Through 120 minutes of football this season, the Villanova football team has been thoroughly dominant in all facets of the game. Entering the third week of the season, it has absolutely punished its competition. Following a Week 1 47-3 win over Lehigh, there was seemingly no room to be even better, but on Saturday, the team bested that performance, defeating Bucknell, 55-3.
The defense has been exceptional throughout the first two weeks, giving up a total of 228 yards over that span. On the offensive side of the football, QB Daniel Smith and RB Justin Covington have led the way. Smith has put up seven total TDs, and Covington, who has two TD’s of his own, has put up 221 rushing yards on a very impressive 8.3 yards per carry. Villanova remained 12th in the FCS rankings and is playing as though it’s a top 10 team.
While the matchups in weeks one and two for Villanova were against relatively easy opponents, Week 3 represents a significantly more difficult challenge. This week, the team goes up against 21st-ranked Richmond, which posted a 31-3 win this past week over Lehigh. The game was not quite as much of a blowout as the score would indicate, as Lehigh led 3-0 after the first quarter before Richmond would proceed to put up 28 unanswered points in the second. The second half itself was fairly even as well, with Richmond putting up 100 total yards and three points. With that being said, it will be interesting to see how the Wildcats perform against easily their toughest opponent this season.
The Spiders, who won their first game of the season over Howard, 38-14, are led offensively by QB Joe Mancuso, who has put up 424 passing yards and four passing TD’s, coupled with 100 yards on the ground and one rushing TD. Running backs Aaron Dykes and Savon Smith have played an important role for the Richmond offense as well. Dykes has rushed for 131 yards and three TDs on 27 attempts, along with five receptions for 28 yards and a TD. Meanwhile, Smith has been more efficient on the ground albeit with fewer attempts, putting up 125 rushing yards and one TD on 19 attempts, along with four receptions for 11 yards.
On the defensive side of the football, three players Villanova needs to watch out for are linebacker Tristan Wheeler, linebacker Tyler Dressler and defensive lineman Darius Reynolds. Wheeler and Dressler form a powerful linebacker duo. Wheeler, who led the team with 38 tackles in the shortened season last Spring, currently leads the team in tackles with 17 through two games, while Dressler has 14 tackles, a sack and an interception. Lastly, Reynolds leads the team in sacks with 2.5. Villanova’s offensive line will look to keep him without one on Saturday.
Villanova Stadium should be packed in support of the Wildcats for the second consecutive week, as this upcoming weekend is Parents Weekend. The game starts at 3:30 p.m., and Villanova will look to move on to a 3-0 record entering the following week’s highly anticipated game at Penn State.