In The Air Homecoming Game for Villanova

Air Attack Sets Season Marks in 48 – 13 Win Over Stony Brook

October 28, 2023 –

It was a beautiful day weather wise. Bright and sunny conditions that attracted a large Homecoming crowd at Villanova Stadium. And there was an honor paid to former Wildcat Brian Westbrook on his induction to the College Football Hall of Fame. The team was coming off a bye week and showed no rust, especially in the passing game getting close to 400 yards in the air in a 48 – 13 win over Stony Brook. #19 Villanova improves to 4 – 1 in the CAA and remains in proximity to the top spot in the league.

“It was really good to have the pass game going today,” said Villanova Coach Mark Ferrante. “It all starts from the protection.”

The Passing Game

Quarterback Connor Watkins completed 13 of 19 passes. His completions were very efficient as he totaled 361 yards and 4 went for touchdowns, long touchdowns. Watkins found wide receiver Jaaron Hayek twice for touchdowns distances of 43 and 20 yards. Rayjoun Pringle caught a 76-yard scoring toss and had a 75-yard reception earlier in the game. Jaylen Sanchez had a 24-yard touchdown catch. Watkins set a season-high in passing yardage and touchdown passes in a single game. He spread the ball around and it was effective.

“I think it just goes to show that you can’t single out any guy in a given week,” said Watkins. “We have gotten the ball all over the field and made good plays which is a huge benefit for us.”

Records for the Wide Outs

Pringle caught 5 passes for 196 yards, a career-high. His 76-yard touchdown set a season-high as his longest reception. Hayek snared 4 balls for 102 yards, a season-best, and scored twice. The 43-yard touchdown catch was his longest this year. Sanchez hauled in 103 receiving yards and a score.

In the first half Watkins targeted Pringle (5) and Hayek (4) 9 times and connected each time. Pringle had 189 receiving yards at intermission and Hayek totaled 102 yards.

This is Hayek’s most active game in terms of production this season. He has battled back from injuries from both last season and this. It’s good to be back.

“I just got to trust the process,” said Hayek. “Guys like Connor and teammates around me, the resources around me, and coaches putting me in position to score, it’s an awesome feeling to be on the field with my guys. Knowing that all three of us got touchdowns, even better.”

The Running Game

Villanova gained 158 yards on the ground. Jalen Jackson led the way with 77 yards on 8 carries. He crossed the goal line on a 44-yard run.

Overall Villanova had 556 yards of offense and held Stony Brook to 294.

“We had the long run with Jalen, then all those guys got behind the defenders,” Ferrante said. “If they’re going to roll the safeties up, we’re going to take what the defense gives us. And if that leads to some of those explosives, that’s fine with us. Connor can put the ball in a lot of different places and get the ball down the field.”

The League as of Now

Villanova is in a three-way tie for third place in the CAA with UAlbany and Elon at 4 – 1. Richmond is in second place at 5 – 1 and Delaware tops the list at 4 – 0. Next week the Nova heads to New Hampshire, then hosts Towson, both teams sit below Villanova in the standings. If form holds it could set up an interesting Battle of the Blue in Newark on November 18. But that is far down the line.


Written By: Glenn Papazian


Jaaron Hayek (11) and Connor Watkins. Photo Courtesy of Villanova Athletics Communications.

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