Whitney and 'Nova run over Lehigh, 38-17

Posted: September 13, 2009

Villanova quarterback Chris Whitney established a career high for single-game rushing yards. Wide receiver Matt Szczur took a direct snap and turned it into a 75-yard run on his way to the first 100-yard rushing game of his career. Running back Aaron Ball broke off a 39-yard sprint that was good for six points, and linebacker Marlon Johnson picked up a fumble and returned it 19 yards for another touchdown.

The third-ranked Wildcats easily brushed aside Lehigh, 38-17, in a nonleague game last night at Villanova Stadium.

Yet Wildcats coach Andy Talley wasn't that happy, even though his team had a 24-7 halftime advantage after totaling 273 yards of total offense to 82 for Lehigh.

"I told them at halftime that we're overrated," Talley said. "I thought we had a lot of good individual efforts, but we just didn't play compactly enough as a team. I think our competition is going to get increasingly better. I don't think we played great tonight."

It was the home opener for Colonial Athletic Association co-favorite Villanova (2-0).

The Wildcats broke open the game by scoring the last 14 points of the second quarter. The Mountain Hawks (0-2) had gotten within 10-7 after a 1-yard touchdown run by running back Jaren Walker with 9 minutes, 33 seconds remaining in the second quarter. But the Wildcats were up by 31-10 entering the fourth.

In damp conditions, Villanova opened with a 10-play, 66-yard drive capped by Whitney's 21-yard TD run. The quarterback finished with 130 yards on 14 carries to surpass his previous best of 102 yards last season against Delaware.

"That's how I play," Whitney said about taking off with the ball. "That's my mind-set."

On the Wildcats' next possession, Szczur picked up a large chunk of his 103 rushing yards when he used the left side of the field to reach the 2-yard line after breaking four tackles on a joy ride of a run. 'Nova got only a field goal out of the possession.

"I wish I had got that touchdown, I'll tell you that," Szczur said.

Contact staff writer Kevin Tatum at 215-854-2583 or ktatum@phillynews.com.

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