Score: Wesleyan 59, Williams 14
Records: Wesleyan (6-1), Williams (0-7)
Location: Williamstown, Mass. (Weston Athletic Complex)
Date: Saturday, November 5th
Time: 1 p.m.
The Lead: The Wesleyan University football team scored eight touchdowns in the first half, led by a terrific performance from sophomore quarterback Mark Piccirillo, as the Cardinals cruised to a commanding 59-14 win over Williams College Saturday afternoon to claim the Little Three title for the second time in the past four seasons, and the first since 2013.
FIRST HALF HIGHLIGHTS:
- The Cardinals dominated the first half from start to finish, scoring eight touchdowns and gaining 390 yards of offense, while forcing three fumbles and one interception.
- Piccirillo was near perfect, as he went 14-of-19 for 288 yards and five touchdowns. He also rushed six times for 66 yards and a score. His favorite target was Mike Breuler '18, who caught four passes for 125 yards and three touchdowns. Additionally, Devon Carrillo '17 scored two rushing touchdowns on three attempts, and also caught six passes for 95 yards and one touchdown.
- Wesleyan scored three touchdowns within the first 4:39 of play on just eight plays, setting the tone from the beginning.
- After forcing a three-and-out, Piccirillo found a wide-open Breuler near the left pylon for a 32-yard touchdown to go ahead, 7-0.
- Williams punted four plays later. After back-to-back long runs from Piccirillo and Dario Highsmith '20, respectively, Carrillo eventually ran untouched right up the middle to put Wesleyan ahead, 14-0.
- The Ephs fumbled on their first play on their ensuing drive, and Wesleyan capitalized. On the next play, Piccirillo connected with Lou Stevens '17 near the visitor's sideline as he ran in untouched.
- It was a similar story for the majority of the half. Williams did gain 76 yards on its next drive in 4:28, as Jansen Durham completed a 16-yard touchdown to Kellen Hatheway to cut the deficit to 14. However, Wesleyan responded roughly a minute later when Piccirillo connected with Ben Kurtz '17 for a six-yard score.
- Williams' next three possessions resulted in a missed field goal, fumble, and interception as the Cardinals would increase its lead to 42-7.
- The Ephs' second touchdown of the half featured an impressive play by Jensen. In shotgun formation, the freshman placed the ball behind his back as an Eph player ran behind him for the sweep. Jansen faked the handoff and shifted through the Wesleyan defense for a 17-yard touchdown run.
- However, Wesleyan would score two more touchdowns in the final 1:01 of the second quarter to take a commanding 42-point lead into halftime.
SECOND HALF HIGHLIGHTS:
- The second half was a different story. The third quarter featured four drives, two ending in punts and one ending in downs.
- Wesleyan increased its lead to 45 early in the fourth quarter as Ike Fuchs '17 capped off a nine-play, 38-yard drive with a 38-yard field goal.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS:
- The Cardinals gained the majority of their yards in the first half and finished with 508 yards of total offense (353 passing; 155 rushing). Wesleyan's defense held Williams to 329 yards (191 passing; 138 rushing), while forcing five turnovers (one interception; four fumbles).
- Senior quarterback Steve Sobo '17 replaced Piccirillo in the second half and went 6-of-9 in the final 30 minutes of regulation for 65 yards. Durham finished 17-of-28 for 191 yards and one touchdown for the Ephs.
- Piccirillo finished as Wesleyan's leading rusher, while Steve Bohling ran 18 times for 85 yards to lead Williams.
- Defensively, Shayne Kaminski '18 led the Cardinals with seven tackles, while Cole Harris '18 and Brandon Morris '19 each recorded six. Grant Williams '19 registered a sack for Wesleyan as well. For the Ephs, Ben Anthony posted a game-high nine tackles.
BEYOND THE BOX SCORE:
- With the win today, and after defeating Amherst College earlier in the season, 20-0, Wesleyan captured the Little Three title for the 14th time in program history.
- The Cardinals have now won the Little Three title twice in the past four seasons (2016, 2013).
- Williams leads the all-time series, 76-41-5, but it's been all Wesleyan in recent years. The Cardinals have won four straight against their archrival.
- Today's win was Wesleyan's largest victory over the Ephs in the 122-game history of the rivalry. Prior to today, the Cardinals' largest win was a 35-0 victory in 1900. It's also the largest margin ever between Wesleyan and Williams – the Ephs defeated Wesleyan by 44 in 1973.
- Placekicker Ike Fuchs '17 scored 11 points for Wesleyan as he went a perfect 8-for-8 on extra points. The eight PATs are a new program record, surpassing the previous mark of seven held by Sebastian Aguirre '14 against Tufts in 2013.
- Head Coach Dan DiCenzo improves to 11-4 in two seasons at the helm of the Wesleyan football program.
- Wesleyan wraps up its 2016 season next Saturday, Nov. 12 with a chance to earn a piece of the NESCAC Championship as it hosts undefeated Trinity College (7-0) in the "Battle of the Birds" at 12 p.m.
- Williams ends its season on the road against its other Little Three rival, Amherst (3-4), beginning at 12 p.m.