The Black and Whites quickly put their Challenge Cup semi-final exit behind as Mahe Fonua (2), Adam Swift (2) and Connor all scored tries at Wheldon Road.
They only led 12-6 at the break but Connor stepped up to help take control against a stubborn Castleford side and end a three-match losing run.
The England international created Fonua’s first with a stunning leap and offload before his killer pass created the centre’s second and a 40/20 kick helped set up his own.
“Jake had some touches tonight which showed how much class he has,” said Australian Hodgson.
“I’ve not seen many players in my career who have as much skills as Jake has.
“He can just do things. We saw the way he jumped, got the ball and got the pass on to Mahe (Fonua) all in one motion for that try in the first half. It’s just pure talent there.
“But Mahe went well, too, and Chris Satae was unbelievable.
“His start to this season has been immense. Ligi (Sao) again was strong starting the way he did.
“It was a really difficult week and - both sides playing just five days after semi-finals - I think what we saw was two flat teams.
“It was always going to be difficult but thankfully we did enough.”
Victory came at a cost, though, with Hull losing centres Carlos Tuimavave and Cameron Scott to injuries - having already seen fellow centre Josh Griffin to a season-ending Achilles injury in the semi-final loss to St Helens.
“It doesn’t look good for either Carlos or Cam,” said Hodgson.
“Carlos has done a hamstring and we think Cam did his AC joint.
“Josh Bowden limped off with an ankle issue at the end, too.
“We were down to 20 fit players this week so it will make it difficult.”