Villanova vs. Colgate Recap | Connor Watkins breaks a Villanova record
Written by David Szczepanski on September 11, 2023
In their home opener, the Villanova Wildcats defeated the Colgate Raiders, 42-19, on a rainy Saturday night. Connor Watkins had one of the best games of his career. Watkins completed 8 of his 11 passes for 310 yards and two touchdowns. The quarterback from Williamsport, PA now holds a Villanova record for the fewest completions in a 300-yard passing game. Rayjuon Pringle and Jaylan Sanchez combined for 296 yards, including Pringle’s third touchdown of the season. Villanova’s rushing attack combined for 152 yards and four touchdowns, including two rushing touchdowns by Watkins. Jalen Jackson also rushed for 57 yards over 12 carries.
On Saturday night, football was officially back at Villanova Stadium. But fans had to wait an extra 40 minutes from the original start time to see a snap due to severe weather in the area. Once the game started, Villanova’s offense picked up right where they left off against Lehigh. Watkins and Jalen Jackson led the Wildcats down the field for a four minute, twenty-four second drive that ended with a Jackson 25-yard rushing touchdown. After Mercurio made the PAT, the game was delayed again due to a heavy thunderstorm with Villanova leading 7-0 just seven minutes into the first quarter.
After about an hour-long delay, the Wildcats and Raiders returned to a very slippery field. In the first play after the delay, Colgate QB Michael Brescia completed a 54-yard pass to Treyvhon Saunders, who led the Raiders with six receptions and 132 yards. Colgate’s offense began to find a rhythm, but Villanova’s defense stepped up to hold the Raiders to a 21-yard field goal. Watkins and the Wildcats responded with a long drive of their own that ended in another touchdown to extend the lead to 14-3. At this point, it seemed like the Wildcats would run away with the game here in the beginning of the second quarter. In Colgate’s next drive, Villanova’s defense forced a punt, but a roughing the kicker penalty on Kenyon Miles allowed the Raiders to continue their drive. With 8:57 left in the first half, Brescia found Saunders again for an amazing catch in the corner of the end zone to cut the deficit for Colgate to just four points.
However, once again, Watkins took control and scored another rushing touchdown on a 4th & Goal situation midway through the second quarter. Villanova forced a three and out drive from Colgate, and Villanova would dominate the game from here. The Wildcats took a 28-10 lead into halftime as they found a way to limit Colgate’s running game and forced Brescia into throwing to covered receivers. At almost 11pm, the Wildcats officially secured their victory against the Raiders, 42-19.
Overall, Coach Ferrante stressed the balance of this Villanova team this season at the CAA Media Day. And so far, through two games, the balance has really shown. Connor Watkins has really developed his passing game and the offense has become explosive. The defense has also excelled this season in limiting the big plays.
With this, the Wildcats will have a tough task next week against UCF in Florida. Even though this will be a tough game for Villanova, the Wildcats have played well enough this season to keep that game competitive this weekend.