Wildcats Fall to No. 8 Maine, 41-25, at Snowy Villanova Stadium
Oct. 29, 2011
VILLANOVA, Pa.--In the final on-campus home game of the season the heavy snow and wind was as big a part of the day as the game itself and Villanova (1-8, 0-6 CAA) lost by a final score of 41-25 to No. 8 Maine (7-1, 5-0 CAA) at Villanova Stadium on Saturday afternoon. The field was blanketed with snow before the game started and heavy, wet snow and rain lasted throughout with the temperatures never getting past the mid 30's.
The visiting Black Bears traveled more than 500 miles south for the contest but still found the worst of wintry conditions affecting the game. Field goals and extra points were hard to come by due to the snow and slick field surface but Maine eventually scored three straight touchdowns from late in the second quarter through the middle of the third period to pull away from a 7-6 lead and built a 28-6 advantage.
Despite the conditions the 25 points put up by the Wildcats offense was a season high and there were plenty of positives to take out of the contest. Among them, senior wide receiver Mikey Reynolds (Moorestown, N.J.) caught a career-high two touchdown passes and redshirt freshman running back Austin Medley (Franklinville, N.J.) registered the first 100-yard rushing game of his career.
Medley scored on a five-yard run with 4:08 left in the first half to give Villanova its first points of the game. At that point the Wildcats trailed 7-6 - the point-after attempt by junior kicker Mark Hamilton (Gaithersburg, Md.) stayed low and was blocked - but the Black Bears extended their lead on a 10-yard scoring run by Pushaun Brown with 1:49 left before the intermission and went into halftime with a 13-6 edge.
In the third quarter Arthur Williams went 80 yards on a catch-and-run with 9:38 left in the period and quarterback Warren Smith broke away for a 29-yard scoring run five minutes later as the Maine lead swelled to 22 points.
Villanova freshman quarterback Chris Polony (Whitehall, Pa.) threw three touchdown passes in the second half, the first of which was a season-best 60-yard completion to junior wide receiver Dorian Wells (West Covina, Calif.) which made the score 28-12 with 3:03 left in the third quarter. Both teams had two touchdown drives in the fourth quarter before settling on the final 16-point margin.
Polony, who briefly left the game during the second quarter after initially appearing to be injured, finished the day 10-of-20 through the air for 198 yards with the three touchdowns and one interception. He also ran for 34 yards and the Wildcats finished the day with a season-high 405 yards of total offense.
A nearly perfect balance between the passing game (208 total yards) and the rushing attack (197 yards) helped the Villanova offense get into gear. Medley ran a season-high 17 times for 100 yards and the score, including two runs of 20 yards or longer. On the receiving end, freshman tight end Earnest Pettway (Long Beach, Calif.) had a team-best three receptions, Wells finished with 73 yards and a score and Reynolds scored touchdowns on both of his catches in the game.
Defensively the Wildcats forced two turnovers and both sophomore defensive end Antoine Lewis (Somers Point, N.J.) and junior linebacker Patrick Haggerty (Shillington, Pa.) recovered fumbles. Meanwhile, junior safety Eric Loper (Sicklerville, N.J.) and freshman defensive back Jerry Miles (Dublin, Ohio) each had seven tackles.
Smith ran the passing game well for the Black Bears and finished the game 17-of-22 for 251 yards with two touchdowns while also running for 74 yards and a score. He found a favorite target in Maurice McDonald, who registered eight catches for 96 yards and a touchdown. Brown ran 18 times for 75 yards and two scores.
Villanova plays at Massachusetts next Saturday at 3:30 p.m.
NOTES: Although they will not play on campus again this season the Wildcats have one remaining home game, against Delaware at PPL Park in Chester on November 19 at 3:30 p.m. ... Due to today's weather conditions the planned ceremony to honor the Villanova senior class was rescheduled to take place prior to that contest at PPL Park ... It was 35 degree with heavy snow and rain when the game kicked off at 3:36 p.m. ... The wind chill dipped into the mid 20's by the end of the game ... The teams combined for 10 touchdowns but were only 5-of-10 on point-after tries, including both kicks and two-point conversions ... Medley has five runs of 20 yards or more this season ... Reynolds had one receiving touchdown in a game five times in his career before tallying two today ... The 60-yard touchdown pass from Polony to Wells was the second reception of 50 yards or longer for Wells this season and the longest pass completion for any Wildcat this year ... The weather conditions were a culpable factor in Hamilton missing field goal attempts of 22 yards and 27 yards to end his streak of 14 consecutive made field goals entering the game ... Redshirt freshman quarterback Dustin Thomas (Ventnor, N.J.) played one series in the second quarter while Polony was out ... He completed his only pass attempt for 10 yards and ran three times for 21 yards ... Villanova played its fifth consecutive game against a nationally-ranked league opponent.