Football demolishes Lafayette and looks ahead to Albany



Zach Bednarczyk trots into the endzone during the University’s win over Lafayette.

Dave Jarman

The Wildcats bounced back from a hard fought loss to Temple with a dominating 59-0 victory over Lafayette last Saturday. The starters were pulled at halftime after dominating both sides of the ball. The Wildcats scored touchdowns on their first three offensive possessions, as quarterback Zach Bednarczyk was able to find his favorite target, tight end Ryan Bell, twice in the endzone on those three drives. He finished the day by completing 13 of his 15 passes for 237 yards, two passing touchdowns and a rushing score as well. He hit Bell for a 59 yard reception in the opening drive to set up the first score, as the “B-and-B action” was able to get the Wildcat offense rolling last week. Bell finished with five catches for 119 yards in addition to his two scores. The running game was established, as well. After rushing for a measly 20 yards against Temple, the Wildcats had four different running backs enter the game, and they rushed for a combined a total of 262 yards. Junior running back Aaron Forbes led the rushing attack with 11 carries for 78 yards. 

The defense pitched a shutout and did it convincingly. At halftime, they allowed two first downs and made freshman quarterback Sean O’Malley look like a rookie. Defensive back Jaquan Amos returned a 35 yard interception for a touchdown, and linebacker Keeling Hunter returned a pick 27 yards to the house. Sophomore safety Julian Williams had an interception as well. To add icing on the cake, senior receiver Taurus Phillips returned a punt for 64 yards to seal the deal. 

Now the Wildcats will turn their attention to conference play, starting with their first conference game on the road at Albany. The Great Danes are returning a number of players from last year, including quarterback Will Brunson, who looked comfortable in the pocket last week against Monmouth. The redshirt sophomore completed 17 of his 25 passes for 196 yards and a touchdown, in addition to 30 yards on the ground and another score. 

They also return junior running back Elijah Ibitokun-Hanks, who saw his first action of 2017 last week coming off of ACL surgery. Coming into the season Hanks was put on the National Performer of the Year list after he led the CAA in rushing last year with 1,388 yards. He averaged the fourth best in the FCS for yards per game with 126.2, and scored 16 touchdowns. 

As for the Albany defense, they are led by redshirt-senior linebacker Nate Hatalsky. He is a tackling machine who always runs to the football, and earned CAA defensive player of the week after recording a game high 15 tackles as a result of his efforts. 

Look for the Wildcats to try and stop Hanks from having a big day on the ground. Hanks didn’t have his best performance last year against the Wildcats, in which he only had 20 carries for 80 yards before he scored a 65-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter with the game out of reach. Brunson didn’t have the best day either against the Wildcats last year either, as he was put on his back seven times behind the line of scrimmage of the total nine sacks against the Wildcats. While the Wildcats’ focus will be stopping the run, they should also keep an eye on receivers Jerod Diggs, who caught five passes for 112 yards against Monmouth, and Donovan McDonald, who can impact the return game after he had six returns for 94 yards, in addition to a receiving touchdown last week.   

Starting conference play on the road is tough, but it’s the path the Wildcats will have to take in order to win the CAA championship. Kickoff begins at 7 p.m. in Casey Stadium.