Another 'Nova-Penn classic
Once again, the Wildcats and Quakers put on a show, but that’s been the nature of this rivalry since it resumed on an annual basis in 2002. Although Villanova has won all eight meetings, the average margin of victory has been 9.6 points.
The game came down to the wire again Saturday night as the Wildcats scored 13 points in the final five minutes to erase a 10-9 deficit.
Two plays made the difference for the top-ranked Wildcats.
The first was an unbelievable tackle by linebacker Terence Thomas that prevented a touchdown in the third quarter.
Penn quarterback Bill Ragone found Matt Tuten along the Penn sideline. Cornerback Eric Loper gambled and went for the interception. He missed and Tuten appeared to have a clear path to the end zone.
However, Thomas tracked Tuten down and limited the Penn receiver to a 31-yard gain.
Instead of a touchdown and a 14-7 lead, the Quakers settled for a 10-9 advantage when Andrew Swanson booted a 19-yard field goal.
But the play that won it was Penn’s decision to blitz on Chris Whitney’s 21-yard touchdown pass to Norman White that gave the Wildcats a 15-10 lead late in the fourth quarter. Whitney read the blitz, stepped up in the pocket and threw a strike to White for the winning TD.
The loss was doubly tough for the Quakers. Running back Lyle Marsh left the game with a broken arm.
The Wildcats suffered two more injuries. Matt Szczur went down with a sprained left ankle. His status for Saturday’s game with William & Mary is up in the air. Linebacker Anthony Johnson could be out 4-6 weeks with a strained left knee.
The Wolves are more disciplined. They’re still at a disadvantage in terms of depth and overall talent compared to the rest of the teams in the PSAC. But the team is not the disorganized mess it has been in the past.
Quarterback Chris Anderson is a dual threat in Cheyney’s triple option attack and Marcus Jones is a solid runner.
The Wolves still have a long way to go, but at least they’re showing signs of improvement.
Pete Massaro (Marple Newtown All-Delco) put the finishing touches on Penn State’s 22-13 victory over Temple when he sacked Owls quarterback Chester Stewart, forced and recovered a fumble. The sophomore defensive end finished with three tackles in his second career start.
Quarterback Marc Verica (Monsignor Bonner) completed 16 of 23 passes for 224 yards and three touchdowns at Virginia blasted VMI, 48-7. Senior free safety Trey Womack (Springfield/Malvern Prep) was in on three tackles for the Cavaliers.
Bowling Green senior Kamar Jorden (Penn Wood All-Delco) ranks second in the nation in receptions per game (10.33) and 11th in receiving yards per game (103.25). Jorden has 40 receptions for 413 yards and one touchdown. He had six receptions for 70 yards as the Falcons fell to Michigan, 65-21.
Syracuse has won two in a row, but don’t get excited. The wins have come over two I-AA schools Maine (38-14) and Colgate (42-7)
Brown stunned preseason Ivy favorite Harvard, 29-14. The Bears held the Crimson to minus-16 yards rushing and 112 yards in total offense. Meanwhile, the Brown offense, with Brian Ellixson (Haverford High) at right guard, had 296 yards in total offense and used five Alexander Norocea field goals to win the first home night game in school history.
Linebackers Ryan McCabe (Newtown Square/Malvern Prep) and Pat O’Donnell (Penncrest) combined for 11 tackles at Georgetown topped Holy Cross, 17-7. McCabe had 7.5 stops and O’Donnell 3.5. The Hoyas are 3-1 overall and 2-0 in the Patriot League.