Late Field Goals Send Villanova Past No. 9 Delaware 16-10
Nov. 17, 2007
VILLANOVA, Pa.-- Two field goals by junior Joe Marcoux (Campbell Hall, N.Y.) in the final 2:57 of the contest lifted Villanova (7-4, 5-3 CAA) to a 16-10 victory over No. 9 Delaware (8-3, 5-3 CAA) on Saturday at Villanova Stadium. In their season finale, the Wildcats matched their highest win total since 2003 and picked up a fifth conference win for the second straight year.
The game-winning field goal by Marcoux was from 36 yards with 2:57 remaining and capped a 14-play, 61-yard drive during which Villanova ran nearly eight minutes off the clock. He secured the victory with another 36-yard attempt with just 22 seconds remaining.
Villanova tied the game at 10-10 earlier in the fourth quarter after not having a touchdown for the first 47 minutes of the game. On fourth-and-nine early in the period, senior Matt Dicken (Cape May, N.J.) carried the ball 44 yards on a successful punt fake to put the Wildcats in scoring position at the five-yard line. One play later, freshman quarterback Chris Whitney (Warminster, Pa.) scored on a keeper from the one-yard line to tie the score with 12:48 to play.
Kervin Michaud returned the ensuing kickoff 41 yards for the Blue Hens and Delaware started its drive at its own 45-yard line. On the second play of the drive Omar Cuff rushed for 31 yards and the Blue Hens eventually had a first down at the Villanova 16-yard line, but the drive stalled on a missed 29-yard field goal by Jon Striefsky on fourth-and-six at the 12.
The Wildcats took their only lead of the game on the next drive and then stopped the Blue Hens on a seven-play drive that gained only 33 yards for Delaware before Villanova took over on downs at midfield. Dicken, who ran for 105 yards in the second half alone, carried the ball 30 yards on the first play of the Wildcat drive and Villanova ran the clock down to 22 seconds before the third field goal of the game by Marcoux. Delaware recovered the ball with no timeouts remaining and got only as far as its own 38-yard line before the end of the game.
The Blue Hens got on the scoreboard first on a 42-yard field goal by Jon Striefsky with 4:12 left in the opening period. Marcoux answered with a 42-yard attempt of his own with just 1:45 left in the first half to tie the game at 3-3, only to see Delaware take a 0-3 lead on Joe Flacco's three-yard pass to Josh Baker with 46 seconds remaining before the intermission. The Blue Hens covered 65 yards on nine plays in just 59 seconds to score what would be their only touchdown of the game.
The Wildcats held Delaware to season lows of 10 points and 281 yards of total offense. In the second half, the Blue Hens amassed only 132 yards of offense and held possession of the ball for just 9:30. A strong defensive effort by Villanova held Delaware running back Omar Cuff to 75 yards on 17 carries, with 31 of those yards coming on one play. In addition, Flacco began the game 6-for-6 passing before finishing 17-of-37 for 145 yards and the one touchdown pass.
Dicken surpassed 100 yards on the ground for the fourth time this season and fifth in his career, finishing with 134 yards on 26 carries. Redshirt freshman Aaron Ball (Los Angeles, Calif.) added 49 yards on just six carries and the Wildcats gained 195 yards on the ground. Whitney completed 12-of-21 attempts for 99 yards.
A two-play series midway through the second quarter may have provided one of the key momentum swings in the contest. Villanova faced a fourth-and-seven play at the Delaware 32-yard line and Whitney threw a long pass into the end zone that was intended for senior tight end Matt Sherry (Rumford, R.I.). Sherry was kept away from making the catch by the Blue Hens defense and the pass was incomplete without any penalty being called.
The incomplete pass returned possession to Delaware at its own 32-yard line and on the first play of the drive Flacco threw a long pass far downfield that appeared headed for a Blue Hen receiver and a possible one-play touchdown pass. Instead, Wildcat senior cornerback Derek Durkin (Canton, Mass.) sprinted to catch up to the play and made a diving interception.
Villanova capped its 10th winning season in the last 12 years with two consecutive victories to end the season. The win was also the second in 2007 over a ranked opponent for the Wildcats, who knocked off then-No. 15 Hofstra three weeks ago at Villanova Stadium.
The Blue Hens, who finish tied for third in the CAA South Division with the Wildcats and own a FBS victory over Navy, will await their playoff fate on Sunday afternoon. The field for the 16-team FCS Championship will be announced on Sunday.