Oct. 19, 2013
DURHAM, N.H. - A touchdown and successful two-point conversion with 13.8 seconds to play lifted No. 25 New Hampshire (3-3, 2-1 CAA) to a 29-28 victory over No. 12 Villanova (4-3, 3-1 CAA) in a frenetic finish at Cowell Stadium on Saturday afternoon. Sophomore quarterback John Robertson (Paramus, N.J.), in a historic performance, scored game-tying and go-ahead touchdowns just 46 seconds apart in the closing two minutes of the game before New Hampshire rallied in dramatic fashion.
Robertson ran 27 times for a career-high 256 yards and three touchdowns in the game, while also completing 15-of-17 passes for 122 yards. He registered the second-highest single-game rushing total in school history and is the first Wildcats runner to surpass 200 yards in a game in nearly 12 years. In the process Robertson also moved into the top 10 in school history in career rushing yards (1,871) and moved into a tie for third place in career rushing touchdowns (25).
Late in the fourth quarter Robertson found the end zone from two yards out on fourth-and-two to tie the score at 21-21 with 1:55 to play. New Hampshire then quickly went three-and-out on its next possession and Villanova took over from its own 34-yard line with 1:28 remaining. Robertson threw a 21-yard pass to sophomore running back Gary Underwood (Cincinnati, Ohio), ran for three yards himself and then broke away for a 42-yard score which gave the Wildcats a 28-21 lead with 1:09 left.
With its back against the wall New Hampshire drove 50 yards on seven plays in 48 seconds and scored on a four-yard run by Sean Goldrich with 13.8 seconds to play. Villanova had kicked off 65 yards to the end zone but Daltan Crossan returned it 35 yards for New Hampshire and a 15-yard personal foul penalty called against Villanova moved the ball to midfield with 1:02 still left on the clock. Villanova was whistled for five penalties amounting to 60 yards in the contest, while New Hampshire was not called for a single penalty.
Villanova ran for a season-high 317 yards and finished the day with 439 total yards of offense, of which Robertson accounted for 377 yards (85.9 percent). Junior running back Kevin Monangai (Roseland, N.J.) had 12 carries for 30 yards and a touchdown, while junior slot receiver Poppy Livers (Seaside, Calif.) had a team-high five receptions for 29 yards. Robertson completed passes to seven different receivers during the game.
Sophomore safety Cameron McCurry (Orange Park, Fla.) had a career-high 12 tackles and senior defensive end Rakim Cox (San Diego, Calif.) led the defense with three tackles for loss, including two of the Wildcats season-high five sacks. Cox also blocked his third kick of the season and the fourth of his career when he got his hands on a point-after attempt in the first quarter.
Rushing touchdowns by Monangai in the first quarter and Robertson in the second quarter helped Villanova to a 14-6 lead at halftime. New Hampshire pulled to within 14-12 on a six-yard touchdown run by Goldrich with 8:13 remaining in the third quarter, then took its first lead of the day (15-14) when Mike MacArthur kicked a 23-yard field goal with 13 seconds left in the period.
Villanova was stagnant on offense for much of the second half and New Hampshire added to its lead when Jared Allison caught an eight-yard touchdown pass from Goldrich with 5:03 to play in the fourth quarter. That score put Villanova in a 21-14 hole but the point-after attempt by MacArthur was missed to keep the score at a seven-point margin.
Robertson's day got off to a fast start and he ran nine times for 80 yards in the first quarter, including six carries for 55 yards during a 13-play drive which culminated in Monangai's five-yard touchdown run to open the scoring. On the Wildcats first possession of the second quarter Robertson ran three more times for 41 more yards and gave Villanova a 14-6 lead on a 14-yard touchdown run with 8:34 left before halftime.
New Hampshire was led offensively by Goldrich, who was 21-of-28 for 236 yards and a touchdown on the day while also running for 27 yards and two scores on 16 carries. Chris Setian and Nico Steriti combined for 28 carries and 149 yards for New Hampshire, which finished the day with 237 yards on the ground. That total marked the first time this season that Villanova allowed an opponent to run for over 200 yards.
Following two straight games on the road Villanova will next host Maine in its Homecoming game next Saturday. Kickoff is scheduled for 1 p.m. at Villanova Stadium.