__VU’s Young scorches defense for five TDs; team unable to overcome turnovers, three unanswered scores__
Costly turnovers and poor field position doomed the Tribe from the get-go, as the College (3-3) was unable to rebound from three unanswered scores en route to a 63-24 defeat at the hands of Villanova University Saturday.
p. Sophomore defensive back David Caldwell fumbled back-to-back kickoffs in the first quarter, leading to touchdown drives of 17 and 21 yards, respectively, for the Wildcats, who amassed 505 total yards against a Tribe defense that has looked spotty at times this season, but had taken positive steps over the past few weeks.
p. “It was a very unusual game, and I don’t think I’ve seen one that’s gotten away from us as fast as that one did,” Head Coach Jimmye Laycock said. “They get the ball, score, we get the ball, score, and the next thing you know, boom boom we don’t see the ball again and we’re down by I don’t know how much. Villanova got hot.”
p. Sophomore quarterback Antwon Young keyed Villanova’s offensive outburst and capitalized on their strong field position by picking apart the Tribe’s secondary for 216 passing yards and five total touchdowns. Young completed 76.9 percent of his passes and rushed for 38 yards in an offensive effort that rivaled University of Delaware running back Omar Cuff’s seven-touchdown performance against the Tribe in the season opener.
p. Junior quarterback Jake Phillips continued his string of strong outings under center for the College, passing for 291 yards and two touchdowns in three quarters of action. He also rushed for a score. Phillips connected with redshirt freshman wide receiver Cameron Dohse for a 24-yard touchdown strike to pull the Tribe within 14 points at the end of the first quarter. Dohse hauled in six passes for a career-high 117 yards. But the Tribe would not find the end zone again until late in the third quarter, when Phillips hit junior wide receiver Elliot Mack for a 73-yard catch-and-run score that set the mark for Phillips’ career-long touchdown pass and Mack’s career-long touchdown grab.
p. “I thought Jake Phillips had a fine game, I thought Cameron Dohse had a good game, Courtland Marriner, we had some guys that played really well,” Laycock said. “I think defensively we kind of lost our poise a little bit and didn’t play as solidly as we need to, and things kind of snowballed.”
p. Laycock certainly described it best, as the Tribe had one bad break after another. In a 10-minute stretch from the middle of the first quarter to the beginning of the second, Villanova needed just 164 yards and 20 plays to score 28 points. The Wildcats converted third-down attempts of four or more yards on all five of the team’s first-half touchdowns, including a 39-yard score on third and 15 and 16-yard score on third and nine on back-to-back possessions.
p. “We didn’t do a real good job on third down,” Laycock said. “We had some third down situations that we let really get away from us. Credit Villanova, they did a nice job offensively, got rolling, and executed really well.”
p. The Tribe’s explosive redshirt freshman running back Courtland Marriner, who is continuing his comeback from a hand injury, turned in a solid outing as the Tribe’s feature back. Marriner averaged just over five yards per carry on 16 attempts, totaling 81 rushing yards for the day.
p. “I felt pretty good with Courtland, I thought he did all right,” Laycock said. “Because of the nature of the game we didn’t attempt to run the ball that much, but I thought he felt more comfortable in there and he seemed to be pretty sure of himself and ran hard. He broke some tackles.”
p. The loss is a setback for the College, as the team had looked to carry momentum over from its impressive victory against Towson University a week ago, but the ups and downs are to be expected from the young team.
p. “Our players will bounce back,” Laycock said. “They want to play well and it’s our job to help them get better, help them keep working to improve and keep trying to play hard.”
p. The Tribe’s first chance at redemption will be Saturday at 3 p.m., when the team heads up to the University of Maine to battle the Black Bears.