Villanova/Lafayette Post-Game Notes
Sept. 16, 2017
- Villanova won its home opener for the sixth straight year and the 26th time in the last 33 seasons since the Wildcats became an FCS member in 1985. In addition to the success in home openers, Villanova has now won 38 of its last 50 home games overall since the start of the 2009 season. The team is now 240-99-5 (.705) all-time at Villanova Stadium.
- Lafayette made its first-ever trip to Villanova Stadium, as the previous five meetings in the all-time series all took place in Easton. The teams had not faced each other since 1920 prior to last season, and the Wildcats have now won each of the two recent meetings (31-14 last year). Lafayette won the first four games between the two schools, which took place between 1898 and 1920.
- Villanova improved to 31-4 against the Patriot League since becoming an FCS member in 1985.
- Dating back to the start of the 2011 season, the Wildcats are 32-3 when they score at least 30 points in a game. That record includes nine consecutive victories when scoring 30 points or more, with two of those wins coming this season.
- On the flip side, the Villanova defense recorded a shutout for the third straight season and the fourth time in the last five years. The last Wildcats shutout was a 35-0 win over Rhode Island on October 8 of last season. The other recent shutouts were 37-0 over Albany (2015) and 45-0 over Rhode Island (2013). Tonight’s 59-0 win over Lafayette is Villanova’s largest margin of victory in a shutout since a 64-0 win over West Chester on August 28, 1997.
- The 59 points scored by the Wildcats in tonight’s game is the most points the team has scored since a 63-24 win over William & Mary on October 6, 2007. The last time Villanova reached the 50-point plateau prior to tonight’s game was against Fordham in a 50-6 win on September 6, 2014.
- Villanova scored three touchdowns on defense and special teams in the 59-0 win. Both defensive touchdowns – the first two that the Wildcats have scored this year – came on interception returns for scores. The special teams touchdown was on a punt return for a touchdown in the second quarter (more on both the pick-six touchdowns and the punt return touchdown in the individual notes). The last special teams touchdown scored by Villanova was on a punt return for a score in the 2014 season opener at Syracuse. The last time the Wildcats had two defensive touchdowns in a game was last season, also against Lafayette. In the 31-14 win last season, Villanova had both a fumble return and an interception return for scores.
- Villanova had 63 players see action during the game.
- Villanova finished the game with 505 yards of total offense while allowing just 77 total yards to Lafayette. The last time the Wildcats allowed fewer than 100 total yards to an opponent was on November 9, 2013 when the team gave up just 88 yards in a 45-0 win at Rhode Island. Lafayette’s 77 yards were the fewest allowed by Villanova since August 28, 1997 when West Chester had just 26 total yards.
- Lafayette rushed for a net total of minus-12 yards on 17 carries. The last time the Wildcats held an opponent to a negative rushing total was on December 5, 2009 when Villanova gave up minus-66 yards to New Hampshire in the quarterfinal round of the FCS playoffs.
- Villanova continues to be dominant stopping the run. Over their last five games – including two playoff games in 2016 and the first three games of the 2017 campaign – the Wildcats have held their opponents to a total of just 179 rushing yards. Opposing teams have been held to 1.6 yards per carry in the five-game stretch. Through three games this season, Villanova has limited its opponents to 145 total rushing yards and 2.0 yards per carry.
- Since the start of the 2015 season, the Wildcats defense has given up fewer than 20 points 13 times in 27 total games. The 13 games allowing fewer than 20 points includes three shutouts and five additional contests where the other team scored in the single digits.
- Senior tight end Ryan Bell had a career-high 119 receiving yards on just five catches. He tallied his second career 100-yard receiving game, and was well on his way to his new career high when he had a 59-yard reception on Villanova’s first pass play of the game (the 59-yard catch tied a career long). Bell caught touchdown passes of four yards and 37 yards in the game.
- Senior Taurus Phillips had a 64-yard punt return for a touchdown early in the second quarter. It was only the third punt return touchdown scored by the Wildcats since the program became an FCS member in 1985. The other two punt returns for touchdowns since then were both by Poppy Livers, one in 2012 at Georgia State and one in 2014 at Syracuse. Incredibly, Villanova had not had a punt return for a touchdown at home since Willie Sydnor had a 64-yard return for a score against Massachusetts on September 15, 1979.
- Freshman cornerback Jaquan Amos and sophomore linebacker Keeling Hunter each had interception returns for touchdowns in tonight’s win. The last time the Wildcats defense had two pick-sixes in a game was at Delaware on November 17, 2012. The interceptions by Amos and Hunter were both the first of their careers, as well as the first two passes picked off by the Villanova defense this season.
- Junior quarterback Zach Bednarczyk went 13-of-15 for 237 yards and two touchdowns while playing only the first half of the game. He also had four rushes for 19 yards and a score, with his four-yard touchdown run less than three minutes into the game opening the scoring. Bednarczyk also rushed for a two-point conversion in the second quarter. It was the second time in his career that he scored on a two-point rush, with the first time coming in his debut under center against Delaware on September 19, 2015.