VILLANOVA, Pa. - One of the top defensive teams in the nation came up against the leading FCS passing offense on Saturday afternoon and No. 20 Villanova (4-5, 2-4 CAA Football) was shut out in a 22-0 loss to Richmond (5-4, 3-3) in its annual Alumni Day game at Villanova Stadium. It is the second straight year that the Wildcats have been blanked by the Spiders, and those games are the only two times in the last 13 seasons that Villanova has been held off the scoreboard.
Senior linebacker Ed Shockley (Millville, N.J.) and junior Jeff Steeb (Sweetwater, N.J.) each had double figures in tackles and sophomore safety Julian Williams (Airmont, N.Y.) recorded his second interception of the season. Richmond, who entered the game averaging 34.8 points and 474.9 yards of total offense per contest, finished the day with 259 passing yards and 175 rushing yards. A steady offensive rhythm helped the Spiders stay on the field for just over 35 minutes, and the Wildcats in turn ran just 52 plays for a total of 163 yards.
In his second career start under center, redshirt freshman quarterback Kyle McCloskey (Fort Washington, Pa.) found some early momentum when he hit sophomore tight end Simon Bingelis (Brick, N.J.) for a 60-yard strike on his first pass attempt of the game. Villanova eventually had third-and-goal at the nine-yard line on that drive, but after an eight-yard scamper down to the one-yard line, McCloskey was stripped of the ball and Richmond recovered the fumble. Beyond that drive, which came with the Spiders leading 3-0, the Wildcats were unable to generate significant offensive momentum the rest of the way.
McCloskey wound 6-of-17 for 90 yards on the day. Redshirt freshman running back Justin Covington (Bronx, N.Y.) led the team with 54 rushing yards on just seven carries, while junior running back Aaron Forbes (Newburgh, N.Y.) carried 13 times for 33 yards to go with two kickoff returns totaling 51 yards.
Despite the final outcome, the game was well within reach for Villanova until the third quarter. Richmond made field goals of 30 yards in the first quarter and 41 yards in the second quarter to in front 6-0, then went into halftime with an 8-0 lead after a safety caused by a bad Wildcats snap on fourth down with less than a minute to play before the intermission.
The first touchdown of the game wasn’t scored until the 11:24 mark of the third period when Xavier Goodall scored on a four-yard run to cap an 81-yard Spiders drive. Richmond scored the game’s final points on quarterback Kyle Lauletta’s two-yard rush with 1:29 to play in the third quarter. Lauletta was 25-of-32 for 259 yards and an interception. He failed to throw a touchdown pass for only the second time this season, and had thrown multiple touchdown passes in each of the other seven games he had played in prior to this weekend.
Shockley led all players with 13 tackles and Steeb recorded 12 total stops.
Senior punter John Hinchen (Saddle River, N.J.) continued his outstanding season with seven punts totaling 334 yards. He averaged 47.7 yards per punt on the day and had three attempts of 50 yards or longer. Hinchen began the day ranked eighth in FCS in punting, and in his last three games alone he has amassed 1,026 punting yards on 22 attempts.
Villanova travels to Rhode Island for a 12 p.m. kickoff next weekend.