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Villanova Cruises Past Colgate, 42-19

Brian Luppy/Villanovan Photography
Graduate quarterback Connor Watkins threw for 300 yards, a career first.

For a game that was led wire-to-wire by one team, Saturday’s Villanova-Colgate game looked to be particularly high intensity. Flags flew for unnecessary roughness and unsportsmanlike conduct, and pushing and shoving featured heavily throughout.

So what led to the game being a little chippy? According to graduate quarterback Connor Watkins, the hour-and-18-minute lightning delay could have had something to do with it.

“I think the weather might have played a factor in that,” Watkins said postgame. “If you have a bunch of guys that are young, high testosterone males and have them sit around and wait to play a football game, and have to come out after an hour break, everybody’s going to be hyped up and amped up.”

Regardless of chippiness, Villanova came out of the fray with a comfortable win, 42-19. The win improves the ‘Cats to 2-0, with it being their second win against Patriot League competition this season. Villanova is now 41-4 all-time against Patriot League opponents, including a 17-game win streak.

The rain came down heavily throughout the contest, but didn’t have much of an effect on Villanova’s passing game. Watkins finished with 310 yards passing on just eight completions. Watkins was also effective on the ground, scoring two one-yard keepers. It was Watkins’ first career 300-yard passing game.

“The conditions are what they are,” Watkins said. “We always talk about that everyone’s on the same playing field, they have to play in the same conditions we have to play in. If we come out and it’s a monsoon, I trust our offensive line and running backs to get downhill and beat them at the point of attack.”

Villanova started with a seven-play 61-yard drive that was capped off by a 25-yard rushing touchdown from graduate running back Jalen Jackson. The touchdown made the score 7-0 in favor of the ‘Cats with 8:31 to play in the first quarter.

Then came the lighting. Strikes in the area delayed the game for more than an hour. Play would eventually resume in front of a much lighter crowd than the announced 5,101 attendance. 

“We were excited about our student turnout at the beginning of the game,” head coach Mark Ferrante said. “Obviously the weather scared a lot of them off when we came back out. It doesn’t matter how many people are in the stands, we’re excited about getting a win. Whenever we can get a win at home that’s a bonus.”

Colgate was able to answer with a field goal out of the break, making the score 7-3 with 5:10 to go in the first quarter. Watkins answered with a one-yard keeper after finding graduate receiver Rayjuon Pringle on a 51-yard pass to put the ‘Cats in the red zone earlier in the drive. The Raiders responded with a touchdown of their own on the ensuing drive. After the teams traded touchdowns, the score stood 14-10 in favor of the ‘Cats with 8:57 left in the second.

Villanova was able to get on the board two more times before the half, once on another short Watkins rush set up by a long pass to sophomore wide receiver Jaylan Sanchez. Sanchez would finish with 128 yards on two catches, with 95 of those yards coming after the catch. The other score came on a 67-yard pass to Pringle. The two scores made it 28-10 Villanova at the half. 

It wouldn’t take long in the second half for the ‘Cats to get on the board. Watkins connected with sophomore tight end Antonio Johnson for a one-yard touchdown pass to make the score 35-10 in favor of the ‘Cats, with 12:41 to play in the third.

The Raiders would get back on the board with another field goal with just over two minutes remaining in the third to make it 35-13. The Raiders then scored a touchdown, with junior quarterback Micheal Brescia rushing in from five yards out, to push the scoreline to 35-19 after a failed two-point conversion.

The ‘Cats would drive the nail into the coffin with 7:07 left in the fourth, with a 28-yard touchdown rush from graduate running back DeeWil Barlee. The score would stand at 42-19 until the game’s end. 

Next week will be a significant step up in competition for the ‘Cats. They face the University of Central Florida, an FBS program in the Big 12.

“We’re looking forward to making our corrections tomorrow,” Ferrante said. “We’re looking forward to getting better at Tuesday’s practice, and we’re looking to go 1-0 this week.”

The game against UCF in Orlando is scheduled for a 6:30 kick on Sept. 16. It will be televised on ESPN 3.

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Owen Hewitt, Co-Sports Editor
Owen Hewitt is one of two Co-Sports Editors in 2023. He is a Communication major specializing in journalism. Owen is a Memphis native and a die-hard Grizzlies fan, although his main loyalty lies with Memphis 901 FC. When not writing about basketball or soccer, Owen can often be found on stage, performing as part of Villanova's improv team Ridiculum. Owen has many goals in life, including going into sports journalism as a profession, but his main goal — always — is to stay jitty with it.
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