Wildcats throttle Quakers in first half, improve winning-streak to three

Nick Fattori

Junior quarterback John Robertson threw for 230 yards and four touchdowns, all in the first half, as the Wildcats thrashed their city rivals Penn, 41-7, at Franklin Field last Saturday. With the win Villanova improves to 3-1, while Penn is now 0-2.

“We strive to get off to a fast start every game,” said Head Coach Andy Talley. “Penn is not a team you want to leave hanging around because they can make your life miserable.”

The ’Cats scored all their points in the first 23 minutes, while also scoring the first 34 points of the game. Robertson’s touchdown throws went to four different receivers, capped off by a 66-yard strike to junior wide receiver Kevin Gulyas.

Gulyas had a career day, hauling in five passes for 123 yards and a score. Junior running back Gary Underwood also rushed for a career high 93 yards and two scores on only six carries.

The day looked like it would be an easy one for the Wildcats after they proceeded to march 99 yards down the field and score after being pinned on their one yard line to take a 14-0 lead early in the first quarter.

As a whole, the offense moved the ball at will throughout the first half. With the game out of hand even before halftime, many of the starters were pulled before the start of the third quarter.  

The ’Nova offense racked up 567 yards in total offense, with 320 coming on the ground. Five different players rushed for at least 45 yards for Villanova, with Underwood leading the way. Talley continued to play cautiously with Robertson and avoided running him too many times with his broken left hand. He only rushed nine times for 45 yards during this game.

“We normally try to establish the running game and run the ball 45 times a game,” Talley said. “Those two guys [Underwood and senior running back Kevin Monangai] are tremendous one-two punch.”

On the other side, Penn was unable to get anything going on offense. With Villanova’s defense depleted due to injury, the reserves stepped up big. Sophomore and freshmen linebackers Austin Calitro and Ed Shockley were one and two on the team in tackles with eight and seven respectively. 

The defense wrecked havoc all day and stifled Penn’s usually potent offense. Sophomore quarterback Alek Torgersen was only able to throw for 180 yards and also threw two picks. As a team the Quakers were only able to muster 273 total yards of offense.

Their lone bright spot of the day was a 67 yard touchdown run for senior running back Kyle Wilcox in the second quarter. 

The only concern of the day from ’Nova’s point of view came from the kicking game, once again. Senior kicker Chris Gough missed another extra point, while missing a 34 yard field goal. 

“It’s just been a little bit of a problem for us this year,” Talley said. “I am just hoping that it comes around, because we’re going to be in situations where we need three points at a critical time. Syracuse is the perfect example.”

With the last three games being blowouts it has not mattered much, but come playoff time this could be the Wildcat’s downfall. Gough and freshman kicker Steve Weyler have combined to miss four extra points, as well as go only three of seven on field goals. 

The ’Cats will look to keep up their hot streak on Saturday as they visit Maine. Game time is slated for 12:30 p.m.