Sunday, August 2, 2015

Villanova wins national championship

Villanova has won the I-AA (FCS if you must) football national championship, beating Montana 23-21.

Villanova wins national championship

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Villanova has won the I-AA (FCS if you must) football national championship, beating Montana 23-21 at Finley Stadium in Chattanooga, Tenn.

The Wildcats took a 3-0 lead with a 23-yard Nick Yako field goal midway through the first quarter. But the Grizzlies rallied with two straight touchdowns, sandwiched around a costly interception thrown by 'Nova quarterback Chris Whitney. He had led the Wildcats to the Montana 11-yard line, but threw a pass right to the Grizzlies' Shawn Lebsock in the end zone.

From there, though, Matt Szczur took over. He scored both of his two rushing touchdowns after halftime, finishing the game with 14 carries for 159 yards and two catches for 68 yards.

Szczur's first score was from five yards out with 3:34 left in the third quarter and made the score 14-9. Nick Yako missed the extra point, though. 

Early in the fourth quarter, Whitney made up for the earlier pick by throwing a three-yard touchdown pass to Chris Farmer. It was Farmer's first touchdown of his college career, and the converted extra point made the score 16-14.

Szczur's second score was a three-yard run with 11:04 left in the fourth quarter. Montana cut the margin to 23-21 on a spectacular 53-yard touchdown pass from Andrew Selle to Jabin Sambrano.

But Brody McKnight's onside kick bounced out of bounds, and Villanova was able to run out the clock.

"Jay Wright's got to go win one now in basketball," Wildcats coach Andy Talley told ESPN during the trophy presentation. "I'm calling my man out." 

Schuylkilll 16 voter Brian Ewart is in Chattanooga and has been Tweeting from the game all night. Check out his updates in addition to David Swanson's photos above.

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Soft Pretzel Logic is Philly.com's college sports blog, with a primary focus on the University of Pennsylvania. You'll also see coverage of the Big 5, other major college sports events in the region, and the annual Penn Relays track and field meet.

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