Villanova looks to build on big win over Temple

The Wildcats will take to the road to face Lehigh on Saturday.

Matt Leon
September 06, 2018 - 12:06 pm
Villanova senior quarterback Zach Bednarczyk

Villanova University Athletics

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) -- The Villanova Wildcats will take to the road this weekend, heading up to Bethlehem for a non-conference game against Lehigh on Saturday afternoon.

Villanova opened its season in fine fashion on Saturday, stunning Temple, 19-17, at the Lincoln Financial Field.

"We're excited the way the guys came out and played in the first game," Villanova head coach Mark Ferrante says. "No matter who you play, whenever you get a first opening season win, that's exciting. But the fact that it was against a team a level up in the (Football Bowl Subdivision), it was good to see our guys come out and compete the way they did for four quarters. We definitely had some moments that we need to correct, but there were a lot of positives as well. So it's something we can build off of for sure."

Villanova got a brilliant performance from senior quarterback Zach Bednarczyk in the win over the Owls. He finished 29 of 40 for 254 yards and three touchdowns with just one interception. Senior running back Aaron Forbes led the ground attack with 111 yards, averaging 6.9 yards per carry.

On defense, Villanova did a tremendous job shutting down Temple's running game, holding the Owls to 46 yards and an average of just 2.1 yards per carry.

"That's what we focus on to be honest with you," Ferrante says of the run defense. "Our defense does it to us in practice, when we go good-on-good in spring and in preseason, they are always are yelling, 'They can't run on us, they can't run on us.' So it is a tough defense to run the ball against with some of the things that we do schematically."

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Villanova and Lehigh met last year in the season opener for both teams. Villanova picked up a wild 38-35 win. It was Ferrante's first victory as Villanova head coach. 

The Mountain Hawks are also 1-0 heading into Saturday. They held off Saint Francis (PA) last week, 21-19. Lehigh is coached by former University of Pennsylvania offensive coordinator Andy Coen.

"They have an explosive offense," Ferrante says. "Two of the three facets that they had against us last year, meaning the (senior) quarterback (Brad) Mayes and the (senior) running back (Dom) Bragalone (are back). They did lose a couple wideouts, but they have plenty of wideouts in the program as well. Last year, they scored more points against us than anybody the whole season."

Bragalone was huge in Lehigh's season-opening win over Saint Francis, finishing with 137 yards and three touchdowns.

Saturday's game will kickoff at 12:30 p.m. 

You can follow Matt on Twitter @Mattleon1060.