Wildcats See Home Streak End In 31-24 Loss to No. 17 New Hampshire
Nov. 13, 2010
VILLANOVA, Pa. - A hopeful rally on the last drive of the game nearly made up for a game-long deficit but No. 9 Villanova (6-4, 4-3 CAA) saw its 15-game home winning streak come to an end at the hands of No. 17 New Hampshire (6-4, 4-3 CAA) on Saturday afternoon, as the Wildcats trailed the entire way and were defeated at Villanova Stadium by a final score of 31-24.
Villanova fell behind 10-0 in the first six minutes of the contest and twice trailed by as many as 14 points before pulling to within 31-24 in the opening minute of the fourth period. As the contest neared its conclusion, the Wildcats had one final possession that began with 1:13 remaining at Villanova's own 16-yard line.
Thanks in part to three penalties levied against the visiting Wildcats, the hosts were on the brink of tying the game on first-and-goal from the New Hampshire five-yard line with less than 30 seconds left. However, a pass attempt on first down was incomplete and Villanova lost a fumble for the third time in the game on second down to finally seal the outcome.
Senior quarterback Chris Whitney (Warminster, Pa.) ran for 88 yards and two touchdowns and completed 16-of-36 passes for 192 yards. His two scores and a rushing touchdown from senior running back Angelo Babbaro (Canfield, Ohio) helped the Wildcats gain 258 yards on the ground. In all, Villanova accumulated 450 yards of total offense and had 32 first downs compared to just 15 for New Hampshire, but were undone by three turnovers.
Dontra Peters had a big game for the visiting Wildcats and ran for 157 yards and a touchdown. In the first quarter, he broke away for a 51-yard touchdown that put New Hampshire ahead 7-0 at the 10:49 mark of the opening period. Villanova fumbled the ensuing kickoff and New Hampshire got the ball back at the Wildcats 16-yard line. Five plays later, A.J. DeLago kicked a 22-yard field goal for a 10-0 lead.
Villanova wound up having possession of the ball for more than 38 minutes in the game and started to settle in offensively on its next drive after digging a 10-point hole. With 10:40 remaining in the second quarter, Babbaro scored on a 10-yard run to finish a drive in which the Wildcats went 86 yards on 17 plays in 8:48.
Babbaro gained 43 yards on six carries and senior running back Aaron Ball (Los Angeles, Calif.) ran for 82 yards on 19 rushes to lead the Villanova ground attack. Junior wide receiver Norman White (Hammonton, N.J.) made six catches for 67 yards and sophomore wide receiver Dorian Wells (West Covina, Calif.) recorded five catches and a team-high 78 receiving yards.
New Hampshire began to expand its lead from 10-7 when quarterback R.J. Toman ran in for a 10-yard touchdown with 8:54 to play in the first half and then answered a Villanova field goal with a 56-yard touchdown pass to Joey Orlando that made the score 24-10 with 5:32 to go before the intermission.
A five-yard run by Whitney kept the Wildcats in the game with a five-yard run that trimmed the margin to 24-17 as the teams' headed to the locker rooms. The only points in the third quarter came on a six-yard touchdown reception by Terrance Fox from Toman with 5:08 left in that period.
Peters ran for his 157 yards on just 12 carries and Toman was 11-of-22 for 158 yards with two touchdowns and one interception for New Hampshire, which ran 33 fewer plays than their hosts. Orlando tallied 92 yards on three catches and Fox had five receptions for 56 yards.
Villanova will go on the road for its regular season finale and play a rivalry game at Delaware next Saturday at Noon.
NOTES: The last loss at home for the Wildcats was to then-No. 1 James Madison on October 25, 2008 on a last-second hail mary pass ... Villanova had won 23 of its last 24 home games prior to today's loss ... Both teams were heavily penalized in the game, with New Hampshire being whistled for eight penalties totaling 80 yards ... Villanova was penalized 76 yards on nine whistles ... Sophomore kicker Mark Hamilton (Gaithersburg, Md.) kicked a 29-yard field goal on his first career attempt in the second quarter ... In a ceremony held before the game, the Wildcats honored their senior class for their career accomplishments both on and off the field ... Villanova's seniors enter their final regular season game next Saturday with a career record of 37-12 (.755) for the Wildcats ... The 157 rushing yards by Peters were the most against Villanova since Tim Hightower of Richmond ran for 187 yards on November 3, 2007 ... The Wildcats have allowed a 100-yard rusher in each of their last two games after not allowing one in 23 straight games before that (dating back to the start of the 2009 season) ... Villanova has committed three turnovers in each of its last two games, including five lost fumbles ... New Hampshire had six offensive plays of 20 yards or more in today's game (three rushing, three passing) ... Villanova had only allowed two rushes of more than 20 yards all season prior to the contest.