AMHERST, Mass. – Villanova forced the UMass football team into committing six turnovers on Saturday as the Wildcats spoiled Homecoming for the Minutemen, 35-17, at McGuirk Stadium on Saturday afternoon. James Pitt accounted for three interceptions to lead Nova. Julian Talley had a career-high 155 yards receiving to lead UMass in the loss.
The Minutemen fall to 5-4 on the season, while Villanova improves to 2-8 overall and 1-6 in the CAA. UMass will return to action next Saturday at Maine for a 12:30 PM kick-off.
Talley was the favorite target for Brandon Hill who completed 27-of-45 attempts for 300 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions.
Jonathan Hernandez led the Minutemen on the ground with 99 yards, while Tyler Holmes and Darren Thellen each had double-figure tackles for the defense with 14 and 10, respectively.
Chris Polony was 20-of-31 for 183 yards and three touchdowns to lead Villanova.
UMass jumped on the scoreboard first as Brandon Yelovich converted a 24-yard field goal at the 6:27 mark of the first quarter to cap a 10-play, 61 yard drive.
Villanova responded with three-straight touchdowns. Polony hit Austin Medley for three-yards and Jamal Abdur-Rahman for a 30-yard touchdown reception to put the Wildcats up 14-3 with 9:23 left in the second quarter. Just over five minutes later, Medley made it a 21-3 game with a two-yard touchdown plunge.
Matt Campbell pulled the Minutemen within two scores as he plunged in from one-yard out with 1:25 left in the second quarter to make the score 21-10.
The Wildcats responded as Polony tossed his third touchdown of the game hitting Dorian Wells for 13 yards with 14 seconds left putting Villanova up 28-10 at the halftime.
Hill found Talley for a 12-yard touchdown with 11:40 left in the third quarter as UMass tried to recapture momentum. The defense stood tall with a pair of three-and-outs and forced turnover on downs on the next three Villanova possessions, but were unable to capitalize.
Villanova’s Lawrence Doss ran for a seven-yard touchdown with 21 seconds left on the clock to seal the 35-17 win.