Villanova falls to Maine despite Robertson's performance

Villanova QB John Robertson breaks through Maine's defense to score in the first half.He finished with 214 yards rushing and 4 TDs in the 37-35 loss.
Villanova QB John Robertson breaks through Maine's defense to score in the first half.He finished with 214 yards rushing and 4 TDs in the 37-35 loss. (RON TARVER / Staff Photographer)
Posted: October 28, 2013

Watching the same game as everyone else at Villanova Stadium, Maine coach Jack Cosgrove summed up the afternoon perfectly.

"Their guy's hard to tackle," Cosgrove said, referring to Villanova quarterback John Robertson, who ran 22 times for 214 yards and four touchdowns, becoming the first Villanova player in history to go over 200 yards two weeks in a row.

Maine's coach continued his sentence, saying his own QB throws the ball as well as anybody in the Football Championship Subdivision.

That's how Maine hung on in a 37-35 thriller. Villanova couldn't stop Marcus Wasilewski, who completed 28 of 34 passes for 337 yards. Until the last minute, 'Nova produced just one defensive stop, as Maine converted 14 of 20 third- and fourth-down plays.

A second straight cliff-hanger loss put Villanova's playoff chances in a precarious position. The Wildcats fell to 4-4 and 3-2 in the Colonial Athletic Association while Maine improved to 7-1 and 4-0.

Villanova's three FCS losses have been by a combined six points.

"Kind of what you see is what we are right now," said Villanova coach Andy Talley. "You've got to be able to win the close games to be a factor in the CAA."

Robertson, who had 406 rushing yards in his previous two games, picked up where he left off, gaining 70 rushing yards on 'Nova's first drive, including a 59-yarder and a 5-yard scoring run.

"John played fabulous," Talley said of Robertson, a sophomore who has 620 rushing yards and 10 TDs in Villanova's last three games, and went over 1,000 rushing yards for the second straight season. "He's really a one-man wrecking crew. . . . I feel bad he has to run for 200 yards just to keep us in the game."

Villanova played without one of its great offensive threats, wide receiver Jamal Abdur-Rahman, out with a knee injury. That makes two starting wideouts out for the Wildcats, in addition to two starting linebackers and a safety.

Whether the missing defenders could have made a difference is an open question, now moot. Talley talked about how his defensive coordinator pleaded for somebody to make a play. Early on, Maine riddled Villanova's pass defense and didn't punt until late in the third quarter. The Bears proved unstoppable in the opening quarter, taking a 17-7 lead while running up 208 total yards. Wasilewski racked up 121 passing yards in the first quarter.

For the game, Wasilewski also ran 20 times for 86 yards, which made him the star of the game, despite Robertson's 214 rushing and additional 121 passing yards. Between them, they accounted for a combined 758 total yards. Wasilewski just had the better supporting cast.

Afterward, Cosgrove lauded the toughness of his QB from Kulpmont, Pa.

"Coal region, baby," Wasilewski said.


mjensen@phillynews.com

@jensenoffcampus

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