Villanova moves into tie for best conference record

By Scott Cournoyer

Courtesy of Villanova Media Relations
Thanks to a 28-7 victory over Richmond on Saturday, Villanova moved into a three-way tie for the best record in the Colonial Athletic Association. The win marks the Wildcats’ third-straight victory, continuing a home winning streak that now stands at 15, including 23 wins in the last 24 home games.

Quarterback Chris Whitney put on a running display, tallying 118 yards on the ground on 11 carries, including a 45-yard touchdown run on the Wildcats’ second possession with just over five minutes left in the first quarter. Whitney had three touchdowns on the day, with two coming through the air, including one on a 5-yard connection to receiver Norman White on the third possession. Villanova ran for 244 total yards on the ground, marking their third consecutive game with 200-plus rushing yards.

Although much of the offense came on the ground for the Wildcats, the story of the game was the defense.
Linebacker Marquis Kirkland led Villanova on defense, racking up 11 tackles and two of the team’s seven tackles for losses. The defense created four turnovers, with two on forced fumbles and two by interceptions from defensive backs James Pitts and Eric Loper. The Wildcats’ defense has now only allowed one touchdown or less in five of eight games this season.

UNC prevails

William and Mary (6-2, 4-1 CAA) held a double-digit lead in the fourth quarter Saturday against Atlantic Coastal Conference representative North Carolina before giving up 14 unanswered points on their way to a 21-17 loss, snapping a six-game winning streak. The Tribe remain winless against UNC in 14 meetings.

After senior Mike Callahan went down with an injury that knocked him out for the game, the Tribe’s Michael Paulus stepped in, completing 24-of-35 passes, racking up 209 yards through the air and two touchdowns.

Both touchdowns went to receiver Chase Hill, one on a 6-yard pass and another on a 9-yard connection. The Tribe had four players with five-plus receptions and three with over 50 receiving yards.

The score remained 17-7 after three quarters of play, with W&M outgaining the Tar Heels in total offense, 192-141, at halftime. Linebacker Dante Cook recorded his fifth double-digit tackle performance in his last six games, providing hope for the Tribe as they attempted to claim their first victory over UNC in the series.

Behind 280 total yards of offense in the second half, however, UNC was able to rally and take the lead with just over five minutes left to play in the game. Running back Johnny White took it to the house on 67-yard touchdown run, giving the Tar Heels a 21-17 lead, proving to be the game winner.

CAA honors

Quarterback Chris Whitney, behind 118 yards and three total touchdowns was named this week’s CAA Offensive Player of the Week. Whitney helped the Tribe rush for 244 yards on his way to leading the Wildcats to a 28-7 victory over Richmond.

Saturday’s performance marked Whitney’s sixth 100-yard rushing performance in his career and puts him in the lead with seven touchdowns on the ground for Villanova.

Linebacker Kyle Polk led Towson’s (1-7, 0-5 CAA) defense with a game-high 13 tackles and two sacks against Rhode Island on Saturday. The true freshman limited the Rams to just 74 yards rushing while making three stops behind the line of scrimmage. Polk has 41 tackles on the season for the Tigers, including six plays behind the line of scrimmage.

Scott Cournoyer can be reached at [email protected]