Villanova football

Albany upsets Villanova with fumble return in OT

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Albany upsets Villanova with fumble return in OT

ALBANY, N.Y. -- Eli Mencer scooped up a fumble and, with no one in front of him, sprinted 80 yards for a score, lifting Albany to a 19-10 overtime upset of Villanova Saturday night.

After Albany took a 13-10 lead in overtime on Ethan Stark's third field goal of the night, Zach Bednarczyk moved Villanova to a fourth-and-one at the 16. But he was stripped of the ball. Mencer bent down, scooped it up and ran for the TD amid a phalanx of teammates.

The win is the first time Albany (3-1, 1-0 Colonial Athletic Association) has beaten Villanova (2-2, 0-1) ranked No. 8 in the FCS coaches poll. The Wildcats drove 87 yards and knotted the score at 10-10 when Aaron Forbes took a shovel pass and scored with no time left in regulation.

Villanova held Albany to 95 yards rushing, the sixth-straight game of holding an opponent to less than 100. Three Wildcats fumbles were turned into three field goals by the Great Danes.

No. 7 Villanova at Albany: Taking on strong defense in conference opener

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CSN

No. 7 Villanova at Albany: Taking on strong defense in conference opener

No. 7 Villanova (2-1, 0-0 CAA) at Albany (2-1, 0-0 CAA)
Tom & Mary Casey Stadium, Albany, New York
Saturday, 7 p.m.

It’s time for conference play as Villanova kicks off its CAA slate this weekend. Here’s a look at the matchup:

Scouting Villanova
The Wildcats asserted their FCS dominance last week with a 59-0 thrashing of overmatched Lafayette. That came two weeks after a win over another Patriot League team in Lehigh, which preceded an impressive showing in a loss to FBS Temple. All of which is to say that the Wildcats head into conference play as good as advertised as one of the juggernauts in the CAA, led by quarterback Zach Bednarczyk (who completed 13 of 15 passes for 237 yards and two touchdowns last week), a balanced rushing attack (also last week: seven different ball carriers combined to run for 262 yards and three TDs), and a defense that slowed down Temple and had two TDs vs. Lafayette (and was among the nation’s best last season).

Scouting Albany
After losing to Old Dominion in their opener, the Great Danes have won two straight, shutting out Morgan State, 26-0, and doubling up Monmouth, 28-14. In last week’s win over Monmouth, redshirt sophomore quarterback Will Brunson threw for one touchdown and ran for another while the Albany defense, led by redshirt senior linebacker Nate Hatalsky (15 tackles), held one of FCS’s top rushing teams to just 63 yards on the ground. Picked to finish sixth in the CAA in the preseason, Albany also features an all-league running back in junior Elijah Ibitokun-Hanks, who scored a TD in his season debut last week after sitting out the first two games with an injury.

History
Villanova leads the all-time series, 3-0, having defeated the Great Danes in each of the past three seasons.

Storyline to watch
Albany’s defense is off to a solid start, ranking second in the CAA in both total defense and passing defense. Bednarczyk and company had a field day with Lehigh and Lafayette but it will be interesting to see how they manage the game, and balance the run vs. pass, against a more proficient defensive unit.

What’s at stake?
Winning on the road is never easy but if it wants to win the CAA, Villanova is going to have to stay unblemished until facing league powerhouse and defending national champion James Madison in mid-October.

Prediction
The Wildcats will immediately show why they’re one of the CAA’s best teams.

Villanova 28, Albany 17

Villanova obliterates Lafayette behind Zach Bednarczyk

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Villanova obliterates Lafayette behind Zach Bednarczyk

Zach Bednarczyk threw for two scores and ran for another, Ryan Bell had a career-high five catches for 119 yards, and Villanova routed Lafayette 59-0 in its home opener on Saturday.

Villanova (2-1) scored on its first three possessions, led 49-0 at halftime after holding the Leopards to 25 total yards, and wasn't forced to punt until the fourth quarter.

Bednarczyk scored on a 4-yard keeper, then hit Bell with 4- and 37-yard TD passes. Jaquan Amos and Keeling Hunter each returned interceptions for TDs, Taurus Phillips returned a punt 64 yards for a score, and Matt Gudzak ran it in from the 2 -- all before halftime.

Bednarczyk was 13 of 15 for 237 yards passing before being replaced in the third quarter. Aaron Forbes gained 78 yards on 11 carries and Corey Russo scored on a 1-yard run.

The Wildcats outgained the Leopards (0-3) 505 to 77 in total offense and held them to minus-12 yards rushing.