Quarterback John Robertson set a new Villanova football record for rushing yards by a QB. (Kelly Ryan / The Villanovan)
by John Maza
John Robertson loves to put on a show. And Saturday night was no different, as the sophomore quarterback ran his way to the top of the record books in Villanova’s 45-0 win over Rhode Island.
Robertson completed eight of 11 passes for 179 yards, rushed for 133 yards on 12 carries, and tied his career high for rushing touchdowns in a game, with four.
“I don’t focus on any of the stats,” Robertson said. “Whether I need to run a lot, or a throw a lot of touchdowns, I just want to put us in a position to win every game.”
Robertson finished the game with 2,262 career rushing yards, surpassing Chris Whitney’s (2007-2010) quarterback record of 2,160 yards and moved into second place for most rushing yards (1,240) in a single season.
However, Robertson couldn’t care less about his accomplishments.
“We have a chance for a winning season,” he said. “That was one of our goals for the year. We also have a chance to beat Delaware in two weeks and that is always a big game for us.”
Keeping it for himself, Robertson ran the ball across the goal line at the 10:45 mark of the first quarter, as the Wildcats went on the attack.
The drive was set up by a 46-yard run by sophomore running back Javon White, followed by Robertson’s 25-yard run to put Villanova within five yards of the goal line.
With 7:21 left to play in the first quarter, Robertson scored his second touchdown of the game, from four yards out, as he broke Whitney’s quarterback rushing record.
However, Robertson was just part of Andy Talley’s high-powered rushing attack for the Wildcats, who ran for a season-high 338 yards.
It was the second time this season that Villanova totaled more than 300 yards on the ground and the sixth time in the past eight weeks that the Wildcats ran for at least 200 yards in a game.
Junior running back Kevin Monangai finished the game with two touchdowns, on 12 carries for 56 yards, White carried the ball 10 times for 56 yards and senior fullback Ransford Quarrie added 58 yards on eight carries.
“We got off to a quick start today and that was the game plan,” said Head Coach Andy Talley. “We jumped on them early and got the lead. It was important for John to run well. He did that and we distributed the ball to our running backs in good fashion.”
However, Villanova showed its complete arsenal in its rout of Rhode Island, on Saturday night at Meade Stadium.
With Rhode Island’s defense desperately trying to stop Villanova’s ground attack, Robertson began attacking through the air.
On 8-11 passing for 179, Robertson continued to move the chains. Junior running back Austin Medley turned a short pass into a 60-yard gain, while junior slot wide receiver Poppy Livers finished the game with three catches for 39 yards.
But in a game ruled by offense, Villanova’s defense was not to be forgotten.
The Wildcats forced the Rams to punt on each of their first five possessions.
By the end of the game, Rhode Island wound up punting the ball 11 times, one of which was blocked by sophomore defensive end Reggie Paris, which later would lead to a touchdown.
“From a defensive standpoint I thought that our pass rush was really good today,” Talley said. “That was the difference. We got after their quarterback early and made it difficult for him to throw.”
“We knew Rhode Island was coming off a tough loss [against Old Dominion] last weekend,” said Talley, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer. “We also were concerned that this was their senior day and they would be ready to play. We wanted to jump on them as quickly as we could. It was important that John be able to run the ball as well as he did because we’re down two or three receivers.”
With each game, John Robertson continues to roll, taking Villanova as far as he can carry them. With one game remaining for the Wildcats this season, ’Nova looks to finish the season with a winning record when it hosts Delaware Nov. 23, at PPL Park, at 3:30 p.m.