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QB Connor Watkins taking a break as the defense takes the field.

Villanova Puts Up Record-Setting Performace to Rout Colgate

Tagged under: Gameday Hub, News, Pennsylvania Colleges, pfn

| September 10, 2023

Villanova, PA – The game hung in the balance with storm clouds slowly rolling over, it was gameday. A home opener for the Villanova Wildcats. Their opponent was the Colgate Raiders, traveling down the coast from New York. Colgate was looking to bounce back from their embarrassing blowout 0-65 loss to Syracuse last week. Villanova was ready to start a winning streak, coming off their season opening win against Lehigh, 38-10. Ultimately, it was Villanova taking the ‘W’ on their home turf with a record setting passing performance led by Connor Watkins with a final score of 42-19.

As the rain slowly crept in it was time for college football, gates were set to open at 4:30 p.m. Unfortunately, with lighting in the distance gates did not open till about 6 p.m. That pushed the 6:03 p.m. kickoff to 6:40 p.m., foreshadowing the long night ahead.

As fans got antsy wanting their dose of college football, it was just around the corner. Colgate won the toss and elected to receive. With Matthew Mercurio back to kickoff for the Wildcats it was finally time for football. The first half started out fast. Colgate would fail to move the ball to start the game and would be forced to punt. Villanova would not waste the chance to put up a score first. A seven play drive would be capped off with a 25-yard Jalen Jackson touchdown run. Mercurio sank the PAT and the Wildcats took an early 7-0 lead with 8:39 left in the first. That would be the time left in the first for almost just over an hour. Lighting would again disrupt the game, into a delay it went. Play would resume at 8:15 p.m., two hours and fifteen minutes after the original scheduled kickoff.

Colgate was not playing around and came out firing. Michael Brescia would sling a pass to Treyvhon Saunders for 54-yards to put Colgate on Nova’s 21-yard line. Villanova’s red zone defense would hold off Colgate to force a 21-yard FG attempt. Jacob Jaworski’s kick would sail through the uprights and shorten the score gap to 7-3. That field goal also marked Colgate’s first points of the season. Villanova would get a touchdown of their own by way of a Watkins one-yard run. That lengthened the gap again to 14-3. Colgate would tack on their first touchdown of the season to bring it back to 10-14. Villanova would add two more touchdowns to their score, leaving the half with a 28-10 lead. One of those touchdowns came from a one play drive. Connor Watkins threw a dart to Rayjuon Pringle for a 67-yard touchdown.

A defensive highlight for the Wildcats was Isas Waxter who picked off Colgate’s Brescia to end the half. He had an amazing night finishing with three tackles, two pass break-ups and an interception.

After that, Colgate would stay quiet for much of the second half. Villanova, on the other hand, lit up the skies and ground like the lighting before them. Connor Watkins would go to throw a career-high 310 passing yards, but only on eight completions. That also marks the most efficient 300-yard passing game in school history.

Villanova came out to start the half with the ball and created a drive of perfection. A four play, 75-yard drive would end in a Connor Watkins pass to Antonio Johnson for a one-yard touchdown. Villanova led 35-10. The rest of the half was an odd one. It was some short drives ending in punts for both teams. Colgate would have the second longest drive of the game resulting in a field goal. Both teams would add one more touchdown of their own to bring the score to 42-19. That score would remain the same for the rest of the game. Villanova would run the ball as well as run out the clock. The game ended four hours and 47 minutes after the original scheduled kickoff. Wildcats claim their second win of the season on their home turf, marking their 17th straight win against Patriot League teams.

Villanova now 2-0 will head down south on Saturday to face some tough competition in UCF (2-0). The Wildcats know it will be no easy task to take down an FBS team. They are 4-21 in their last 25 FBS matchups. As for Colgate, they fall to 0-2. The Raiders will head back home to Hamilton, NY to face an Ivy League team in UPenn (0-0) on Saturday. For UPenn, that will be their season opener, and for Colgate, their home opener.

Pennridge alum LB Shane Hartzel

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