PHILADELPHIA - A big first half propelled sixth-ranked Villanova past the University of Pennsylvania football team on Saturday afternoon. In the home opener of the 120th season at the nation's oldest collegiate football stadium, the Wildcats used some first-half offensive fireworks to earn a 41-7 win over the Quakers at Franklin Field.
Villanova, which ranked No. 6 in the latest FCS media poll and No. 5 in the coaches poll, improved to 3-1 on the year with its only loss in double overtime to an FBS opponent, Syracuse. Penn dropped to 0-2 on the year after its season opening loss in the final minute at Jacksonville last weekend.
The Wildcats set the tone early. To open the game, Villanova converted three first downs before Robertson found senior tight end Earnest Pettway for a 36-yard score.
The Quakers looked great in response, but despite completing his first two passes to senior tight end Ryan O'Malley and senior wideout Conner Scott for long gains, sophomore quarterback Alek Torgersen was intercepted at the 1-yard line. Robertson then led the Wildcats on a 99-yard scoring drive, converting seven first downs and sealing it with a nine-yard touchdown pass.
The cross-city rival Wildcats added another score after a Penn punt with a 54-yard touchdown run to take a 21-0 lead after the first quarter.
Villanova also scored twice more in the second quarter via Robertson passes, and received another prime scoring opportunity when Torgersen lost a fumble on Penn's own 22-yard line with 6:36 left in the second quarter.The Wildcats gave the ball to Gary Underwood, who needed two rushes to advance the 22 yards to give Villanova a 41-7 lead.
Between those scores, senior running back Kyle Wilcoxprovided the Quakers with their only score on a 67-yard touchdown run. Wilcox made a quick cutback and found daylight. He outran the Wildcats defense to the end zone for Penn's longest rush of any kind since Joe Sanberg went 74 yards in 2006.
Neither team scored in the second half. In the fourth quarter, senior Trevor Niemann stopped a scoring drive when he forced a fumble inside the five-yard line and junior Tyler Drake fell on it at three. The Quakers drove 95 yards to the Villanova one-yard line, but were stopped on fourth-and-goal.
Wilcox finished with 93 yards on nine carries for an average of 10.3 yards per rush. Torgersen was 18-of-30 for 180 yards through the air. Freshman Justin Watson led the Quakers with five catches for 65 yards, while Scott had four receptions for 44 yards. Scott now has a catch in each of the last 20 games he has played. Torgersen completed passes to 10 different receivers including Danny Gallagher and Brian Schoenauer, who each hauled in the first of their careers.
Drake led the Penn defense with eight tackles, while Nolan Biegel had seven and senior captain Evan Jackson finished with six and a fumble recovery. Senior Dan Davis had a sack for the second straight week, and Wilk added another one for the Quakers.
Penn participated in the Coach to Cure project on Saturday. All coaches wore the Coach to Cure patch to raise awareness for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. Penn Football also welcomed Eddie McKeaney, an 11-year-old New Jersey native who suffers from the disease, as an honorary captain. The Penn Football family encourages you to contribute to the fight against this disease by going toCoachtoCureMD.orgor by texting CURE to 90999 to donate $5.
Next week, Penn takes the Ivy League’s longest road trip to open league play. The Quakers will bus to Dartmouth for a nationally televised game against the Big Green. Kickoff is slated for 1:30 p.m., and the matchup can be seen on Fox College Sports. Last season, the Quakers and Big Green played the longest game in Ivy League history with Penn prevailing in four overtimes, 37-31.
Download: 2-Villanova Box.pdf