Oct. 27, 2012
VILLANOVA, Pa.--After the first half looked like the beginnings of an offensive slugfest the second half was a different story and No. 19 Villanova (6-3, 4-2 CAA) came up short in a 49-35 loss to No. 23 Towson (4-4, 3-2 CAA) in its annual Homecoming game at Villanova Stadium on Saturday afternoon. The visiting Tigers scored all 49 of their points in the first three quarters, including 14 unanswered points in the third period to take the lead for good in a contest that featured four ties.
Despite putting up 35 points the Wildcats were held to a season-low 348 yards of total offense, with the more significant part of the story being that Villanova was limited to only 63 yards of offense in the entire second half. Towson, meanwhile, put up 590 total yards for the game in dealing the Wildcats their second straight home loss.
Redshirt freshman quarterback John Robertson (Paramus, N.J.) and sophomore running back Kevin Monangai (Roseland, N.J.) each had big games to provide the individual highlights. Robertson threw a season-high four touchdown passes while going 17-of-23 through the air and Monangai eclipsed 100 rushing yards for the third straight game. He is the first Villanova player to achieve that feat in more than a decade.
Monangai, who also reached 1,000 career rushing yards during the game, has been a weekly highlight reel with the yardage he is picking up on the ground but added to his running efforts today by catching the first two touchdown passes of his career. He scored on a pair of touchdown receptions in the opening quarter, including a 33-yard pass from Robertson less than three minutes into the game which sent the Wildcats out to a 7-0 advantage.
That turned out to be the only Villanova lead of the game and the Tigers waited less than two minutes before embarking on a stretch in which they scored 28 points in a span of less than 11 minutes. That span culminated with a Towson touchdown early in the second quarter which opened up a 28-14 lead.
Monangai had a six-yard catch for a touchdown with 1:47 to play in the first quarter which briefly tied the score at 14-14 but the Tigers went back in front at 21-14 just 69 seconds later when quarterback Grant Enders connected with running back Terrance West for a 78-yard pass play for another score.
After the offensive burst by Towson the Wildcats tied the score on two more occasions, once late in the second quarter (28-28) and again early in the third period (35-35). In between, however, Enders threw an 11-yard touchdown pass to Spencer Wilkins on third-and-10 with just two seconds left before halftime.
The momentum that touchdown created for the Tigers had a lasting effect and in the third quarter Towson responded to Villanova knotting the score at 35-35 with touchdown runs by West and Enders that came five minutes apart and ultimately closed the scoring for the night. Enders broke away for a 40-yard run with 2:32 to play in the third period to account for the last points in the game.
Enders threw for 269 yards on 16-of-28 passing while also running for 122 yards and another score. West carried the ball 23 times for 144 yards and two touchdowns while finishing with a game-high 222 all-purpose yards.
Aside from the two touchdown receptions by Monangai the other scoring plays for the Wildcats included a five-yard touchdown run by Robertson as well as touchdown passes to junior wide receiver Joe Price (Havertown, Pa.) and sophomore tight end Earnest Pettway (Long Beach, Calif.).
A four-yard touchdown reception by Pettway with 10:57 left in the third quarter came on a five-play, 23-yard drive that was set up with a 50-yard punt return by sophomore wide receiver Poppy Livers (Seaside, Calif.), who last week became the first Villanova player in more than 30 years to return a punt for a touchdown.
With time running out in the first half the Tigers put together a 12-play drive in under three minutes to take the lead into the locker rooms. Towson had first-and-10 at the 11-yard line with 17 seconds left before the intermission and Enders threw two incomplete passes before connecting with Wilkins just prior to halftime.
It was Tigers ball to start the second half as well but on the first series of the third quarter the Wildcats forced Towson into their only three-and-out of the game. Th touchdown reception by Pettway with 10:57 remaining in the period tied the score at 35-35 but the back-to-back scoring drives on the Tigers next two possessions finally put Villanova into a deficit it could not overcome.
Monangai, Price and senior wide receiver Norman White (Hammonton, N.J.) each had three receptions and the trio combined for 142 yards. Robertson connected with nine different receivers for his 17 completions in the game.
Next week is a bye week for the Wildcats, who will be back at home when they return to action on November 10 against James Madison for a 1 p.m. kickoff.