Wildcats would not go down without a fight though, as they quickly drove 86 yards in just over a minute, culminating in another Ryan Bell touchdown. This score led to the half closing out with Towson in front 35-21.  

In the second half Villanova continued to fight for the lead, as Jeff Steeb made a diving interception to take the ball back on the first drive of the quarter. The Wildcat offense kept the momentum going by taking the ball down the field and scoring with a pass from Bednarczyk to McClenton. After trading punts, Towson took the ball downfield for another touchdown and extended their lead to 42-28. 

Playing down two scores, the Wildcats looked to mount a comeback in the fourth quarter. A huge fourth down conversion kept the Wildcats’ second drive of the quarter alive, and allowed Matt Gudzak to punch in a goalline score on an option play. However, Towson was able to run out the clock and nail a field goal with three minutes remaining in the game. Although Villanova took over for another drive, they were unsuccessful in scoring and the game would finish as a 45-35 loss for the Wildcats.

The Wildcats struggled on defense, as a Towson offense, which was rather weak in the first two games, flourished against the usually stout Wildcat defense. Tiger running back Shane Simpson finally showed the playmaking ability he had in his freshman season, finishing with 108 yards on 19 attempts with touchdown, as well as 30 receiving yards off 4 catches and a receiving touchdown. Tom Flacco also starred with both his arm and legs.

The Wildcats also struggled on the offensive side at times. In addition to injuries to key players Changa Hodge and Paul Grattan, time of possession hindered the Wildcat offense. Although Zach Bednarczyk had another great game with 389 yards and 4 touchdowns, the Wildcats’ drives were often cut short by bad play calls, dropped passes, or penalties. Time of possession is often a forgotten key to a game, a stat which Towson won by 11 minutes.

With the upset loss, Villanova’s record falls to 2-1, and it begins CAA conference play on the wrong foot. The Wildcats will look to bounce back in a Parent’s Weekend game next Saturday against Bucknell.