The William & Mary football team concluded its road slate with a hard-fought 24-17 victory at Villanova on Saturday afternoon.
W&M (4-5, 3-3) scored on four consecutive possessions that spanned the second and third quarters to build a 24-7 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
Although Villanova (4-6, 1-6) narrowed the margin to just a touchdown, 24-17, following a 19-yard field goal by Drew Kresge with 4:52 remaining, W&M stopped the Wildcats on their final two possessions to preserve the conference victory.
While VU outgained the Tribe, 368-232, W&M forced four turnovers and committed none. Additionally, W&M scored on all four of its trips into the red zone, which included three touchdowns.
Safety Isaiah Laster posted a tremendous performance and recorded a pair of interceptions and a fumble recovery to go with his seven tackles. His first pick came in the end zone to halt a Wildcats’ scoring opportunity, while his second helped set up W&M’s first touchdown.
Linebacker Nate Atkins (TFL, PBU) and cornerback Raeshawn Smith (PBU) also came up big with a team-high eight tackles, while linebackers Josh Dulaney (TFL) and Arman Jones (FF, TFL) added seven stops apiece.
Running back Nate Evans finished the afternoon with 58 yards on 12 carries, which was highlighted by a 1-yard touchdown run that came as the second quarter clock expired to give W&M a 14-7 lead at halftime.
Quarterbacks Ted Hefter and Shon Mitchell both threw touchdown passes, while wide receiver DeVonte Dedmon and tight end Tyler Klaus hauled in the scores. Klaus’ 16-yard grab early in the second quarter was the first of touchdown his career, while Dedmon’s score extended the margin to 21-7 early in the third quarter and moved him into a tie for sixth all-time at W&M in career touchdown catches (19).
Tight end Nick Muse totaled three receptions for a team-high 77 yards.
Kris Hooper converted his only field goal attempt (37 yards), which gave W&M a 24-17 lead with 6:41 left in the third quarter.
Inside the Numbers
In addition to winning the turnover battle (4-0), W&M committed just two penalties for 20 yards.
All four of the Tribe’s scoring drives lasted less than 3 minutes.
VU controlled the time of possession by more than 14 minutes, 37:01-22:59, and held a 23-11 advantage in first downs.
Villanova running back Aaron Forbes scored both of Villanova’s touchdowns – one rushing and one receiving – and totaled a game-high 77 yards on 19 carries.
Quarterback Zach Bednarczyk completed 21 of 35 passes for 212 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions.
Tight end Ryan Bell posted seven catches for 79 yards.
The triumph marked the 249th victory of Head Coach Jimmye Laycock’s career, which moves him into a tie for 24th on college football’s all-time wins list with his former coach at W&M, Lou Holtz … Laster became the first Tribe player to post multiple interceptions in a game since Aaron Swinton recorded two picks against Delaware in 2016 … In addition to moving into a tie for sixth on W&M’s career touchdown catches list, Dedmon moved into a tie for ninth on the program’s all-time receptions list (145) … W&M has forced 17 turnovers this season, nearly doubling its total of 10 from last season … Punter Will Michael recorded a career-long punt of 62 yards and pinned the Wildcats at their own 1-yard line with a 43-yard kick … W&M improves to 18-15-1 all-time versus Villanova … The win snapped a seven-game losing streak following bye weeks.
The Tribe will conclude the 2018 season when it hosts Richmond at Zable Stadium for Senior Day next Saturday at 2 p.m. W&M will also celebrate Head Coach Jimmye Laycock, as the contest will mark the final game of his remarkable 39-year career.