KINGSTON, R.I. -- Phil Atkinson scored three touchdowns as Villanova routed Rhode Island 44-7 on Saturday.
Atkinson's first score was an 84-yard touchdown reception from Christopher Whitney that tied the game at 7 in the first quarter. He added a 10-yard run in the third quarter and a 3-yard touchdown reception in the fourth quarter.
Atkinson finished with 5 catches for 108 yards for Villanova (5-1, 3-0 Colonial Conference). Aaron Ball added 95 yards on 10 carries.
Rhode Island (2-6, 0-4) took an early lead when quarterback Derek Cassidy ended a nine-play, 80 yard drive with a 21-yard run with 4:42 remaining in the first quarter.
Atkinson's first scoring reception came 41 seconds later. Villanova made it 14-7 when backup quarterback Antwon Young hit Angelo Babbaro for a 60-yard scoring catch. Babbaro scored again in the final moments of the first half with a 1-yard run that gave Villanova a 21-7 lead.
Ball increased Villanova's lead to 28-7 on a 34-yard touchdown run on the first play of the second half. Atkinson's touchdown run and final touchdown reception, on a toss from Young, made it 42-7. A safety by Damian Kelley ended the scoring.