Lafayette

Villanova obliterates Lafayette behind Zach Bednarczyk

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USA Today Images

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.

Villanova vs. Lafayette: In return to FCS play, Wildcats host Lafayette in home opener

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Villanova vs. Lafayette: In return to FCS play, Wildcats host Lafayette in home opener

No. 7 Villanova (1-1) vs. Lafayette (0-2)
Villanova Stadium
Saturday, 6 p.m.

Fresh off an impressive showing in a loss to city rival Temple, Villanova returns to FCS play and welcomes Lafayette for its home opener.

Here’s a closer look at the matchup:

Scouting Lafayette
Picked to finish last in the Patriot League after a 2-9 season last year, the Leopards have once again struggled out of the gate. They dropped a 31-12 decision to Monmouth in their opener before falling to Sacred Heart, 38-24, last week. The good news for Lafayette is that its freshman quarterback, Sean O’Malley, threw for 287 yards and three touchdowns in just his second career start. The Leopards are also led by a first-year coach in John Garrett, who was hired to replace longtime head man Frank Tavani, making this something of a rebuilding year for a program that hasn’t had a winning season since 2009. But they do have some players Villanova will need to keep an eye on, including all-league linebacker Brandon Bryant and tight end Dylan Wadsworth.

Scouting Villanova
After opening its season with a 38-35 win over Lehigh, Villanova had a valiant effort vs. Temple last week, rallying to tie the game before losing on a late Owls field goal, 16-13. Quarterback Zach Bednarczyk threw for 382 passing yards in the game — the team’s highest single-game total since 2005 — with receivers Ryan Bell, Taurus Phillips and Changa Hodge as his top targets. Jeff Steeb (eight tackles) and the ’Nova defense also had a big performance, although the Wildcats’ rushing attack was mostly bottled up in the loss.

History
Paced by two defensive touchdowns, Villanova rolled to a 31-14 victory over Lafayette last year in the first matchup between the two programs since 1920. Lafayette won that 1920 clash, as it did in 1898, 1899, 1914 and 1920. Saturday’s game marks the first time Villanova has ever hosted Lafayette.

Storyline to watch
Villanova owns a 30-4 record against Patriot League opponents since 1985, and should have little trouble improving that mark Saturday. The biggest thing to watch is how the players handle the emotions of a home opener and how well they can control the game on the ground, led by running backs Matt Gudzak and Aaron Forbes, against an overmatched opponent.

What’s at stake?
Saturday marks the final regular season non-conference game for Villanova, which will then play eight straight CAA contests. A loss would certainly be detrimental for their FCS playoff hopes but the most important part of the Wildcats’ schedule begins next week.

Prediction
It would be a surprise if this one was close.

Villanova 49, Lafayette 10.

Villanova to host Lafayette at Allentown's PPL Center

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Villanova to host Lafayette at Allentown's PPL Center

Villanova will be playing all of its home games away from campus this season as The Pavilion undergoes renovations.

And for one night in November, the Wildcats will call Allentown home.

The program announced Monday that the 'Cats will host Lafayette at Allentown's PPL Center on Friday, Nov 17. Game time and broadcast information will be released at a later date.

This will actually mark the second time the Wildcats host a game at PPL Center, home of the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, the Flyers' AHL minor-league affiliate. The 'Cats hosted Lehigh there in November 2014 and came away with a 77-66 victory in the first college basketball game ever played at the arena, which opened in September of that year.

With the renovations to soon-to-be-rechristened Finneran Pavilion underway, Jay Wright's team is expected to play the vast majority of its games this season at the Wells Fargo Center, its home away from home for the last several years. The Wildcats' full schedule and game location details are expected to be released sometime in September.

The 'Cats are coming off a 32-4 season that included Big East regular-season and conference tournament titles and the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament but also ended in bittersweet fashion with a second-round upset loss to Wisconsin in the NCAA Tournament.

Lafayette is coming off the heels of an ugly 9-21 record that at one point included a nine-game losing streak from Jan. 11 to Feb. 5.

The Wildcats and Leopards met in last year's season opener at The Pavilion and the 'Cats promptly asserted dominance with an 88-44 victory.

Villanova's women's basketball team will also play at PPL Center on Nov. 17 as it will host Lehigh.

The Wildcats' women's team, which will play its home games this coming season on campus at Jake Nevin Fieldhouse, went 20-15 last season reached the semis of the WNIT before falling to Michigan.