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Wildcats Run Past Lehigh 38-17 in Home Opener

Sept. 12, 2009

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VILLANOVA, Pa. - Led by an unstoppable ground game, Villanova (2-0) produced two 100-yard rushers and cruised to a 38-17 win over Lehigh (0-2) on Saturday night in its home opener at Villanova Stadium. The Wildcats ran for 310 yards and defeated the Mountain Hawks in their first home game for the second straight year.

Junior quarterback Chris Whitney ran for a career-high 130 yards and junior wide receiver Matt Szczur tallied his first career 100-yard rushing game to lead the Villanova offense. Whitney had 14 carries for 130 yards and a touchdown and also completed 11-of-16 passes for 106 yards and two scores.v

Whitney ran in for a 21-yard score on the game's opening drive to get the Wildcats started, and Szczur broke free for a 75-yard run to the Lehigh two-yard line on the next drive to set up an eventual 29-yard field goal by redshirt freshman kicker Nick Yako that made the score 10-0 with 5:17 remaining in the first quarter.

Villanova stretched the margin to 24-7 at halftime and maintained their lead throughout the second half. Whitney threw touchdown passes to junior running back Angelo Babbaro and sophomore wide receiver Norman White in the game.

In addition to his 103-yard rushing performance, Szczur caught four passes for 35 yards and had a 16-yard kickoff return. Babbaro caught three passes for 40 yards.

Lehigh got on the board with 9:33 left in the second quarter on a 1-yard run by Jaren Walker that capped an 11-play drive. The Mountain Hawks managed just 55 yards on the ground as the Wildcats finished the game with a 417-252 edge in total yards. Starting quarterback JB Clark completed 20-of-31 passes for 130 yards and Chris Lum was 7-of-11 for 67 yards and a touchdown. Craig Zurn caught a game-high six passes for 72 yards.



A 10-7 lead for Villanova late in the second quarter quickly expanded when the Wildcats registered back-to-back touchdowns just 16 seconds apart. Babbaro caught a 13-yard pass from Whitney with 4:54 left in the opening half to finish a nine-play, 60-yard drive. On the next Lehigh possession, redshirt freshman Marlon Johnson returned a fumble recovery 19 yards for a touchdown with 4:38 left in the period.

Johnson's fumble recovery came on the only turnover of the game and marked the second straight game that Villanova returned a fumble for a touchdown.

In the second half, the Mountain Hawks scored first on a 41-yard field goal by Tom Randazza with 10:02 left in the third quarter. The Wildcats answered just over a minute later with a 39-yard scoring run from junior running back Aaron Ball and White had a 14-yard reception for a touchdown with 13:54 left in the fourth period. Ball finished with 57 yards on nine carries and the one score.

Lehigh scored the game's final points with 1:05 left on a 2-yard touchdown pass Chris Lum to Alex Wojdowski.

Next up for Villanova is a game against Penn at Franklin Field next Saturday at 7 p.m.