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Defense is Stifling as Wildcats Stop Lehigh, 35-0

Sept. 11, 2010

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BETHLEHEM, Pa. - Five different players scored touchdowns and No. 2 Villanova (1-1) ran for 330 yards in a 35-0 victory over Lehigh (1-1) on Saturday afternoon at Goodman Stadium. A strong effort defensively for the Wildcats forced three turnovers and limited the Mountain Hawks to just eight first downs in the shutout victory for Villanova, which had at least one touchdown in every quarter of the game.

The defense was on the field for less than 23 minutes of clock time in the entire game for the Wildcats, but in that time registered three interceptions and broke up five other passes. Lehigh was held to just 29 net rushing yards and did not gain a single first down on the ground all afternoon. Villanova, meanwhile, had 22 first downs rushing and 27 total en route to the win.

Offensively, the Wildcats built a 21-0 lead by halftime behind touchdown runs from senior running backs Aaron Ball (Los Angeles, Calif.) and Angelo Babbaro (Canfield, Ohio) and a scoring pass from senior quarterback Chris Whitney (Warminster, Pa.) to sophomore wide receiver Dorian Wells (West Covina, Calif.).

That scoring production came despite the fact that four of the eight Villanova possessions in the first half ended with a turnover, including two interceptions thrown by Whitney and a lost fumble. Ball opened the scoring at the 8:26 mark of the first quarter with an 11-yard run to finish a quick five-play drive that consumed 54 yards. The drive started with good field position at the Wildcats 46-yard line after an 18-yard punt return from senior wide receiver Matt Szczur (Erma, N.J.).



From there Villanova was off to the races and when all was said and done Ball, Szczur and Babbaro had combined to rush for 265 yards on the afternoon, 50 more yards than the total offense accumulated by the Mountain Hawks.

Ball carried 20 times for 102 yards, Szczur finished with 95 yards on 12 rushes and Babbaro had 11 carries for 68 yards to lead the Wildcats offensive attack. Whitney finished the day 8-of-13 for 129 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. In addition to finding Wells in the end zone, he also hit senior tight end Chris Farmer (Philadelphia, Pa.) for a seven-yard score early in the third quarter.

Freshman running back Ransford Quarrie (Hamilton, N.J.) generated the final points of the contest with a one-yard touchdown run late in the fourth quarter. Villanova was able to get some of its younger players into the game towards the end and freshman quarterback Dustin Thomas (Ventnor, N.J.) made his collegiate debut for the Wildcats. He carried the ball four times for 31 yards and completed 1-of-2 passes for six yards. Sophomore punter Mark Hamilton (Gaithersburg, Md.) also appeared and drilled a 65-yard punt and a 59-yard kickoff.

On the defensive end, junior defensive back Kelvin Johnson (Philadelphia, Pa.), sophomore defensive back Ronnie Akins (Lansdale, Pa.) and redshirt freshman defensive lineman Rakim Cox (San Diego, Calif.) each had an interception for Villanova and senior defensive back Fred Maldonado (West Chester, Pa.) made a team-best seven tackles.

As a team the Wildcats had 495 yards of total offense, as well as possession of the ball for more than 37 minutes in the contest.

Villanova plays its home opener next Saturday against Towson at 3:30 p.m. That contest will also mark the first game of the year against a CAA Football opponent for the Wildcats.