The Wildcats have outscored their last two opponents, 45-0, in the second half the last two weeks. In last week's 28-13 win over visiting Fordham, Villanova trailed 13-7 at halftime before scoring 21 unanswered points in the second half.
"It was the exact replica of last week," said Villanova coach Andy Talley, whose team visits Penn on Saturday. "We struggled a little bit in the first half with penalties again and that is very disconcerting. And we had passes knocked down and it was really difficult getting anything going."
There was no difficulty the final two quarters.
"It kind of looks like they wore us down a little bit in the second half," said Rhode Island coach Joe Trainer, a former Villanova assistant coach.
Rhode Island gained just 51 of its 203 total offensive yards in the second half.
"In the second half last week and this week we finally put it together," said defensive end Rakim Cox, who had six tackles and one sack. "We need to play all four quarters next week."
Villanova's Norman White, who entered the game with six receptions for 71 yards, had seven catches for 88 yards, even though he dropped a fourth quarter pass in the end zone that he said he lost in the sun.
"It felt good being more of the offense," said White, who tweaked his shoulder but added that he will be fine.
Villanova also rushed for 244 yards, the third consecutive game at the 200-yard mark. It is the first time the Wildcats have rushed for 200 or more yards in three consecutive games to start a season since 1992.
Quarterback John Robertson rushed for 63 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries. Kevin Monangai had 55 yards and two touchdowns on 11 carries, while Austin Medley added 41 yards and a touchdown on 12 carries. Receiver Poppy Livers gained 60 yards on two carries, adding another dimension.
Villanova scored on its first four drives of the second half.
The third quarter began with Joe Sarnese's 39-yard kickoff return to the Villanova 43-yard line and Robertson would end the eight-play, 57-yard drive with a 1-yard run.
A 4-yard touchdown by Medley, a 24-yard field goal by Mark Hamilton and a 23-yard scoring run by Monangai ended the second-half scoring.
After Monangai opened the scoring with a 1-yard run in the first quarter, Rhode Island tied the score on its next possession when Bentsen hit Cardinal O'Hara's Billy Morgan in the corner of the end zone for a 25-yard scoring pass.
Contact Marc Narducci at 856-779-3225, email@example.com or @sjnard on Twitter.