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Zach Bednarczyk gives Villanova a veteran quarterback

New Wildcats coach Mark Ferrante said he can build the offense around his third-year starting quarterback.

In a 2016 game, Nova QB Zach Bednarczyk scrambles during first-half action against Albany.
In a 2016 game, Nova QB Zach Bednarczyk scrambles during first-half action against Albany.Read moreEd Hille / Staff Photographer

BALTIMORE — Three years have passed, but Villanova senior safety Rob Rolle says now that he knew Zach Bednarczyk would be a winning quarterback for the Wildcats when the two were freshmen.

Bednarczyk redshirted that year. The next season, he sat behind John Robertson, who piled up 3,924 yards and 46 touchdowns passing and rushing and won the Walter Payton Award in 2014.

So how did Rolle know that Bednarczyk would become Villanova's next star quarterback?

"Because he was lighting guys up on the scout team," Rolle said.

Bednarczyk had to do more than that in 2015 when Robertson suffered a career-ending torn posterior cruciate ligament in Week 3 against Delaware. In his debut, the 6-foot-1, 200-pound Bednarczyk orchestrated a comeback win.

Villanova went just 4-4 with him the rest of the season. Two years later, as first-year head coach Mark Ferrante begins forging an identity for this Villanova team, he thinks he knows a good place to look.

"If you have your starting quarterback back," Ferrante said, "it's a pretty good place to start."

Villanova now boasts one of the more experienced quarterbacks in the Colonial Athletic Association with two more years of eligibility. Bednarczyk almost doubled his 2015 touchdown pass output last season (10 to 18) and threw for nearly 40 more yards per game. He is the Wildcats' engine on offense.

"We knew he was going to be our guy," Rolle said.

Of course, there have been struggles. In Villanova's four losses last year — to Pittsburgh and three top-10 FCS teams — Bednarczyk completed just 48.2 percent of his passes for an average of 119 yards per game, one touchdown and seven interceptions. The Wildcats scored 21 total points in those games, managing just two offensive touchdowns.

But Bednarczyk's teammates know what he's capable of.

"Obviously, everyone knows he's had his rough games, his rough plays. But as a team and as someone I'm really close with, that's someone I'm going to stick by regardless," Rolle said. "Because when you watch him get hit 10 times and keep getting up … that's a tough guy."

The Wildcats, 9-4 last season, also know where Bednarczyk can take them when he's playing well. In their nine wins last season, Bednarczyk completed 67 percent of his throws for an average of 186.8 yards per game, 18 touchdowns and three interceptions.

"He's never really rowdy, not hyped up," Rolle said. "He's always real calm and collected. Very businesslike on the football field. That's kind of how his personality is — a really cool dude."