Villanova rolled over Elon in the first ever meeting between the two teams by a score of 42-7 yesterday at Rhodes Stadium in Elon NC.
The Cats scored touchdowns on all five first half possessions while the defense stonewalled the Phoenix offense. The lead was 42-0 after the third quarter before the Phoenix scored a meaningless fourth quarter TD on an 11-play, 72 yard drive. ‘Nova racked up a program record 35 first downs while dominating time of possession by maintaining the ball for 40:54.
Quarterback, Zach Bednarczyk threw for a career high 270 yards and accumulated a career high 329 yards of total offense. Matt Gudzak was fabulous in his first game back from injury (replacing the injured Javon White) compiling 71 yards on 12 carries (5.9 avg). Aaron Forbes punched in TD runs from 8 and 2 yards out and Bednarczyk ran one in from 3 yards. The other three touchdowns came through the air as Behdnarczyk connected with Gudzak, Zac Keratin and Alex Padovani from 10, 12, and 75 yards respectively.
Tanoh Kpassagnon was a rock on defense again with 2.5 tackles for loss and a sack. The Cats limited Elon to 130 yards of total offense and 1-10 on third down conversions. Jeff Steeb, Malik Reaves, Corey Majors, and Trey Johnson were stalwarts on defense as well in what was a fabulous, team, defensive effort for ‘Nova.
The kicking game was solid again with John Hinchen booming one 51-yards to pin the Phoenix at their own 10 while Gerard Smith nailed all of his PATs and Steve Weyler was consistent across seven kick-offs.
The Cats take a four-game winning streak into next Saturday’s home game against Rhode Island. Kick-off is at Noon.
Villanova Head Coach Andy Talley:
On the Villanova offense: I think we had the ability today to use a combination of run and throw. When you can’t run and you have to throw, you’re one-dimensional and it’s difficult. We were able to hit some plays on them early and got a quick 14 [points], so I think the ability to read some of their blitzes and make some big catches on pass plays helped us a lot. The pass game opened up the running game. That gave us a shot to stay on track. We were behind schedule a bunch in the first quarter with penalties and things like that, but we were able to overcome them.
On balancing the passing game and running game: The only game we were close to that was against Towson. Today, the offense was really in a good mode. We were able to run and throw well.
Sophomore quarterback Zach Bednarczyk:
On converting third downs: Last week I think we were like 2-for-11 on third down, so one of our goals for this week was to be able to convert third downs. We had a couple penalties and we were still able to convert. [Elon] just beat William & Mary last week, so this week was a really tough week of practice because we knew we couldn’t take them lightly. We came out and played – minus the penalties – extremely well.
On the efficiency of the Villanova offense: It seemed like really everything was working. If we didn’t have penalties, we could have scored more points. It was like we had good chemistry today. Everything seemed to be clicking.