Syracuse seemed perplexed by his scrambling ability, picking up yards with his feet time after time when he was seemingly left for dead in the backfield. The Orange got into the backfield well on Robertson, but just could not quite get a hold of him.
”That quarterback, Johnny Robertson, is one tough son-of-a-gun,” Syracuse head coach Scott Shafer said. “I’ll be real interested to see how many yards he got that were not by design. Where it’s not there and he takes off and makes people miss and moves the chains….He’s such a damn good football player. That was a hell of an effort by that kid. I’ve been around football my whole life and that is a gutsy son-of-a-gun.”
Indeed that was a theme during his 16-27, 199-yard passing, 115-yard rushing performance in which he left little doubt who was the best player on the Ernie Davis Legends’ Field Friday night.
In 2013, Syracuse was the only FBS program to not give up an individual 100-yard rusher. Robertson put an end to that streak.
”I felt like our quarterback had to play great for us to even be in the game and he played great,” Villanova head coach Andy Talley said. “He was the best quarterback on the field. He kept drives alive.”
Syracuse seemingly had no answer for Robertson. Even after huge momentum swings in Syracuse’s favor, Robertson still found a way to respond. But the Orange found a way to make one play defensively that secured the win.
After a fake field goal that saw Riley Dixon throw a touchdown pass to Kendall Moore in the second overtime, the Wildcats came back with a quick four play drive that found the end zone. Rather than line up for a tying field goal, Villanova elected to go for two and the win.
Like they had all night, they put the ball in the hands of their star quarterback. Robertson took the snap, fakes a quick pitch and looked to find an opening on a quarterback draw. Unfortunately, for the first time all night, there was no hole to run through. Nowhere to scramble.
The Orange defensive line got strong initial penetration and swarmed Robertson at the two yard line. Finally Syracuse stopped Robertson. This time, at the most critical of junctures.
For the first time all night, Houdini could not escape. Syracuse, however, did.