LEWISBURG, Pa. -- Villanova’s vaunted offense was at it again Saturday night, rolling up 386 total yards in a 45-10 rout of Bucknell.
All that offense, though, was just the icing on a cake that the Wildcats defense baked. In fact, by the time Villanova’s offense picked up a first down, the defense had already given the Wildcats (3-0) a lead they never relinquished.
Junior quarterback Daniel Smith, who went into the game ranked fourth in the nation in total points accounted for -- a combination of touchdown passes and rushing touchdowns -- padded that rank by throwing three touchdowns and running for another. And Justin Covington ran for more than 100 yards for the third straight game, finishing with 119 yards on just seven carries.
That early lead supplied by the defense came on the third play of the game, when Northeast High graduate Jaquan Amos picked off a John Chiarolanzio pass and ran it back 34 yards for his second pick-six of the season.
It was the third straight game in which Villanova’s defense put points on the board.
“It’s a huge momentum boost when you come out for your first drive already ahead 7-0,” said Smith, who was an efficient 12-for-23 passing for 109 yards. “It is a lot easier to play from ahead."
Villanova freshman DeeWil Barlee, an Episcopal Academy graduate, contributed his first career touchdown with a 78-yard run in the third quarter
Bucknell’s offense netted 9 yards and gave away seven points on its first three possessions. That pretty much set the tone. The Bison (0-3) did manage 150 yards of offense in the first half, but 105 of that came on two big plays, and Bucknell was unable to capitalize on both.
The Bison did get a third-quarter field goal, and they scored a fourth-period touchdown against the Wildcats reserves. But even that was hardly the defense’s fault.
Bucknell’s touchdown was set up by a fumble at the Villanova 16-yard line. Overall, Villanova held Bucknell to just 46 yards on the ground, with 34 of those coming in the fourth period after the starters had been pulled. The Bison managed only 10 first downs all night.