Sunday, September 1, 2013

Quartered: A Villanova-BC postmortem

After being in a very good position after 30 minutes yesterday, Villanova just lost the ability to deal the depth of a BCS team on a hot, humid afternoon, as they were thoroughly outclassed by Boston College in the second half, as you might expect from a road team that has 22 fewer scholarship players than their hosts. Despite the 24-14 loss, a couple of concerning injuries, and the fact that Villanova was shut out over the final three quarters, this loss was not entirely a negative result, because there were several silver linings Villanova fans can take from it.

Things I liked:
  1. The entire first quarter- Villanova dominated the first quarter of the game, scoring their only points of the game in that quarter, both touchdowns by Jamal Abdur-Rahman.
  2. John Robertson, Jamal Abdur-Rahman, and Poppy Livers- These three players accounted for almost all of Villanova's total yardage. Last season, Poppy Livers was largely a special teams player who saw some snaps as slot receiver, but this year he looks like he could be a real weapon in the slot, as he had career highs of eight catches and 90 yards in the opener. The aforementioned Abdur-Rahman is just an explosive athlete, finishing with 57 rushing yards and 41 receiving yards with the two touchdowns. As for John Robertson, he struggled at times, but his ability to move the offense was a good sign, even if Villanova didn't score after the first quarter, and the costly turnovers. 
  3. Joey Harmon- A career high 15 total tackles and a forced fumble. Harmon seems primed for a huge season.
  4. Mark Hamilton- 46 yards per punt on five punts is not bad at all, even if the one 66 yarder was a bit of an outlier. 
  5. The fake punt- I love gutsy shit like that. 
Things I didn't like: 
  1. Handoffs to Monangai- It was pretty clear early on that BC was not going to let Kevin Monangai beat them on the ground, but he was still given handoffs. It was just too predictable. 
  2. Injuries- Senior linebacker/defensive leader Patrick Haggerty looked to suffer a pretty serious knee injury while he was covering a kickoff in the second half. An injury to Haggerty could be a deathblow, especially because Dillon Lucas is already on the sideline with a big brace on his knee. Also, senior defensive tackle Antoine Lewis suffered a lower leg injury, but returned to the game fairly soon afterward.
  3. The wounded duck- The intercepted pass thrown by Gary Underwood in the second quarter was a head scratcher. There's a reason that he is playing running back and not quarterback in college.
Villanova will look to get their first win of the season next week at Fordham. 

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