Oct. 6, 2012
VILLANOVA, Pa.--It looked early on like the two teams would trade scores back and forth but ultimately Villanova (4-2, 2-1 CAA) saw its four-game winning streak come to an end in a 28-17 loss to Richmond (4-2, 2-1 CAA) at Villanova Stadium on Saturday evening. The score was tied 14-14 in the second quarter but the Spiders outscored the Wildcats by a 14-3 margin in the second half to decide the outcome.
Redshirt freshman quarterback John Robertson (Paramus, N.J.) racked up a career-high 425 yards of total offense and Villanova established a season high with 460 total yards. At the same time however, the Wildcats also turned the ball over four times and were stuck spinning their wheels offensively for the final two-plus periods of the game. Robertson threw for 308 yards and ran for 117 yards, marking the first time in a single game that he has surpassed 300 passing yards and 100 yards on the ground.
Midway through the second quarter Robertson threw a 72-yard touchdown pass to junior wide receiver Joe Price (Havertown, Pa.) on the very first play of a Villanova possession and the Wildcats took a 14-7 lead with 8:14 remaining before halftime. After that the Wildcats were limited to just three points the rest of the way, with those coming on a 21-yard field goal by junior kicker Mark Hamilton (Gaithersburg, Md.) with 10:04 to play in the game.
By the time Hamilton kicked that field goal Richmond had gone ahead to stay, first tying the score at 14-14 on a 45-yard run by Jovan Smith 5:40 before the intermission and later taking a 21-14 lead when quarterback John Laub threw a 19-yard scoring pass to Stephen Barnette with 5:41 to play in the third quarter.
The deficit was trimmed to 21-17 on the field goal by Hamilton and in the closing minutes Villanova twice got the ball back while it was still a one-possession game. Those drives started with 7:50 and 3:18 to play, respectively, but the Wildcats went three-and-out on the first drive and threw an interception on the first play of their next possession.
Robertson accounted for more than 92 percent of the total offense for Villanova and finished the night 24-of-38 through the air with one touchdown pass and the three interceptions. He also averaged 6.5 yards on his 18 carries, including a 41-yard run which is a new career long rush for him.
Seven different receivers had multiple catches for the Wildcats and Price led the way with six receptions for a career-high 153 yards and the touchdown. He notched his second career game with over 100 receiving yards and surpassed the 150-yard mark for the first time. Freshman running back Gary Underwood (Cincinnati, Ohio) had five catches for 33 yards and senior wide receiver Norman White (Hammonton, N.J.) recorded four receptions for 25 yards.
Villanova went three-and-out on the first possession of the game and then had a punt blocked, allowing the Spiders to start their first drive of the game from inside Wildcats territory at the 26-yard line. Richmond covered the 26 yards on six plays and Kendall Gaskins scored from one yard out to give the Spiders an early 7-0 lead with 10:34 left in the opening period.
Later in the first quarter Villanova got on the board when sophomore running back Kevin Monangai (Roseland, N.J.) similarly scored on a one-yard run to tie the game at 7-7 at the 4:48 mark of the period. The run wrapped up a methodical 12-play drive in which the Wildcats covered 75 yards.
Robertson threw a 45-yard strike to Price to put Villanova in scoring position, as Price was tackled at the one-yard line just before he was able to cross into the end zone. After the Wildcats were stifled at the goal line on three straight plays, Monangai got the ball in his hands on fourth down and powered through a scramble to earn the touchdown.
When the big play on the 72-yard touchdown from Robertson to Price was answered less than three minutes later by the 45-yard scoring run from Richmond it felt like the game had a chance to turn into an offensive slugfest. That never materialized however, and both teams slowed the game down in the second half.
In the third quarter the Spiders had the ball first and held possession for nearly 11 minutes in the period, with the only points in the quarter coming on Barnette's touchdown reception. Richmond covered 68 yards on nine plays in 2:34 during that scoring drive.
Villanova then slogged through a 17-play, 76-yard drive which lasted more than seven minutes and culminated in the Hamilton field goal. Prior to the field goal the Wildcats ran three "goal-to-go" plays inside the six-yard line but were stopped by the Spiders in part because of a five-yard false start penalty on third-and-goal from the one-yard line.
On the defensive end sophomore free safety Joe Sarnese (Ventnor, N.J.) had a career-high 13 tackles and became the first Villanova player to reach double figures in a game this season. Senior linebacker Devon Bridges (Upper Marlboro, Md.) had a season-high nine tackles and senior Ronnie Akins (Lansdale, Pa.) forced a fumble which classmate Marlon Johnson (Baltimore, Md.) recovered.
Laub went 19-of-34 for 233 yards and a touchdown for Richmond and also carried for 79 yards and a score on 20 rushes. Barnette had five receptions for 110 yards and the Spiders also ran for 208 yards in the game.
Next up for the Wildcats is a trip to Old Dominion (5-0, 2-0) for a 3:30 p.m. kickoff next Saturday afternoon.