Move to FBS good for University


After a heartbreaking loss to city rival Temple last week, the ‘Cats bounced back by dominating the Lehigh Mountain Hawks, shutting them out on their way to a 35-0 victory. 

‘Nova’s stingy defense forced three turnovers and limited the Lehigh offense to only eight first downs, while five different players scored for the ‘Cats.

Senior running back Aaron Ball opened the scoring with 8:26 left in the first quarter with an 11-yard rush, capping off a strong possession where the ‘Cats drove 54 yards in five plays.

Despite turning the ball over four times in the first half, the ‘Cats still managed to score three touchdowns during the half.

The second score of the game came with 0:20 remaining in the second quarter, when sophomore wide receiver Dorian Wells caught a 39-yard pass from Chris Whitney.

Wells reached a new career high in the game with 99 receiving yards on three catches, accounting for over half of the Wildcats receiving yards.

The majority of Villanova’s offense came through the ground game, as the team racked up over 300 yards of rushing on the day.

Ball led the team in rushing with 103 yards, while Matt Szczur ran for 95 yards on the day. Angelo Babbaro gained 70 yards on the ground, and Dustin Thomas, Aaron Conway, Wells and Ransford Quarrie combined for the rest of the rushing offense. 

Whitney also scrambled for 27 yards, while completing 8 of 13 passes for 129 yards.

The ‘Cats kept up a steady barrage of offense all day long, scoring twice in the first quarter and once in each of the other three.

After the two touchdowns in the first quarter, Babbaro ran it in from eight yards out with 2:15 left in the second quarter, giving Villanova a 21-0 lead at halftime.

The offense continued to play well in the second half, scoring a touchdown in both quarters and managing to not turn the ball over a single time.

With 10:11 left in the third quarter, senior tight end Chris Farmer caught a seven-yard pass to extend the lead.

The ‘Cats finished off the scoring with just 1:20 left in the fourth quarter, when Ransford ran it in from one yard out.

On the defensive side of the ball, ‘Nova completely dominated the Mountain Hawks, limiting them to 29 yards rushing and 186 yards passing for the entire game. The defense managed three interceptions, coming from junior Kelvin Johnson, sophomore Ronnie Akins and freshman Rakim Cox.

For all three players, it was the first interception of their Villanova careers.

Senior Fred Maldonado led the team with seven tackles and senior Marquis Kirkland recorded Villanova’s only sack of the day, dropping Lehigh quarterback Chris Lum for a nine-yard loss.

By the end of the game, the Wildcats had built up a large enough lead to bring in some of the new additions to the team. 

Ransford ran for the last touchdown of the game, and freshman quarterback Dustin Thomas made his first completion for Villanova, while also rushing four times for 31 yards. Freshman punter Mark Hamilton also saw some action, kicking a 65-yard punt in the fourth quarter.

This victory marked the fourth straight win for the Wildcats over the Mountain Hawks, and Head Coach Andy Talley improved his career record against the Mountain Hawks to 5-1.

This was also only the third shutout by Villanova in the last 10 years and the second in the last two years.

The Wildcats’ next game will be this Saturday against Towson at 3:30 p.m. at home. This will be the first conference game for the ‘Cats.