PHILADELPHIA (NWN) — Justin Covington ran for two second-quarter touchdowns as Villanova defeated Holy Cross 21-16 in the second round of the FCS playoffs on Friday night.
Villanova (10-2), sixth in the latest FCS coach poll, took the lead early in the second quarter after Ethan Potter delivered the ball to the Wildcats at the Holy Cross 43-yard line. Jalen Jackson ran for 10 yards, then caught a pass from Daniel Smith for a 30-yard lead for Crusaders 3. Covington scored a 4-yard TD run at 11:20 for a 7-0 lead.
The Wildcats extended their lead to 14-0 with a 10-play, 79-yard drive that ended with Covington’s 7-yard TD run. Smith set up Covington’s scoring run in the previous game with Qadir Ismail completing 24-yards in third and 14th.
No. 24 Holy Cross (10-3) pulled within 14-10 in the third quarter. The Crusaders took an early kickoff and covered 68 yards in 12 plays, ending with a 7-yard TD toss from Jordan Fuller to make Shaun Morris 14-7. Frankie Monte forced a fumble by TD Ayo-Durozai on the ensuing kickoff, Terence Spence recovered and Holy Cross took on the Wildcats 25. Derek Ng kicked a 22-yard field goal after stopping on 3rd of the drive. Ayo-Durozai responded to the Crusaders’ 37 with a 55-yard kick return and after three plays Jackson scored on a 14-yard run for the 21-10 Villanova lead.
Matthew Sluka’s 3-yard TD run pulled Holy Cross to within five points with 6:22 remaining, but Sluka’s 2-point pass was intercepted by Jared Nelson and the Crusaders, who scored 13–10 in the first round. With the program’s first FCS playoff win. Victory over Sacred Heart, will be no closer.
Next up for Villanova is the winner of Saturday’s South Dakota State-Sacramento State matchup.
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