By Matt Samson
Daniel Smith, a grad transfer from Campbell, led the way with four total touchdowns, throwing for three in the second quarter, as visiting Villanova stomped No. 13-ranked Colgate 34-14 in the first game of college football’s 150th anniversary season.
Villanova (1-0) has a 3-0 record on the road in season openers during the Mark Ferrante era. Two years ago, the Wildcats won at eventual Patriot League co-champ Lehigh 38-35. Last year, they earned an FBS win over Temple 19-17.
Colgate led the FCS in defense and never trailed an opponent until its 10th game last season. But after a scoreless first quarter, Villanova built a 27-0 lead in the second when Smith connected on touchdowns with running back Jalen Jackson (18) and wide receivers Changa Hodge (45) and Andrew Perez (15) and cornerback Jaquan Amos (above) returned an interception of Raiders quarterback Grant Breneman 27 yards for a score.
Smith’s Villanova debut was impressive. At Campbell’s relatively young program, he needed only two seasons to set career records for total offense, rushing touchdowns, passing yards and passing touchdowns. Against Colgate (0-1), he completed 14 of 29 passes for 205 yards, also scoring on a 9-yard draw in the fourth quarter to make it 34-14.
Villanova outgained Colgate 444-288. Junior Justin Covington gained 134 yards on 19 carries.
The Wildcats were only picked ninth in the CAA Football preseason poll, but they have yet to turn a quick start under Ferrante into a banner campaign, finishing 5-6 in both of his first two seasons.
They improved to 5-1 all-time against Colgate and an even more impressive 33-4 against Patriot League teams.
Breneman accounted for Colgate’s two touchdowns, a 10-yard pass to wide receiver Nick Draught midway through the third quarter and a 1-yard fourth-down run early in the fourth.
The Raiders, who went 10-2 under coach Dan Hunt last season, must regroup quickly with a trip to Air Force next Saturday.