CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. — Matt Szczur caught two touchdown passes, ran for 159 yards and had another 68 yards passing, leading Villanova to its first Football Championship Subdivision title with a 23-21 victory over Montana on Friday night.
No. 2 Villanova (14-1) won the title in its first championship game appearance.
Top-seeded Montana (14-1) was making a record 17th consecutive appearance in the playoffs. The Grizzlies, the 1995 and 2001 champions, lost to Richmond last year in the title game. Montana also lost in the final in 1996, 2000 and 2004.
Chris Whitney led an 81-yard drive, running for 22 yards on one play and connecting with Szczur for 26 yards on another. Whitney, 10 for 13 for 142 yards, hit Chris Farmer with a 3-yard TD pass to give Villanova 16-14 lead with 5:26 left in the third quarter.
Andrew Selle threw a 53-yard touchdown pass to Jabin Sambrano to pull Montana to 23-21 with 1:07 left, but the onside kick attempt went out of bounds, and Villanova made a first down before running out the clock.