A well-rested Villanova team trounced Maine 44-17 this past Saturday, behind four touchdowns from senior running back Justin Covington, after last week’s game against New Hampshire was postponed due to COVID-19. The victory in Orono brought the Wildcats’ record to 2-1 and tied them for second in the conference.
The Wildcats got on the board early with a five-play, 66-yard opening drive that was finished off by a 44-yard touchdown run by Covington. They followed that up with a 31-yard field goal from Cole Bunce on the next drive to take an early 10-0 lead. Closing out the first quarter, the Black Bears booted in a 26-yard field goal to make the score 10-3.
Villanova took over in the second quarter, putting together a 13-play, 93-yard drive to score off a 13-yard pass from Daniel Smith to Rayjoun Pringle. This brought the score to 17-3, which was followed up at the end of the half by another Covington touchdown to bring the score to 24-3 before the half. This was a score from one yard out, set up by a 28-yard pass from Smith to Jaaron Hayek.
Villanova then scored two touchdowns in 30 seconds to push the lead to 38-3 and put the game away. Covington scored a one-yard run to finish an eight-play, 53-yard drive. Freshman K-Shawn Schulters then intercepted Maine’s Joe Fagnano and returned it all the way to the one yard line, a 49-yard return. Covington then punched it in for his fourth touchdown on the day.
The final Villanova touchdown was a five-yard run by Jalen Jackson, and the Black Bears rounded the game out with two fourth quarter touchdowns to settle the score at 44-17.
Villanova put up 428 yards of total offense, with 232 yards rushing and 196 yards through the air. Covington had 82 rushing yards and four touchdowns, with Jackson adding 10 rushes for 76 yards and a touchdown. Smith was 16-for-28 and amassed 176 yards and a touchdown, along with 27 rushing yards of his own.
For the Black Bears, Fagnano was 21-for-35 for 235 yards, throwing one pick. Running back Freddie Brock ran for 88 yards and a touchdown on fourteen attempts, adding four receptions for thirteen yards. Zavier Scott was the main threat through the air for Maine, with six receptions for 102 yards.
Forrest Rhyne returned from injury to lead the Villanova defense with eight total tackles, and Malik Fisher and Timmy Ferguson both assisted with a sack each.
Even special teams was clicking on the day, as punter Nathan Fondacaro had four punts for 190 yards, including a 68-yard boomer. He was named Colonial Athletic Association Special Teams Player of the Week, joining Wildcat teammates Covington and Rhyne, who were the Offensive and Defensive Players of the Week, respectively.
Villanova will take on Delaware on April 17 after Albany opted out of the spring season due to COVID-19 and canceled the April 10 game.