Villanova defeats Rhode Island in CAA Opener + Villanova vs. Albany Preview
Written by David Szczepanski on September 30, 2023
In their CAA Opener, Villanova defeats Rhode Island, 35-9. Like Villanova’s home opener, rain was indeed a factor in this game as heavy rain from Tropical Storm Ophelia moved through the region. Due to this, the Wildcats really focused on their running game. Wildcats’ QB, Connor Watkins, rushed for 113 yards and three touchdowns. TD Ayo-Durojaiye carried the ball seven times for a total of 103 yards and a touchdown. DeeWil Barlee also had a rushing touchdown and 43 yards on Saturday. In his return to play, Jaaron Hayek had three receptions for 78 yards. Rayjuon Pringle continued his hot start to the season with two receptions for 45 yards. The Wildcats threw for 172 yards and rushed for 287 yards for a total 459 yards on the day. Watkins was 8-14 with 166 yards and one interception when throwing the ball against Rhode Island.
Villanova’s defense did an excellent job on Saturday afternoon as they limited Rhode Island’s offense to just nine points and one touchdown. The Rams only rushed for a total of 60 yards after rushing for 206 yards last week against Maine. Rams’ QB, Kasim Hill, completed 14 of his 26 passes for 175 yards and one interception. Rhode Island’s only touchdown of the day was a Jaden Griffin 14-yard run. The Wildcats played a complete game of football on Saturday and looked excellent against their first CAA opponent. Villanova needed this win to bounce back after a tough loss against UCF in Florida.
Villanova vs. Albany
Villanova, who is now 3-1 after their win against Rhode Island, will travel to Albany on Saturday to play the Great Danes at 3:30pm. The Great Danes are 2-2 overall and have yet to play a CAA contest. The Great Danes defeated 1-3 Morgan State on Saturday in double overtime by a final score of 23-17. Great Danes’ QB, Reese Poffenbarger, threw for 142 yards and two touchdowns and one interception. The sophomore quarterback from Maryland has seven passing touchdowns and two interceptions in his first four games. He also has one rushing touchdown in each of his last three games but has only averaged 2.5 yards while running the football this season.
Keys to the Game
Albany’s rushing attack has struggled at times this year. The Great Danes rushed for 116 yards last week against Morgan State. The keys to the game for Villanova would be to limit Albany’s passing game and find ways to score against Albany’s defense. The Great Danes have only given up more than 21 points in one game this season. If Villanova’s offense continues its effectiveness and explosiveness in this game, the Wildcats should defeat the Great Danes to improve to 2-0 in CAA play.