Szczur Leads Villanova To FCS Semis

December 12, 2010

Baseball/Football Star Has Record-breaking Day…

BOONE, N.C. Senior wide receiver Matt Szczur had a career-high four touchdowns and threw for another score to lead Villanova (9-4) into the semifinals of the Division I Football Championship with a 42-24 victory at No. 1 seed Appalachian State (10-3) at Kidd Brewer Stadium on Saturday afternoon. The defending national champion Wildcats won on the road for the second straight week to reach the semifinals for the second year in a row and third time in program history.

Villanova two-sport standout Matt Szczur

Villanova had never won a true road game in the postseason before last week but has now won two straight playoff road games by lopsided margins. That turnaround matches the way the team has turned around its season, going from the brink of elimination from postseason contention to being one step away from returning to the national championship game. In the process, the Wildcats have won a road game against then-No. 1 Delaware in the final game of the regular season, defeated Southland Conference champion Stephen F. Austin on their home turf and eliminated the top playoff seed with today’s victory.

In the semifinals next week, Villanova will face No. 5 seed Eastern Washington.  The game will take place this Friday night (Dec. 17) at 8 p.m. at Roos Field in Cheney, Wash. The contest will be nationally televised on ESPN2.

For the first time in his career, Szczur registered touchdowns by way of rushing, receiving and passing in the same game. He did all that in the first half alone as Villanova built a 28-10 lead by halftime before staving off numerous attempts by the Mountaineers to start a rally in the second half. This was the 32nd consecutive game since 2003 in which the Wildcats have defended a double-digit halftime lead en route to a victory.

Szczur played in the minor leagues last summer with the Peoria Chiefs.

Szczur wound up running for 105 yards and three touchdowns on 16 carries, caught a team-high five passes for 45 yards and a score and went 2-of-2 through the air for 58 yards and a touchdown. He had 207 all-purpose yards and this was the second time in his career that he found three different ways to score a touchdown in the same game; the other was in the first round of the playoffs in 2008 and included touchdowns via a rush, pass and kick return.

Villanova is the defending FCS national champion, with Szczur leading the Wildcats to last year’s crown. He signed a professional contract with the Chicago Cubs and played minor league baseball this past summer after being drafted in June in the 5th round of the MLB draft. Szczur is joined on the football team by fellow baseball players Marlon Calbi and Christian Culicerto.

(From Villanova release and staff reports)

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