There is no quarterback controversy at Villanova. Coach Andy Talley said that redshirt freshman John Robertson is his starter.
Talley entered the season thinking sophomore Chris Polony would be the man, but Robertson relieved him late in the first half in the 41-10 opening loss to Temple and gave the offense a spark.
So Robertson got the start in Game No. 2 and if there was ever a chance to waver on the decision it was during the first half of Saturday’s 28-13 win over visiting Fordham that evened the Wildcats record to 1-1.
Villanova trailed Fordham, 13-7 at halftime and Robertson had completed just 5 of 10 passes for 51 yards and a TD and ran for 22 yards on four attempts.
After Villanova scored on its first offensive possession of the game, a 25-yard pass from Robertson to Norman White, the offense sputtered.
The Wildcats trailed 13-7 at half, before Robertson and his teammates turned it around.
In the second half Robertson completed 3 of 7 for 27 yards and rushed for 50 yards and a TD on 10 carries. Those aren’t eye-popping numbers, but he was also making better decisions and the running game kicked in gear, rushing for 245 yards in the second half.
“John is our guy we will play but we wouldn’t hesitate to put Chris Polony in if I felt John was not executing,” Talley said after the win.
In talking of going with Robertson, Talley added, “It’s something when you do it, you better have some solid reasoning behind it. John is one of those guys when he makes a mistake he always has the ability to come back and make big plays for you.”
As Robertson gets more time, Talley feels his quarterback's decision-making will improve.
Polony, who was 2 for 7 for 18 yards and one interception against Temple, is not much of a threat running the ball. Not only is Robertson a threat but it sometimes gives his running backs that little extra second if the defense feels he will keep the ball instead of handing it off.
And Villanova has been strong running the ball, with 212 yards against Temple befoer the effort against Fordham.
So the Fordham game was a good learning experience for Robertson and his teammates, who overcame a poor first half to dominate in the final two quarters.
“The coverages were a little different than I anticipated because we didn’t have a lot of film on them because they have a new staff,” Robertson said of Fordham. “I need to improve on that, but our running backs did great and thankfully our defense kept us in the game.”
With Kevin Monangai and Austin Medley combining for 177 of their combined 224 yards in the second half, Villanova was a different team.
There is no telling how much confidence this win will give a team that was 2-9 and is trying to find its way back to the other side of .500.
This was a good first step. Talley stuck with his new starter when he struggled and the Villanova coach was rewarded for his patience in the second half.