‘B and B’ link helps ’Nova put Lafayette to bed
The Villanova Wildcats got off to a strong start showing no lingering disappointment after last week’s loss to Temple.
The No. 7 Wildcats dominated the Lafayette Leopards, posting a 59-0 win at Villanova Stadium, getting contributions from the offense, defense and special teams in the first home game for Coach Mark Ferrante.
“I thought our guys responded really well,” Ferrante said. “Our guys came into practice with an edge because we could have had that one, but could have doesn’t make it happen. Our guys prepared well and the outcome proved that.”
The Wildcats started strong, scoring on their first three offensive possessions keyed by the combination of quarterback Zach Bednarczyk and tight end Ryan Bell. On the second play from scrimmage, Bednarczyk connected with Bell on a 59-yard completion setting the ball at the Lafayette 26-yard line. Four plays later, Bednarczyk ran it in from four yards out for the initial score.
On their next offensive possession a 13-play drive was capped by a four-yard touchdown reception by Bell for a 13-0 lead. In the second quarter, Bednarczyk found Bell again with a 37-yard scoring toss and a 20-0 advantage.
The senior tight end had 5 catches for a career-high 119 yards. Running back Matt Gudzak crossed the goal line from two yards out later in the quarter.
“It gives us a lot more energy, we were fired up,” Bednarczyk said about how the Wildcats started the game on offense. “It also helps the defense, they want to put up a goose egg.”
Defensively, the Cats held the Leopards to just 2 first downs and 25 yards in the opening half. The defensive backfield added two more scores.
Corner back Jaquan Amos grabbed a batted ball out of the air and returned it up the left sideline 35-yards for a score and a 28 point lead. Linebacker Keeling Hunter also contributed a pick-six covering 27 yards up the right side.
It was the first interception of the season for each player and the third touchdown for the defense this season. Justin Williams added his first interception.
Special teams pitched in during the second quarter. Returner Taurus Phillips zigzagged up the field 64 yards for a score, the first punt return touchdown for Villanova since 1985.
The score at halftime was 49-0.
Running back Corey Russo scored the Wildcats’ second-half touchdown.
For the game, the Villanova defense gave up 77 total yards to the Leopards.
“It gives us more juice,” said defensive tackle Ricky Young. “It is exciting, we pride ourselves on. We don’t want anyone running the ball on us. It felt good.”
Bednarczyk played the first half, completing 13 of 15 passes for 237 yards and two touchdowns, giving him five scoring tosses this season. Bell has three scoring receptions.
“I have a lot of synergy with (Bell),” Bednarczyk said. “He is a go-to guy for me, we call it ‘B and B’ action. He is one of my favorite targets.”
Villanova is 26-7 in home openers and has won its last six. Ferrante gets his first home victory as a head coach. The last home win prior to the Andy Talley era was posted by Coach Dick Bedesem on November 22, 1980 when Villanova defeated Temple 23-7.
“It feels great,” Ferrante said. “Anytime you win it feels great. This one is special because it is a home game and on family weekend. Maybe it will sink in later. I’m hoping we can get another win and get this feeling again.”