The waiting is over, college football is officially back.
FCS Villanova seems to have a knack for pulling off upsets to begin the year as they followed up on last year’s win against Temple in the opener by starting 2019 on the right foot with a 34-14 win over No. 13 Colgate in the very first Division I game of the season.
The Wildcats controlled the contest throughout, showing a surprising amount of offensive firepower against a team that sported the best statistical FCS defense in 2018. Sophomore Jalen Jackson kicked off scoring for the entire season when he took a short pass in the flat and turned up field for 18 yards to find pay dirt early in the second quarter:
Jackson would wind up rushing for 64 yards throughout the game and formed a nice tandem with starter Justin Covington (134 yards). Quarterback Danny Smith was a beneficiary from those two churning up yards and keeping the clock going with three touchdown passes and 205 yards through the air. All told Villanova had 444 yards of offense and looked sharp on both sides of the ball during what was supposed to be a rebuilding year in Philadelphia.
FCS All-American candidate Jaquan Amos also made a big contribution in the upset, scoring the first defensive touchdown of the season with this 27 yard pick-six to extend the team’s early lead.
The loss is a disappointing one for a Colgate squad picked to win the Patriot League yet again. While they do have to replace a ton of production on both offense and defense, you could have made a bit of money in Las Vegas on Saturday afternoon if you could have predicted the Raiders would allow 6.4 yards per play, 34 points and manage under 300 yards of total offense at the same time.
There will be no rest for Colgate either and little time to regroup as the team heads to Air Force on Aug. 31 in the Falcons’ opener. Villanova returns home to face Lehigh on Sept. 7 during their next contest and may very well find themselves as a ranked team when they do given the size of the upset and how good they looked on Saturday.
While one has to wait a bit longer before Miami and Florida kickoff FBS action, fans from all across the country can at least rejoice that the 150th season of college football is officially underway.