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Jackson stars; Villanova outlasts UNH, 45-33

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Courtesy of Villanova Athletics
Jackson ran for 145 yards and two touchdowns in the win on Saturday.

In the CAA’s clash of Wildcat mascots between No. 17 Villanova and New Hampshire, Villanova (7-2, 5-1 CAA) defeated the Wildcats, 45-33.

The win also snapped the Wildcats’ five-game losing streak against UNH (4-5, 2-4 CAA) dating back to Dec. 2010. Villanova had not won at New Hampshire since 2003. The two teams had not played since 2019.

In the first half alone, both teams traded leads four times. The first came when UNH senior running back Dylan Laube struck with precision on a 75-yard touchdown to respond to an early Villanova field goal. Laube had a huge day, recording a combined 307 rushing and receiving yards and two touchdowns.

New Hampshire, after a field goal of its own, entered the second half with a 10-3 lead, but it wasn’t able to hold it very long. Early in the second quarter, Villanova’s defense, led by senior linebacker Brendan Bell, forced a fumble from UNH junior quarterback Max Brosmer, one of four the defense was able to force. Sixth-year running back Jalen Jackson ran in from two yards out to level the score.

While Brosmer did throw for 252 yards and a touchdown, he also was felled by that second quarter fumble and three interceptions, after only having one to his name all season. 

On the flipside, fifth-year quarterback Connor Watkins had a strong day with 188 yards passing, two passing touchdowns and one interception. Watkins also had two rushing touchdowns, the first of which tied the game for Villanova after an 87-yard kickoff return touchdown for UNH. 

Momentum looked to still be high for New Hampshire, especially after retaking the lead with just over four minutes left before halftime. But after Brosmer was picked off, Jackson scored again on a six-yard rush to send Villanova to the half leading, 24-20. 

That is a lead the ‘Cats never gave back, as Jackson continued to rack up rushing yards for his finest day of the year. He finished with 145 yards on the ground and two touchdowns, moving him into 10th place all-time for rushing yards at Villanova. 

The second half also continued to show Villanova’s defensive prowess, intercepting Brosmer twice within two minutes in the third quarter. The turnovers helped Watkins find the end zone twice — once passing, once rushing himself — to give the ‘Cats an 11-point lead. 

While UNH tried for a comeback after Laube’s second rushing touchdown early in the fourth quarter, Villanova put the dagger in with a 68-yard touchdown from Watkins to top wideout Rayjuon Pringle, helping Villanova to extend its current winning streak to four in a row. 

Villanova’s next game will come on Saturday, Nov. 11 when the Wildcats take on Towson (4-5, 3-3 CAA). Kick-off is set for 1:00 p.m.

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Finn Courtney, Co-News Editor
Finn Courtney is a freshman Communications and Political Science double major and is entering his first year as one of the Co-News editors for 2024. With a passion for politics and sports, Finn's been a writer for as long as he can remember, was a four-year editor and leader on his high school paper and as a freshman has covered a variety of stories for The Villanovan, City of Basketball Love, and has been reposted in the Philadelphia Inquirer. When he's not typing up a story or filming with Villanova Television, you can surely catch him procrastinating on something, watching a Mets game (it's their year!) or trying to just live life to the fullest.
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