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Sophomore defensive back Joe Sarnese (No. 20) tied senior defensive back Eric Loper (No. 28) for the team lead in interceptions with his second quarter pick. (Lucas Migliarino / The Villanovan)

by Ryan Peloquin

Homecoming was a success as usual with Villanova alumni from across the country flooding the Main Line for the annual festivities. Nearly 8,000 fans were in attendance at Villanova Stadium to watch the No. 19 Wildcats (6-3, 4-2) take on the No. 23 Towson Tigers (4-4, 3-2).

Unfortunately, the alumni and current students were disappointed as the Tigers defeated the Wildcats by a final score of 49-35.

As the score suggests, defense, on both sides was not showcased. This high-scoring affair chalked up 938 yards of total offense, 590 of which were courtesy of the Tigers.

The scoring started with a 33-yard, opening–drive touchdown pass from redshirt freshman quarterback John Robertson to sophomore running back Kevin Monangai.

Robertson and Monangai provided most of the Villanova firepower that afternoon, as the touchdown was Robertson’s first of four on the day, and Monangai’s first of two receiving scores.

Towson responded with two straight scores. The first came on a 40-yard run by sophomore Terrance West, and the second on a touchdown pass from senior quarterback Grant Enders. West and Enders were Towson’s response for Robertson and Monangai. West ran for 144 yards on the day, while finding the end zone twice on the ground. Enders threw for 269 yards and added four touchdowns through the air.

The Tigers would not relinquish the lead after those two scores, but the offenses were not done for the day. Monangai caught his second touchdown pass from Robertson, while West closed out the first quarter with a 78-yard touchdown pass from Enders.

Towson wasted no time in adding to their 21-14 lead. Enders threw his third touchdown of the day to sophomore tight end Daniel Vaughn just 38 seconds into the second quarter.

Still, the ’Cats would not go quietly. They responded with two scores of their own. A five-yard Robertson run and a touchdown reception by junior wide receiver Joe Price knotted the game at 28-28 with just over three minutes to play in the half.

However, Enders, as he did most of the afternoon, marched the Tigers down the field and hit junior wideout Spencer Wilkins on an 11-yard touchdown pass. The 12-play, 73-yard drive lasted just 2:55, and gave the Tigers a 35-28 lead heading into halftime.

The Wildcat defense fared better in the second half. To open the third quarter, Villanova forced Towson into its only three-and-out of the afternoon.

The momentum of the stop translated into a touchdown drive capped by a reception by sophomore tight end Earnest Pettway.

Unfortunately, the Villanova offense could not keep pace with its visitors.

Towson was able to add two more scores in the third to put the game out of Villanova’s reach. A four-yard run by West gave Towson the lead, and a 40-yard run by Enders gave them some insurance.

As mentioned, Robertson and Monangai carried the load. Robertson’s four touchdowns were a season high, giving him a total of 12 on the year. He threw for 17 completions on 23 attempts, and gained a net of 27 yards on the ground. Robertson has thrown for 1,496 yards and rushed for 741 yards on the season.

Monangai’s afternoon put him over 1,000 career rushing yards, with a total of 894 yards on the year.

The sophomore ran for 103 yards on 17 carries on the afternoon.

He has surpassed 100 yards rushing for the third straight game, becoming the first Wildcat to do so in over a decade.  He has nine touchdowns on the ground this year, while catching nine balls for 93 yards and two scores. Forty-five of those receiving yards came this past weekend.

Villanova will need to ponder this loss throughout the coming bye week.

The Wildcats will have two weeks to prepare for James Madison University (6-2, 4-1), who will travel to Villanova Stadium on Saturday, Nov. 11.

JMU sits at third place in the CAA, one game better than Villanova in the loss column.

JMU features a balanced offense led by quarterback Justin Thorpe, and a stout defense that sits atop the CAA, allowing just under 20 points per game.

The JMU rush defense will need to stop a Villanova running game that averages 260 yards per game, the best in the CAA.

Kickoff is scheduled for 1 p.m.

 

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