As freshmen, Villanova roommates John Robertson and Kevin Monangai talked all the time about the day they’d make it big. Turns out they may have been selling themselves short.
While the undersizedMonangai’s 170 yards on 16 carries — including an 81-yard touchdown run in Saturday’s 48-28 win over Morgan State — moved him into fourth on the school’s all-time rushing list with 2,640 yards, his old roomie is in the midst of a historic season.
Running for 99 yards and two scores while throwing for three more in the (7-1) Wildcats’ seventh straight victory, Robertson continues to pile up the numbers. Not only has he personally accounted for 30 touchdowns — 25 through in the air while throwing just one interception — he’s drawn accolades from all corners.
Even from his usually hard-to-please coach, who’s seen Robertson move into second in ‘Nova career rushing with 2,948 and 39 touchdowns, to go with 5,788 yards passing and 52 scores.
“He’s really on his way to me being the best quarterback we’ve ever had — and we’ve had some good ones,’’ said Andy Talley. “He has all the tools.He’s a force unto himself. He can turn a game around with his feet, with his arm and he’s developed into a leader. He makes us go.”
That’s just one of the reasons John Robertson is in the heart of the conversation for the Walter Payton Award, presented to the Outstanding Player in the FCS. And while he’d prefer to downplay that and credit the rest of his teammates, his success comes as no surprise to his old roommate.
“What you’re seeing now is just what we always talked about since we were 18-19,” said Monangai. “We knew what we wanted to accomplish here.The year we’re having pretty much that reality coming true.”
Robertson remembers those days, too.
“We’d talk about it all the time because we weren’t playing,” recalled Robertson. “We’d say ‘This is gonna be our team eventually.Our whole freshman class, we talked about how we wanted to be remembered. Ever since then we’ve just been working hard to make our plan a reality.”
Opponents have clearly gotten the message, with Villanova averaging 41.8 points and looking like a team quite capable of repeating its 2009 FCS championship season.
“I thought they were the best team in the nation coming in,” said Morgan State coach Lee Hull. “Their only loss was to Syracuse, and they should have won that (losing 27-26 in double overtime).’’
Talley won’t go quite so far—at least yet.
“I think we have a very good team,’’ said Talley, with a trip to 6-2 Richmond for a key CAA game up next. “Now it’s going to depend on matchups and being home or away.”
Regardless, with Kevin Monangai’s old roommate John Robertson at the helm, Villanova can play with anybody. This season they’re proving they knew what they were talking about all along.