Wildcats Edged at Home by No. 11 William & Mary, 20-16
Oct. 1, 2011
VILLANOVA, Pa. - A game that featured a combined five field goals, including three in the second half that accounted for the only points after halftime, ultimately resulted in a 20-16 defeat for Villanova (1-4, 0-2 CAA) at the hands of No. 11 William & Mary (3-2, 1-1 CAA) at Villanova Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Junior kicker Mark Hamilton (Gaithersburg, Md.) extended a successful run by kicking three field goals for the Wildcats, who briefly led 16-14 early in the third quarter before the visiting Tribe kicked a pair of field goals that accounted for the game's final margin.
Hamilton has drilled six field goals in the last two games combined and dating back to last season has hit 12 consecutive attempts. He is 13-of-14 on field goal tries in his career. The scoring production on special teams and strong defense by Villanova has allowed the Wildcats to stay in the last two games despite just one offensive touchdown in both contests.
Saturday afternoon's game was a back-and-forth affair that featured five lead changes. Neither team ever led by more than four points and William & Mary secured the outcome by holding Villanova to just 200 yards of offense.
Drake Kuhn kicked a 34-yard field goal with 8:42 remaining in the third quarter to restore a 17-16 lead for the Tribe and then added a 23-yard attempt in the opening minute of the fourth quarter that made the score 20-16.
Meanwhile, the Wildcats had only two possessions in the fourth period, with those drives ending in a punt after going three-and-out early in the quarter as well as an interception with 3:13 remaining after Villanova had gone 60 yards on 11 plays and simultaneously consuming more than six minutes of clock time.
Senior quarterback Christian Culicerto (Charlotte, N.C.) was 15-of-24 for 132 yards, including a 15-yard touchdown pass to junior wide receiver Dorian Wells (West Covina, Calif.) that gave the Wildcats a 10-7 lead early in the second quarter. Wells finished the day with a game-high six catches for 59 yards.
William & Mary received touchdown runs of one yard and 22 yards from Jonathan Grimes, with each of those scores giving the Tribe the lead. His one-yard run with 2:17 to play in the opening period gave William & Mary an early 7-3 lead, while his 22-yard run with 5:49 left in the second quarter countered the Wells touchdown and gave the Tribe a 14-10 advantage.
Hamilton kicked a career-best 45-yard field goal with 1:39 remaining before halftime to pull Villanova to within 14-13 at the intermission, and then connected from 25 yards with just under three minutes into the third quarter. His first field goal, at the 7:21 mark of the first period, also was from 25 yards.
Three different Wildcats registered double digits in tackles, with junior safety Ronnie Akins (Lansdale, Pa.) making a game-high 11 tackles. Senior corner Jimmy Pitts (Montclair, N.J.) and freshman linebacker Dillon Lucas (Medford, N.J.) recorded 10 stops apiece.
Grimes led William & Mary by finishing the game with 31 carries for 137 yards and the two scores. The Tribe gained 173 yards on the ground and quarterback Michael Graham was 13-of-24 for 171 yards and an interception.
Villanova plays its next three games on the road. The first contest in that stretch is at New Hampshire next Saturday at Noon.
NOTES: Freshman linebacker Joey Harmon (Pembroke Pines, Fla.) registered his first career interception, picking off a pass by Graham early in the second quarter ... Freshman running back Jamal Abdur-Rahman (Philadelphia, Pa.) had a season-high 172 all-purpose yards, including four carries for 43 yards, one reception for 13 yards and four kickoff returns for 116 yards ... Hamilton also kicked three field goals in last week's 30-21 win over Penn ... His streak of 12 straight made field goals began at home against New Hampshire last season on November 13, 2010 ... He is 7-for-7 this season ... William & Mary is the first ranked opponent that the Wildcats have played this season ... The Tribe were the preseason favorites to win the CAA.