Wildcat Two Sport Star’s Wildcat Run Sparks Comeback
VILLANOVA, Pa.–Junior wide receiver Matt Szczur ignited the offense with a 62-yard touchdown run from the wildcat formation and executed a fake punt that eventually led to a one-yard quarterback sneak by junior quarterback Chris Whitney , as No. 2 seed Villanova (13-1) advanced to the title game of the Division I Football Championship with a 14-13, come-from-behind victory over William & Mary (11-3) on Friday night at Villanova Stadium. The Wildcats scored touchdowns in the third and fourth quarters to rally for the win, which set a new program record for single-season victories (13).
Villanova’s offense stagnated for much of the game against the nation’s top rushing defense, but Szczur changed that with a big run at the 9:03 mark of the third quarter for the Wildcats first points of the game. The score trimmed a 10-point deficit down to 10-7 and got the ball rolling for Villanova through the rest of the game. Whitney’s one-yard run at the 10:57 mark of the fourth quarter gave the Wildcats their first and only lead of the game.
After a 40-yard field goal by Tribe kicker Brian Pate made the score 13-7 in favor of William & Mary at the 2:13 mark of the third period, the Wildcats started their next drive from the Tribe’s 48-yard line following a 31-yard kickoff return by Szczur. On 4th-and-8 from the 46-yard line near the end of the quarter, Szczur executed a fake punt for a nine-yard rush and a Villanova first down at the Tribe 37. A review of the play by the instant replay booth confirmed Szczur’s spot.
On the same drive early in the fourth quarter, senior wide receiver Brandyn Harvey caught a 16-yard pass on 3rd-and-7 from the William & Mary 22-yard line. He was initially ruled out of bounds at the six-yard line and the pass an incompletion, but the call was overturned based on an official review in the booth.
The Wildcats turned the game around with their backs up against the wall due to a 10-0 halftime deficit against a William & Mary team that entered the game giving up fewer than 12 points per game to its opponents.
Szczur ran for 92 yards on eight carries and Whitney picked up 37 net yards (62 gained, 25 lost) on 17 rushes. Through the air, he was held to 7-of-20 accuracy for 98 yards. Harvey caught a team-high three passes for 65 yards on the night.
Szczur (pronounced SEE-zur) is also a member of the Villanova baseball team. He and more than 35 others have been included throughout the fall in the Collegebaseball360.com Two Sport Reports, as we chronicle college baseball players’ exploits in their other sports.
Top-seeded Montana takes on Appalachian State in the second semifinal game on Saturday at 4 p.m. on ESPN. The winner advances to meet the Wildcats next Friday evening at 8 p.m. in an ESPN2 broadcast of the national championship game.