Two Sport Star Shines In Title Game Win Over Montana
Chattanooga, TN– Former Oakland Raider Howie Long may be Villanova’s most famous football player, but it would be hard to argue against Matt Szczur as Villanova’s most important football player. Szczur scored two touchdowns to lead the Wildcats to a 23-21 win over Montana in Friday’s FCS Division I National Championship game.
Szczur totaled 227 yards from scrimmage to carry the third-seeded Wildcats (14-1) past the top-seeded and formerly unbeaten Grizzlies (14-1). The junior receiver ran for a career best 159 yards on 14 carries (most from the Wildcat
formation) and had four catches for 68 yards. He scored Villanova’s first touchdown of the night on a 5-yard run with 3:34 to go before halftime and scored their last TD to give his team a 23-14 lead with 11:04 remaining in the game.
“To be honest, I didn’t think I was going to break as much as I did,” Szczur said after the game. ” The offensive line came out, and I hada great second half. They gave me an opportunity to make the big plays as well as Coach [Andy] Talley and Coach [Sam] Venuto giving me the opportunity to run the ball.”
Szczur was one of the most versatile players in the country all season. While the 5’10 junior is listed as a wide receiver, he has packed several sections of the Villanova stat book:
Rushing: 108 carries for 813 yards and a team-high 10 TDs
Receiving: 51 catches for 610 yards and 4 touchdowns
Passing: 4-for-4 for 22 yards and 2 TDs
Kick Returns: 30 for 816 yards (27.2) and an 87-yard touchdown
He was named the 2009 Colonial Athletic Association’s Offensive and Special Teams Player of the Year, but his versatility reaches beyond the football field. Szczur is also a member of the baseball team, and it’s only fitting that he’s
listed as both a catcher and outfielder on Joe Godri’s Wildcat roster.
Szczur led VU with a .346 average last spring after missing his freshman baseball season due to injury. He’ll take a short break and then begin training for the Feb. 19 baseball season-opener at Norfolk State. The Erma, N.J. native still has a season of football eligibility remaining, but he was caught off guard Friday night when asked about his plans for the future.
“That’s a hard question to answer. You put me in a bind right now,” Szczur said. ” We’re going to see how my baseball
season turns out. After baseball season, I’ll probably end up entering the draft, but I love these guys.
[Chris] Whitney, Terry [Thomas], all these guys are my best friends. We started as freshman, and we
wanted to do something. We accomplished it, so I don’t want to leave those guys. It’s a hard decision to
make, but it’s a good decision to make.”
He was drafted in the 38th round of the MLB draft by the L.A. Dodgers out of high school. If he goes in the June draft it is still possible that Szczur could play in the minor leagues next summer and then return to the gridirion with the Villanova football team next fall. That’s something current Chicago Cubs pitcher Jeff Samardzija did in 2006 when he was playing both baseball and football at Notre Dame.
Now if Szczur could only pass his hair style along to Howie Long.
Note: Szczur and others have been included in the exclusive Collegebaseball360.com Two Sport Reports throughout the fall. We’ll have a new installment coming soon!