Wildcats believe they should have won

Posted: September 02, 2013

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. - Villanova was genuinely angry and disappointed even though the Wildcats made Saturday's opening 24-14 loss at Boston College much more competitive than many figured.

The players felt there was no sense feeling good about playing well against an Atlantic Coast Conference team, albeit, one that went 2-10 last season.

No, the Wildcats felt they let one get away, although Boston College had a lot to do with it.

Boston College was a totally different team after trailing 14-7 at halftime, but Villanova quarterback John Robertson wasn't conceding anything.

"I feel they really didn't change, it was more on us," Robertson said. "I don't think they stopped us, we stopped ourselves."

It's never that simple.

Boston College did make the adjustments and didn't let Robertson get away for any long second-half runs. In the first half he rushed for 78 yards on seven carries and in the second half, he had just 16 yards on six carries.

So there were adjustments made.

"We had to shore some things up," said B.C. coach Steve Addazio, who has opened three straight seasons with wins over Villanova after beating the Wildcats the last two seasons while guiding Temple. "We had far and away too many missed assignments on defense in the first half, guys not in the right place."

Still, Villanova played like it belonged on the same field. That is in stark contrast to last year's opener when the Wildcats lost to Temple, 41-10, at Lincoln Financial Field.

This B.C. team is a veteran group. Quarterback Chase Rettig was making his 34th career start and there are some serious playmakers on offense such as receiver Alex Amidon (13 receptions, 146 yards, 1 TD) and running back Andre Williams (23 carries, 114 yards, 1 TD).

And of course there was Rettig.

Villanova outrushed the Eagles, 197-142. The difference was Retting threw for 285 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions, while Robertson threw two late interceptions and completed 16 of 25 passes for just 158 yards.

Teams are going to force Robertson to beat them with his arm and that is what the Eagles did in the second half.

Still, Villanova fought and scrapped and was legitimately in the game until Boston College's Nate Freese kicked a 39-yard field goal with 5:18 left to finish the day's scoring.

"We had some mistakes that caused us to lose and it shows we should have won this game," said Villanova free safety Joe Sarnese.

Again, Boston College would disagree with that assessment, but that won't change the Wildcats' opinion.

Villanova was the preseason team to beat in the Colonial Athletic Association and is a contender for a Football Championship Subdivision title.

Boston College was picked as the seventh and last team in the ACC Atlantic Division and Addazio may be given a parade if he gets the Eagles to a bowl game.

Still, beating a Football Bowl Subdivision team like Boston College in an established conference such as the ACC isn't easy.

Towson, also of the CAA, beat FBS opponent Connecticut the other night, 33-18, but UConn plays in the American Athletic Conference, which consists of former Big East schools and some low profile newcomers. (UConn was picked to finish seventh in that league.)

So for argument's sake, we'll say that playing B.C. was more difficult than Connecticut, but that doesn't diminish what Towson accomplished. And while Villanova was the preseason pick to win the CAA, Towson was second, so the Wildcats truly have their work cut out.

Still, Villanova won't be playing a team as talented as Boston College, and that includes Towson. The fact that Villanova was so competitive is a positive sign. The fact the Wildcats were angry to depart Alumni Stadium without a W, should prove to be truly beneficial down the road.

Contact Marc Narducci at mnarducci@phillynews.com. Follow @sjnard on Twitter.

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