One reason Villanova remains alive in the Football Championship subdivision playoffs is the Wildcats ability to play their best in clutch situations.
In Saturday's 29-22 win over Liberty that advanced Villanova to Saturday's 1 p.m. quarterfinal against visiting Sam Houston State, the Wildcats won a game on their final offensive possession for the third time this year and second in two weeks.
The Wildcats went 84 yards on 18 plays and broke the tie on John Robertson's 1-yard touchdown run with 1 minute and 12 seconds remaining.
All 18 plays were on the ground and there were no penalties by either team.
In its final regular season game, a 35-28 win at Delaware, Villanova was trailing 28-27 before Robertson hit Kevin Guylas with a 21 yard touchdown pass with 23 seconds left. (The Wildcats Poppy Livers then caught a two-point conversion pass from Robertson).
Had Villanova lost that game, it's possible the Wildcats might not have received a first round playoff bye.
In an earlier 35-31 win at William & Mary, Gulyas caught a 13 yard pass from Robertson with 52 seconds left.
"I think at this point of the season it becomes part of your DNA," Villanova coach Andy Talley said. "At some point in time your luck is going to run out."
Talley understands that the Wildcats (11-2) must play a cleaner game against Sam Houston State. The Wildcats fumbled the ball six times, losing four of them. They fumbled three times on offense and had another hit off a player while receiving a punt on special teams.
"We have made enough mistakes that the law of averages went back our way," Talley said.
What it showed was a mental toughness in a team that did enough to advance, without many style points.
"I think we're a really mature group," said Robertson, who passed for 217 yards and one touchdown and rushed for 100 yards and two scores. "When I fumbled the ball, nobody put their head down. We just thought that if we did what we needed to did, it would all work out."