Villanova defense forces 6 turnovers, scores in rout of Maine

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Villanova defense forces 6 turnovers, scores in rout of Maine


VILLANOVA, Pa. -- Freshman Jaquan Amos returned a fumble 99 yards for a score and the Villanova defense forced six turnovers in a 31-0 victory over Maine on Saturday.

Amos's TD was the third 99-yard fumble return in FCS history and the first since 2006. Keeling Hunter forced Maine's Drew Belcher to fumble on the Villanova 3, Amos picked it up on the 1 and ran untouched for the score.

The Wildcats (4-2, 2-1 Colonial Athletic Association) scored on their opening drive, a 20-yard pass from Jack Schetelich to Todd Summers, and led 21-0 at halftime after the defense forced three turnovers. Schetelich, 3 of 8 for 61 yards passing with an interception, scored on a 12-yard run in the third quarter.

Hunter, Malik Reaves, Trey Johnson and Rasaan Stewart picked off passes for Villanova.

The Black Bears (1-3, 0-3), who outgained the Wildcats 165-69 in the first half, were held to eight yards rushing overall by the conference's leading defense. The Villanova defense held CAA rushing leader Josh Mack to 22 yards on 18 carries.

Chris Ferguson, 15 of 24 for 138 yards passing, threw three interceptions, and Max Staver, 8 of 17 for 73, threw another.

No. 10 Villanova at Maine: Wildcats return from bye with a critical CAA clash


No. 10 Villanova at Maine: Wildcats return from bye with a critical CAA clash

No. 10 Villanova (6-2, 4-1 CAA) at Maine (5-3, 4-1 CAA)
Alfond Stadium, Orono, Maine
Saturday, noon

After getting some much-needed rest during a bye week, Villanova will look to continue to climb the national rankings. Here’s a look at the matchup:

Scouting Villanova
After seeing their five-game winning streak snapped with a 23-0 loss to Richmond, Villanova responded emphatically with a 24-13 victory over then-No. 23 Albany before its bye. Aaron Forbes, who shares carries with Javon White and Matt Gudzak in the backfield, led the way with a career-high 151 rushing yards and two touchdowns, and currently leads the ’Cats with 600 rushing yards and seven TDs. And the Wildcats’ defense had another dominant effort with nine sacks, including 3½ from junior linebacker Ed Shockley, the most by any FCS team this season. Led by senior defensive end Tanoh Kpassagnon, who’s top 10 nationally in tackles for loss and sacks, Villanova leads the CAA in sacks per game, as well as four other categories — scoring defense, total defense, rushing defense and third-down defense.

Scouting Maine
The Black Bears have been streaky this season, losing their first three games before reeling off their next five wins heading into this weekend. All five of those wins were by one score or less, including a 35-28 win over William & Mary last week. Quarterback Dan Collins threw for 280 yards and two touchdowns in that victory, and is currently averaging 222.8 passing yards per game — second best in the CAA. Collins’ favorite target is Micah Wright, one of the league’s top receivers and an explosive kick returner. Maine’s defense, though, ranks near the bottom of the CAA, allowing 27.1 points and 411.1 yards per contest.

Series history
It’s about as close as a series can be with Villanova leading 10-9 overall. But the Wildcats have won five of the last seven since 2007.

Storyline to watch
How will Villanova play after a week off? It’s always an interesting question but recent history says the Wildcats will be just fine as they’ve gone 12-3 in their last 15 games following a bye. And head coach Andy Talley said the bye came at a good time since key players like quarterback Zach Bednarczyk were recently dealing with injuries but the team is now as “healthy as we’ve been all year” heading into a tough road game.

What’s at stake?
This game has a lot of implications in the CAA title race as Villanova and Maine are among five teams with only one league loss — all of whom trail unbeaten James Madison by a game.

The fact that the Black Bears are allowing more points than they’re scoring should tell you that they’re probably not at the same level as ’Nova and the other top CAA teams.

Villanova 35, Maine 17