11 Dec 2021 | 03:21 | Football
STONY BROOK, N.Y.—Despite scoring three touchdowns on its first four possessions of the game and taking an early 21-0 lead, the early momentum for No. 13 Villanova (3-2, 0-2 CAA Football) was ultimately unsustainable in a narrow 29-27 defeat by No. 18 Stony Brook (4-1, 2-0) at Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium on Saturday evening. The host Seawolves scored 29 unanswered and then just did hang on after the Wildcats nearly pulled off a dramatic comeback in the final minute of the game.
Villanova had three different receivers catch touchdowns from three different passers, with a pair of long passing plays early in the game fueling the Wildcats fast start. Senior quarterback Zach Bednarczyk (Wallington, N.J.) completed his first nine passes and was 12-of-14 through the air on the team’s first three drives. He finished 15-of-23 for 180 yards and a touchdown, while sophomore backup Jack Schetelich (Cranford, N.J.) went 5-of-6 for 56 yards and a score during Villanova’s late rally attempt.
Sophomore tight end Todd Summers (Murrysville, Pa.) caught five passes for 77 yards, senior slot receiver Jarrett McClenton (Bensalem, Pa.) had 65 yards on three catches and sophomore Changa Hodge (East Stroudsburg, Pa.) tallied 64 yards on two receptions. All three scored touchdowns, while junior tight end Simon Bingelis (Brick, N.J.) caught a team-high six passes for 40 yards. A total of eight receivers combined for 292 yards to continue the team’s recent success in the passing game.
Bednarczyk’s third pass of the game was a 54-yard strike to Summers, who then caught a five-yard touchdown pass three plays later for the game’s first points. Senior running back Aaron Forbes (Newburgh, N.Y.) scored on a two-yard run in the second quarter to extend the lead to 14-0. Hodge scored on a 56-yard catch on a trick play with 5:32 to go before halftime to give the Wildcats a 21-0 advantage. Bednarczyk lateraled the ball to senior wide receiver Adeyemi DaSilva (Edgewater, N.J.) – a former Villanova backup under center – who threw the long touchdown pass to Hodge to complete the early scoring burst.
Stony Brook found its footing late in the first half when Julius Wingate scored on a 15-yard touchdown pass with 1:51 left in the second quarter. The point-after try failed and the Wildcats took a 21-6 lead into the locker rooms. Villanova received the opening kickoff after the intermission but lost a fumble after a 30-yard return and the Seawolves took over with good field position at the Wildcats 37-yard line.
An eight-play drive that used up less than three minutes of clock time resulted in a three-yard touchdown run by Donald Liotine which further trimmed the Villanova lead to 21-13 with 12:04 remaining in the third quarter. After the Wildcats eventually punted and pinned Stony Brook at their own three-yard line less than two minutes later, the Seawolves drove 97 yards down the field and tied the score at 21-21 on Wingate’s 26-yard touchdown reception and a successful two-point conversion on a pass from Joe Carbone to Donavin Washington.
Villanova started a drive from its own 12-yard line with 2:08 to play in the third quarter and quickly ran into trouble. Bednarczyk rushed for a loss of three yards and then was sacked for a loss of nine yards which led to a Stony Brook safety with 1:31 to play in the period. The two points scored on the safety gave the Seawolves their first lead of the night at 23-21, and the margin wound up being the difference in the game.
With the lead in hand, Stony Brook ate up more than five minutes of clock time in the middle of the fourth quarter before Carbone’s five-yard touchdown pass to Cal Daniels extended the Seawolves lead with only 4:13 remaining in the contest. Stony Brook missed their second extra point of the game however, and the Wildcats got the ball back in what was still a one-possession game.
Schetelich was in at quarterback by this point and he efficiently marched Villanova down the field with hopes of a comeback still alive. He converted on 3rd-and-9 with a 14-yard pass to McClenton after a Wildcats timeout with 1:11 to play, then hit McClenton again on the next play for a 25-yard touchdown pass which pulled Villanova to within 29-27. Following consecutive timeouts by the Seawolves, a pass attempt by Schetelich for what would have been a game-tying two-point conversion was unsuccessful.
Senior safety Rob Rolle (Newfield, N.J.) had a game-high 10 total tackles and also recovered a fumble in the first quarter which gave the Wildcats the ball for their first drive of the game. Senior linebacker Jeff Steeb (Sweetwater, N.J.) and sophomore cornerback Jaquan Amos (Philadelphia, Pa.) had eight tackles apiece.
The game was the first between the two CAA Football foes since Stony Brook’s inaugural year in the conference in 2013. The outcome marked the second time that Villanova has fallen at LaValle Stadium, where the Seawolves tallied an opening round playoff victory in 2012 during their final year in the Big South Conference.
A second straight road trip awaits the Wildcats next week when they travel to Maine. Kickoff next Saturday in Orono is at 3:30 p.m.
December 11th, 2021
December 11th, 2021