If there was any question whether Villanova's football team was a little steamed after losing last week at home to Towson, the Wildcats answered that question immediately by taking out their frustrations on Bucknell.

Scoring on their first four possessions, the Wildcats defeated Bucknell, 49-7, in a non-conference game on Saturday evening at Villanova Stadium.

Ranked No. 14 in the Football Championship Subdivision Coaches Poll, the Wildcats are now 3-1, heading into Colonial Athletic Association play on Saturday at Stony Brook. The Wildcats finished unbeaten (3-0) in non-conference play for the first time since 2009, the year they won the FCS title.

"A lot of people asked me the question during the week how are the guys going to respond, and that was the question I had for our team and I would say they responded in a really nice way," Villanova coach Mark Ferrante said.

Villanova played without four injured starters — safety Rob Rolle, tight end Ryan Bell, receiver Changa Hodge and center Paul Gratton — and didn't miss them against the 0-4 Bison.

Early in the first quarter, VIllanova's Julian Williams was ejected for targeting for the second time this season. It also happened vs. Temple.

Jafonta Johnson, left, and Malik Fisher, right, of Villanova sack Logan Bitikofer in the 1st quarter of Bucknell at Villanova Stadium on Sept. 22, 2018.
CHARLES FOX / Staff Photographer
Jafonta Johnson, left, and Malik Fisher, right, of Villanova sack Logan Bitikofer in the 1st quarter of Bucknell at Villanova Stadium on Sept. 22, 2018.

Other than that, the Wildcats were simply dominant, despite being shorthanded and plagued by turnovers.

The Wildcats committed four first-half turnovers on three fumbles and an interception, despite leading 42-7 at intermission.

"If we can eliminate those turnovers then I would say we had a really complete game," Ferrante said.

Josh McGrigg of Villanova points downfield after a long reception against Bucknell on Sept. 22, 2018. McGrigg had 5 receptions for 187 yards in the 1st half. CHARLES FOX / Staff Photographer
CHARLES FOX / Staff Photographer
Josh McGrigg of Villanova points downfield after a long reception against Bucknell on Sept. 22, 2018. McGrigg had 5 receptions for 187 yards in the 1st half. CHARLES FOX / Staff Photographer

Of note for Villanova was the first touchdown of Josh McGrigg's career.

McGrigg caught a 90-yard scoring pass from Zach Bednarczyk to increase the Wildcats' lead to 21-0 with 2 minutes and 33 seconds left in the first quarter.

Bednarczyk hit McGrigg in stride at about the Villanova 45-yard line and the sophomore from Alexandria, Va., then was off to the races.

At one point, it appeared he might get caught before scoring, but he found an extra gear.

"Coach always tells me you have to finish the play and that is the only thing I was doing, finishing," McGrigg said.

McGrigg, who is the Wildcats' chief kick and punt return man, entered the game with five career receptions for 32 yards. He finished the game with five receptions for 187 yards and the score, all in the first half.

It was the longest pass play in school history. The previous record was John Robertson to Kevin Gulyas on Dec. 6, 2014. That duo connected on an 87-yard scoring pass against Liberty in an FCS playoff game.

Bednarczyk, who gave way to backup Jack Schetelich midway through the third quarter, completed 11 of 17 passes for 281 yards, one TD and one interception. He also rushed for 38 yards and a touchdown on eight carries.

The win increased Villanova's dominance against Patriot League teams. Since becoming a member of the FCS in 1985, Villanova is 33-4 against the Patriot league, including a 31-9 win earlier this season against Lehigh.

Darryl McDaniel, right, of Villanova breaks up a pass intended for Justin Bethea, left, of Bucknell in the 2nd quarter at Villanova Stadium on Sept. 22, 2018.
CHARLES FOX / Staff Photographer
Darryl McDaniel, right, of Villanova breaks up a pass intended for Justin Bethea, left, of Bucknell in the 2nd quarter at Villanova Stadium on Sept. 22, 2018.