Villanova 44 – Rhode Island 21: Rhody Comes Alive Late but Wildcats Still Prevail

Villanova Wildcats quarterback John Robertson (19) drops back to pass. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports
Colorado State Rams
Kentucky Wildcats

The Rhode Island Rams used a late offensive explosion to build some momentum heading into next week, but they still dropped a 44-21 decision to the Villanova Wildcats this afternoon. The game probably wasn’t as close as the final score indicates; in fact, it’s fair to say that this one could have been worse. But 21 unanswered points is 21 unanswered points, and URI answered a lot of critics (*waves*) that thought ‘Nova would cover the 45-point spread. Still, the loss drops the Rams to 0-6 (0-2) on the year and clinches a thirteenth-straight season in which the Rams will not finish above .500.

Not surprisingly, the story in the first half was Wildcats QB John Robertson. The Walter Peyton Trophy favorite threw a pair of touchdown passes in each of the first two quarters as ‘Nova built a 37-0 lead at halftime.

But the bigger story of the first half was an injury to URI quarterback Mack Lowrie. With a little under eight minutes remaining in the second quarter, Lowrie suffered an injury to what appeared to be his right shoulder. His shoulder pads were off on the sideline soon after, and he did not return to the game.

Villanova went right to their back-ups to start the second half, and Rhody made them pay. Rhode Island actually held the Wildcats scoreless in the third quarter before backup QB Chris Polony added another ‘Nova score at the start of the fourth. From there, URI’s James Caparell went to work.

With 9:38 remaining in the fourth quarter, Cappy was set up on the Villanova 20, and he took advantage. After connecting with Phadrae White for 18 yards on fourth and nine, Jordan Sebastian did the rest, punching it in from one yard out to put the Rams on the board.

After a three-and-out from the Wildcats, Caparell needed just one play. He hit Robbie Jackson for a 58-yard TD strike and the Rhode Island offense was in business. The defense felt it, too. Rhody forced a fumble on ‘Nova’s next play from scrimmage, forcing Wildcats head coach Andy Talley to go back to his first-team defense.

Cappy wasn’t phased. He hit Jackson with another deep ball – this time from 23 yards out – as the Rams racked up 14 points in 26 seconds. Efficient would be an understatement.

In the end, Villanova was clearly too much as their 37-point cushion was never really in jeopardy. The Rams probably didn’t scare the Wildcats down the stretch, although they sure as heck frustrated them. We’ll have more on this one coming up tomorrow.