Villanova football beats Delaware, puts Blue Hens’ postseason bid in jeopardy
Delaware has put themselves in a tough situation has they hold on to hope that they will get an NCAA at large bid into postseason play.
NEWARK, Del. — For yet another year, Villanova has the bragging rights from the "Battle of the Blue."
The visiting Wildcats rolled up 459 yards and led most of the game before pulling away in the fourth quarter, to beat Delaware, 42-21, on Saturday. For the second straight year, Villanova seriously threatened the Blue Hens' chance of getting one of the the Colonial Athletic Association's at-large bids to the NCAA playoffs.
"I think we saw the team today that went up and played Temple," winning 19-17 in Week 1, Delaware coach Danny Rocco said. "That is the team that we saw."
"What they did is what they do," Rocco said.
The game began with a controversial safety. Officials reversed the call, and Delaware took advantage, marching 75 yards on six plays, with redshirt freshman running back DeJoun Lee scoring on a 38-yard jaunt.
Villanova tied the game after senior quarterback Zach Bednarczyk connected with senior receiver Jarrett McClenton for 81 yards, for the fifth-longest pass in program history. Bednarczyk then ran it in from the 6.
The Wildcats promptly regained the ball when junior defensive lineman Jafonta Johnson intercepted Pat Kehoe's pass deep in Delaware territory. Senior running back Aaron Forbes capped a four-play drive with a 1-yard run to give Villanova the lead for good.
Trailing 21-7, in the third quarter, Delaware tried to get back into the game, scoring on a 2-yard Lee run and a 43-yard pass play from redshirt freshman Nolan Henderson to freshman Joe Walker. But 'Nova answered each of those touchdowns with scoring drives of 70 and 75 yards, and added a score late in the fourth quarter, after a Blue Hens fumble.
"Well, there has been a lot of moving parts," Villanova coach Mark Ferrante said. "Guys have been banged up. It was great to have almost our complete team back. … Really proud of how the guys played. It was good to have the majority of the guys, especially our upperclassmen, to be able to get back on the field."
Forbes rushed for 138 yards, while Bednarczyk hit 12 of 22 passes for 269 yards.
Lee rushed for 98 yards for Delaware, which was forced to use three quarterbacks. Kehoe, a freshman, was knocked out of the game in the first game, and Henderson played most of the game. When he got nicked up, senior J.P. Caruso spelled him. Henderson was 12-for-20 for 152 yards.
"Our defense didn't have to give up 460 yards today, that's for sure, regardless of what quarterback played," Rocco said. "To me, I'm going to take a big step back here and really reflect and be critical of myself and just moving forward here into next week."
Rocco is still hopeful his team will get a postseason bid.
"There will be a couple, one or more CAA teams with 7-4 records in the playoffs," he said. "I've got no idea if Delaware will be one of them. Our league's going to get multiple bids. Speaking on behalf of our league, it would be a crying shame if we didn't."