Missing eight players -- including four starters -- who were serving one-game suspensions for violating a team rule, the Wildcats (6-4, 4-3 Colonial Athletic Association) guaranteed coach Andy Talley his 17th winning season in 23 years at Villanova.
Towson (3-7, 1-6), which lost its fourth straight game, was limited to 27 yards rushing. Sean Schaefer was 22-for-36 for 242 yards and a touchdown, the 50th of his career.
Whitney, who went 16-for-21 for 116 yards, rebounded from a shaky first half to direct two time-consuming second-half scoring drives for the Wildcats' third win in four games. Villanova held the ball for nearly 39 minutes.
With Towson up 3-0, Whitney moved Villanova 68 yards on 14 plays before Aaron Ball's 2-yard touchdown run off right tackle with 7:52 left in the third quarter.
After Towson's Mark Bencivengo hit a 28-yard field goal to make it 7-6, Whitney converted three third downs in a 13-play, 71-yard march culminating in a 10-yard TD pass to Atkinson on a crossing pattern with 12:01 remaining.
Late in the fourth quarter, Schaefer needed only five plays to move Towson 66 yards, cutting the lead to 14-12 on a 7-yard strike to Harrison with 52 seconds left. But a leaping Harrison couldn't snag Schaefer's floater on the two-point conversion attempt.
Towson was held to minus-14 yards rushing in the first half, but its defense sacked Whitney five times. Bencivengo's 32-yard field goal with 5:19 remaining in the second quarter put the Tigers up 3-0.
Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher hopes quarterback Sean Maguire is ready to go full speed by the middle of June.
Graduate transfer quarterback Davis Webb has officially joined California, giving the Golden Bears an experienced option to replace No. 1 overall NFL draft pick Jared Goff.
First-year football coach Dino Babers, hired by former Syracuse AD Mark Coyle, is on the committee that will search for Coyle's replacement.
Hugh Freeze has some major holes to fill on offense with the departures of Laremy Tunsil and Laquon Treadwell, but there is Chady Kelly and good depth.
After transferring in from Montana State, Dakota Prukop has a checklist he's working from as he prepares to compete for the Oregon job.
The destination for Week 6 of the Big 12 Ultimate Road Trip is unanimous, as all three conference reporters would head to the Red River Rivalry.
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