Villanova survived a close game against the William & Mary Tribe this past weekend, with a late touchdown reception from DeeWil Barlee securing the 35-28 win and elevating the Wildcats to 6-0 on the season.
The game was largely back-and-forth, tied at 21 entering the third quarter and evenly matched statistically. However, the Wildcats’ late touchdown and defensive prowess managed to pull out a win.
The running game took charge, as four different backs received at least six carries. Justin Covington and DeeWil Barlee both rushed for over 50 yards, while TD Ayo-Durojaiye and Jalen Jackson each eclipsed 30 yards.
Quarterback Daniel Smith completed 21 of his 34 passes, good for 250 yards and three touchdowns. Freshman Jaaron Hayek was on the receiving end of two of those touchdown, and also pulled in four more passes for a total of 83 yards. Smith also led the 16-play, 75-yard drive that culminated in the game-winning touchdown throw.
The defense also showed up, despite letting up 28 points. Forrest Rhyne led the team with 15 total tackles, followed by Chucky Smith’s 12 tackles. Rhyne also added 2.5 sacks, combining with Drew Wiley for the half-sack, as well as a forced fumble. Malik Fisher also notched a sack. The Wildcat defense only allowed the Tribe to convert on four of their twelve 3rd down attempts and held the opposition to just 92 rushing yards.
The game continued the Wildcats’ win streak to a flaming-hot six games.
Villanova’s next matchup against the #2-ranked James Madison Dukes will be without a doubt the marquee FCS matchup of the week. Kickoff is this Saturday at 1:30 p.m., in Harrisonburg, Va.