Villanova improved to 4-0 on the season in a 52-45 overtime win over the No. 5 Towson Tigers, at Johnny Unitas Stadium in Towson, Maryland. The two teams combined for 14 touchdowns and over 1,000 yards of total offense in the game. It was quarterback Daniel Smith’s game winning two-yard rushing touchdown in overtime that proved to be the difference.
The two teams traded scores for much of the game. At the end of the first quarter, the Wildcats held a slim 14-7 lead. The Tigers then erupted for 21 points in the 2nd quarter for a 28-21 advantage going into the break. In the second half, Villanova scored 21 straight points to find themselves on top, 42-28, in the 4th quarter. Once again Towson answered strong, eventually take control of the game, 45-42, with less than two minutes to play. Junior kicker Drew Kresge turned out to be the savior late in the game for ‘Nova. Kresge hit a career long 45-yard field goal to tie the contest at 45 with 10 seconds to play in regulation. After Smith’s overtime score, the ‘Cats defense forced a turnover on downs to seal the victory.
Smith once again turned in a stellar performance for the Wildcats. He went 25-42 for 279 yards and four touchdowns. He also rushed for 70 yards and two scores on the ground. Freshman wide receiver Jaaron Hayek led the receiving core with six catches for 108 yards and two touchdowns. Junior tight end Todd Summers and captain running back Justin Covington also caught touchdown passes from Smith.
In addition to his receiving touchdown, Covington continued his success on the ground. The Bronx, New York product led all rushers with 194 yards and a touchdown on the ground. Freshman running back DeeWil Barlee continued to impress by ripping off a 27-yard run in the third quarter. Overall, the Wildcats ran for a total of 295 yards on 6.7 yards per carry.
Villanova’s defense had their hands full with a Towson offense led by senior quarterback Tom Flacco. Flacco accounted for over 400 total yards, but the Wildcats managed to make a goal line stand in overtime to ice the game. Junior linebackers Forrest Rhyne and Amin Black led the team with seven tackles apiece. Another bright spot was sophomore defensive back Elijah Trent, who had four tackles along with a key third quarter interception.
The win was the first in conference play for 'Cats. The 4-0 start marks their first since the 2009 season, the same year they won the FCS National Championship. The Wildcats will return home next Saturday for a 3:30 p.m. game with the Maine Black Bears.