DURHAM, N.H. -- Villanova carried a 13-point lead into halftime of Saturday’s Colonial Athletic Association game against New Hampshire. But not even the staunchest New Hampshire fan could have expected what happened after that.
Villanova allowed three second-half touchdowns and failed to score in the final two quarters as New Hampshire fought back for a 28-20 victory.
Villanova (6-3, 3-3 CAA) was limited to 162 yards in the second half -- 48 of which came on the team’s final drive -- and turned the ball over twice after halftime. New Hampshire quarterback Max Brosmer, a true freshman, was intercepted on his final pass of the second quarter but went 10-for-10 for 132 yards and two touchdowns in the second half.
“Tale of two halves once again,” Villanova coach Mark Ferrante said. “We did well in the first half. Moved the ball. Defense played pretty well, and then we come out and put up zero in the second half, and they have some chunk plays and put the ball in the end zone. To their credit, they made plays in the second half, and we didn’t.”
Villanova, which is ranked 11th in both national FCS polls, had a chance to force overtime after quarterback Daniel Smith scrambled for 20 yards on a fourth-and-17 play that moved the ball to the New Hampshire 32 with 20 seconds remaining. But Smith was intercepted for the third time in the game on the next play. Smith completed 21-of-40 passes for 313 yards.
New Hampshire (5-3, 4-1) trailed, 20-7, entering the third quarter but received a 31-yard touchdown run from Carlos Washington and two touchdown receptions from running back Dylan Laube (31 and 21 yards) in the second half.
It was 7-7 after one quarter, but Villanova appeared to take control by outscoring New Hampshire, 13-0, in the second. Smith found the end zone on a fourth-and-goal play to help Villanova take a 14-7 lead, and then Smith connected with senior wide receiver Zac Kerxton for a 24-yard pass that increased the lead to 20-7 with 3 minutes, 10 seconds remaining in the half.
After New Hampshire went up, 7-0, Villanova tied the game on TD Ayo-Durojaiye’s 5-yard touchdown run, plus Drew Kresge’s point after kick with 1:21 left in the first quarter.
“We need to figure out how we can play a full four quarters, because right now we’re playing three quarters,” Ferrante said. “Today we probably played well for two quarters -- the first two -- and then we seem to stall and things go sideways a little bit.”