A tough second half performance led to Villanova suffering their third consecutive loss in a 28-20 defeat against the New Hampshire Wildcats. UNH scored 21 unanswered points in the second half, taking a 21-20 lead in the third quarter that they wouldn’t relinquish. Villanova falls to 6-3 on the season, and 3-3 in CAA play.
New Hampshire struck first with an early touchdown, but ‘Nova dominated the rest of the first half. Freshman running back T.D. Ayo-Durojaiye scored on a five-yard run to even the score at seven apiece. In the 2nd quarter, quarterback Daniel Smith scored on a one-yard quarterback sneak, and later threw a 24-yard touchdown to Senior receiver Zac Kerxton, his first receiving touchdown of the season. The offense couldn’t carry their momentum into the second half, though. Their eight drives in the third and fourth frames of the game consisted of six punts and two interceptions. New Hampshire took a slight 21-20 lead with a 31-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter. An additional score in the final quarter put them up 28-20. Villanova drove into New Hampshire territory with less than a minute left in the game, but an interception took away any chance of a comeback, sealing the win for the Wildcats from Durham, N.H..
Smith threw for 313 yards on the day. He also led the running game for the ‘Cats with 10 carries for 59 yards. Junior wide receiver Changa Hodge led all receivers with seven catches for 106 yards. Freshman running back DeeWill Barlee also contributed three catches for fifty yards. On the defensive side of the ball, redshirt freshman Darius Pickett led the team with 12 tackles, followed by captain linebacker Forrest Rhyne with nine. Senior linebacker Keeling Hunter picked off UNH quarterback Max Brosmer for the only turnover that ‘Nova forced. On the contrary, the victorious Wildcats forced three turnovers on the day, which proved to be the difference in taking down No. 11 ranked Villanova.
After three straight losses, Villanova is squarely on the bubble for the FCS playoffs. They will look to right the ship next Saturday when they play host to the Richmond Spiders. Kickoff is set for 1:00 p.m.