by Brett Klein
The Wildcats overwhelmed the University of Pennsylvania Quakers this past Saturday afternoon at Villanova Stadium on a day full of record-breaking statistics and milestones.
With the victory, the ’Cats even their record to 2-2 this season and are ranked 20th in the Coaches FCS poll.
The win should come as no surprise to anyone, as the Wildcats have now beaten the Quakers in 12 straight meetings.
The story of the day was Head Coach Andy Talley recording his 200th victory as coach of the Wildcats in the team’s 35-6 romping of Penn.
In Talley’s 29 seasons as head coach, he now boasts an impressive record of 200-122-1, and with win number 200, he becomes the 37th coach in any division of college football and just the eighth active head coach to record that many victories.
In his tenure as head coach of the Wildcats, Talley has led the team to the 2009 National Championship, three national semifinals, six conference championships and 21 winning seasons.
The Wildcats came to play for their head coach’s milestone victory, completely overpowering the Quakers by amassing yards and points in huge quantities.
The ’Cats racked up an incredible 546 yards of offense, of which 280 yards were rushing and 266 yards were through the air.
The Wildcats kicked off the scoring with an 83-yard drive in the first quarter that was capped off with a 15-yard touchdown pass from sophomore quarterback John Robertson to senior wide receiver Joe Price.
Robertson completed 19 of his 28 passes on the day for 266 yards and three touchdowns. Additionally, Robertson ran for 132 yards on only 15 carries and it was the second game in a row in which he rushed for over 100 yards.
Junior running back Kevin Monangai also joined the 100-plus yards club, running for 101 yards on 17 carries.
It was the eighth time in Monangai’s Villanova career that he has broken 100 yards in a game, which tied him for third most in Villanova history.
Penn responded on their next possession by driving deep into Villanova territory and setting up for a makeable 37-yard field goal.
However, senior defensive lineman Rakim Cox broke through the line to block the field goal.
The ball was picked up by senior defensive back Craig James and returned it for a 73-yard touchdown, which extended the Wildcats’ lead to 14-0.
Then, early on in the second quarter, the ’Cats took a commanding 21-0 lead on a 50-yard touchdown pass from Robertson to junior wide receiver Poppy Livers.
The pass was the longest of the game for Robertson and the first career touchdown catch in Livers. He would later reel in another touchdown for his second of the game.
Livers tied a previous career-high with eight catches in the game to go along with a career-best 121 receiving yards.
The Wildcats took a 21-0 lead for the second week in a row by dominating their opponents on both sides of the ball.
The Quakers would score their only points of the game just over midway through the third quarter on a nine-yard touchdown pass from senior quarterback Billy Ragone to junior running back Spencer Kulcsar. However, Penn failed to connect on the PAT.
Ragone threw for 192 yards in the game while completing 18 of his 35 passes. Senior wide receiver Conner Scott caught 11 of Ragone’s passes for 129 yards.
With the score 21-6, Robertson and the rest of the Wildcats offense would not take their foot off the gas pedal.
Just two minutes after the Quakers touchdown, Robertson ran in for the score from 36 yards out to extend the lead to 28-6. Robertson, the CAA Offensive Rookie of the Year from 2012, has shown no signs of a sophomore slump and led the Wildcats offense once again in this game. The ’Nova quarterback’s dominant offensive performance over the Quakers earned him CAA Offensive Player of the Week.
Livers’ second touchdown catch of the game came early in the fourth quarter on a six-yard throw from Robertson that would be the last points scored by either team in the game, making the final score favoring Villanova, 35-6.
For the second week in a row tthe Wildcats won by the same score; they bowled over the Stony Brook Seawolves a week earlier by the same margin.
The game against Penn marks the end of Villanova’s non-conference schedule for 2013. The team will play the remainder of its games this season against CAA opponents.
Villanova will look for its third straight victory this Saturday at home against William and Mary. Kickoff is scheduled for 1 p.m. at Villanova Stadium.