Villanova Defeats Towson 33 – 10 to Go 6 – 1 in the Conference
VILLANOVA, PA. 11/11/2023 –
The Villanova Wildcats find themselves in position to play a very meaningful game in November. That will come next week in a Battle of the Blue game at Delaware. To accomplish that they needed to win over the Towson Tigers. The Wildcats did so 33 – 10 on Senior Day at Villanova Stadium behind a big day from wide receiver Rayjuon Pringle who scored on two touchdown catches. #13/18 Villanova is 6 – 1 and will remain in a tie for first place in the Coastal Athletic Association.
“I think we are playing pretty good complementary football right now,” said Villanova Coach Mark Ferrante. “I think we are playing resilient, I think we are playing physical, and playing fast. Complementary football with offense, defense and special teams holding their weight as well. Always good to get a win at home, and on Senior Day, and to end the season undefeated at home.”
Big Play Receptions For Pringle
The wide receiver caught 5 passes for 180 yards. In the first quarter he hauled in a pass from quarterback Connor Watkins for a 79-yard scoring strike and a 7 – 0 lead. It was one-yard shy of his career-longest reception. And it gave the Wildcats a 7 – 0 lead. Pringle became the first player in school history to have three collegiate catches of over 75 yards. All three have come this season.
“A lot of times I know what the defense is, so I kind of find that sweet spot and just sit,” Pringle said about why he is productive.
Over his time at Villanova Pringle has 123 receptions for 2,444 yards and 23 touchdowns. The career average for the wide receiver is 19.9 yards, the best in school history currently, and ahead of 18.6 yards held by Mike Siani and Brian Finneran. The production today is the fourth 150-yard plus game and ties him with Brian Westbrook for the third most in program history. Siani, Finneran, Westbrook, great company in which to be included.
The contest did not start well for Villanova as Watkins was intercepted on the first possession in Wildcats territory. The defense rose up and stopped Towson on downs. The ball went back to the offense and Watkins found Pringle for that 7 – 0 lead.
Later in the game it appeared the Wildcats were going to score another touchdown, but running back Jalen Jackson fumbled and the Tigers recovered at the one-yard line. Again, the defense rallied to the occasion and sacked Towson quarterback Nathan Kent who fumbled in the endzone. Towson recovered, but the defense put two-points on the scoreboard. Something that made linebacker Shane Hartzell smile.
“That was nice,” Hartzell said. “We were talking about that at halftime, the defense go out and score. Points from the safety counts.”
The Game Sequence
Leading 10 – 0 going into the second quarter Nova took control of the game scoring a touchdown the next three times they had the ball. The first score was on a 63-yard catch and run by Pringle at the 2:43 mark. Just before halftime Watkins found wide receiver Jaylan Sanchez with a 19-yard scoring strike. Late in the third quarter running back TD Ayo-Durojaiye ran the ball in from 4-yards away and a 31 – 3 Villanova lead.
What the Numbers Say
Watkins threw for 299 yards, 3 passes for a touchdown. The Wildcats ran for 255 yards led by Jackson with 85 yards. Freshman running back Ja’briel Mace totaled 76 on the ground followed by DeeWil Barlee who gained 74 yards.
Towson scored with 7:10 remaining in the game on a 75-yard dash up the middle by running back Chris Watkins.
Defensively, Villanova held Towson to 211 total offensive yards, and just 9 first downs. The Wildcats defense was on the field for 18:58. Hartzell, who had a team-high 7 tackles, knows what stat means the most.
“They had 10 points, and that’s what we really care about,” said Hartzell. “Holding them to nine first downs is nice to get off the field, but at the end of the day 10 points will win you a game.”
Villanova can play for potentially the conference championship. The scenarios are too numerous to figure out. There were five teams tied for first place and six teams tied for second place coming into this game. Too confusing. Let’s just say that Villanova will play a huge game at Delaware. A Battle of the Blue.
“To be in a position to play a meaningful game in November is awesome,” said Ferrante. “Now we are playing a more meaningful game against a rival next week that can carry a lot more weight than just a meaningful game. So we’ll be ready.”
Written By: Glenn Papazian