Villanova outlasts Lehigh for 38-35 season-opening win


Villanova captains lock arms before their game against Lehigh.

FACEBOOK GAMEDAY GALLERY: Villanova Wildcats 38, Lehigh Mountain Hawks, 35

BETHLEHEM, Penn. – It was the kind of early-season game that deserves a sequel.

And it’s not out of the question that it could happen in the FCS playoffs as the No. 10 Villanova Wildcats outlasted the No. 17 Lehigh Mountain Hawks in a 38-35 shootout.

Villanova struck quickly with a touchdown drive right out of the gate that took only four plays while covering 67 yards. Zach Bednarczyk and Ryan Bell combined on a 13-yard touchdown play to end the drive, but Lehigh would eventually tie the game at seven apiece on a 4-yard Dom Bragalone touchdown blast.

The Wildcats then shifted gears taking a 21-7 lead on back-to-back touchdown drives before the Mountain Hawks managed to cut that to 21-14. Lehigh then had an opportunity to even the score again before fumbling deep in Villanova territory. The Wildcats’ Rob Rolle scooped it up and returned it 85 yards, but the play was negated by a block in the back.

It didn’t matter as the Wildcats still drove the field for a touchdown with Matt Gudzak covering the final 33 yards on his own for a 28-14 halftime lead.

Lehigh came out firing to open the second half scoring on a 66-yard touchdown pass from Brad Mayes to Luke Christiano only to see Bednarczyk answer with a 75-yarder of his own to Taurus Phillips. Unbowed, Lehigh responded yet again with another touchdown drive to make it 35-28 before a 38-yard Drew Kresge field goal gave the Wildcats the final points they would need to offset a late Lehigh touchdown.

Villanova’s next game is against the Temple Owls on Saturday while Lehigh will try to get on the winning track with a game at Monmouth.


 

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