Wildcats remain undefeated at home on Senior Night

Frank Scicchitano

The football team played host to Albany on Saturday in what was the final regular season home game of the year. 

The traditional senior night ceremonies took place prior to kickoff as 25 Wildcats were honored for their great careers at Villanova.

The Wildcats (9-2, 6-1 CAA) showed everyone in attendance why they entered the game at the top of the conference in total scoring offense. 

Behind season-high 393 total yards and five total touchdowns from junior quarterback John Robertson, Villanova raced to a 48-31 victory over the visiting Great Danes (6-5, 2-5 CAA).

Junior Kevin Gulyas was a big-play threat for the Wildcats, hauling in two touchdowns and totaling 106 receiving yards on just three receptions. 

The 5-11 wide receiver had scoring grabs of 62 and 37 yards and finished with an average of 35 yards per reception.

The two passing touchdown passes give Robertson a total of 31 for the season, and he finished the night, completing 15 passes on 21 attempts for 225 yards. 

The dual-threat quarterback has already firmly planted his name in the school’s record books, as he is second on the all-time list in total offense, and is poised to make a run for the top spot before his career is over.

While the Wildcats were efficient and dangerous through the air, their real offensive domination came in the running game. 

Robertson led the way with 168 yards and three touchdowns on 22 carries, while senior running back Kevin Monangai finished the night with 101 yards and a touchdown on 19 attempts.

Behind an experienced and talented offensive line, Villanova amassed 359 rushing yards as a team. It is the fourth time this season the Wildcats’ ground attack has reached the 300-yard mark in a game, and it is their second-highest total, behind a 364-yard performance last month against Morgan State.

Senior Vince Kowalski is one of the anchors of the offensive line and has been among the most consistent linemen in the CAA throughout his career. 

Along with a number of other experienced and talented blockers up front, Kowalski has been a major component of Villanova’s offensive dominance this season.

“Throughout the season, our line’s chemistry has dramatically improved,” said Kowalski when asked about the unit’s recent successes. “Every week we grow more and more comfortable with each other and that is really showing in our games.”

Kowalski also noted that the offensive line has been able to develop a strong mindset, knowing that every opponent was bringing its “A-game” because of ’Nova’s high national ranking. 

That was no different on Saturday as Albany came into Villanova Stadium looking to spoil the Wildcats’ home finale. Albany received the ball to begin the game and made its way into Villanova territory before junior safety Cameron McCurry halted the Great Danes by forcing a fumble that was recovered by sophomore cornerback Jason Ceneus. 

The Wildcats’ offensive line then got right to work as it cleared the way for an 80-yard scoring drive that ended with Robertson’s first touchdown run of the game.

Albany answered with a touchdown run of its own, but could not stop Villanova’s high-powered offense. 

Robertson found Gulyas for a 37-yard touchdown to put the Wildcats back on top, 14-7.

Robertson added a 22-yard touchdown scamper early in the second quarter to extend Villanova’s lead. In the closing minutes of the first half, Albany’s punter pinned the Wildcats inside their own one-yard line. 

The offense responded to the challenge with an impressive 13-play drive that covered the length of the field and ended with another Robertson touchdown, this time from two yards out.

The Wildcats controlled the tempo in the first half, as they grabbed 19 first downs and gave their defense plenty of time to stay fresh on the sidelines.

The dangerous Robertson-Gulyas connection made its second appearance early in the third quarter as the pair capitalized on a successful play-action for a 62-yard touchdown. 

Monangai found the end zone on Villanova’s next possession to make the score 42-10 and give his team its largest lead of the game. 

Senior running back Austin Medley added a 12-yard touchdown run later in the fourth quarter to help thwart Albany’s attempt at a comeback. 

The Great Danes had cut into the lead and brought themselves within two scores before Medley’s touchdown seemingly put the game out of reach.

Despite, allowing 31 points, the Wildcats’ defense performed well by allowing only 77 rushing yards and forcing two turnovers. 

McCurry, who forced a fumble early in the game, finished the night with seven tackles while junior linebacker Dylan Lucas led the team with 11 of his own.

Villanova will wrap up the regular season this Saturday against rival Delaware. It will travel to Newark looking to cement its position as a top-eight seed in the FCS playoffs and possibly secure a first-round bye in the tournament. 

Kickoff for this conference matchup is scheduled for noon.