MIDDLETOWN, Conn. – The Wesleyan University football team held Little Three archrival Williams College to just 127 total yards and only eight first downs as the Cardinals cruised to a commanding 35-0 win on Homecoming/Family Weekend at Corwin Stadium on Andrus Field Saturday.
Junior quarterback Mark Piccirillo's historic season continues as he went 26-of-32 for 272 yards, two touchdowns, and zero interceptions while also rushing 15 times for 69 yards and two scores. Senior wide receiver Mike Breuler recorded nine more catches for 104 yards to eclipse the 1,000-yard mark on the season—he now has 78 catches on the year for a new program record, surpassing the previous mark of 73 held by Matt Perceval '00 (1999).
The Cardinals improve to 6-2 with their fifth-consecutive win over the Ephs, who drop to 5-3 on the year. In the last four meetings between the two programs, Wesleyan has outscored its rival 143-21 including two shutouts.
FIRST HALF HIGHLIGHTS:
- The Cardinals received the opening kickoff and pieced together a terrific drive to start the game. Wesleyan ran 14 plays for 73 yards and most importantly, took 8:28 off the clock before Piccirillo capped it off with a two-yard dash to the left.
- The next three drives resulted in three-and-outs.
- The home team regained possession with 4:03 to play in the first quarter and on the third play of the drive, Breuler made an acrobatic leap over a defender but was knocked out of bounds in mid-air after gaining 28 yards. The drive got down to the Williams-2, but after a sack, the Cardinals were forced to kick the field goal and the attempt just barely missed wide right.
- Williams took over and nine plays later, quarterback Bobby Maimaron was intercepted by Brett Robertshaw '20 for his first of the year.
- The Ephs' defense held strong, however, and forced a three-and-out but they fumbled on their first play inside Wesleyan territory as the Cardinals recovered and took over.
- Wesleyan took advantage of the turnover as Piccirillo capped off a nine-play, 57-yard drive with another dive to the left for a two-yard TD.
- The visitor's got the ball back with 1:15 to play in the half. On the second play of the drive, Ben Thaw '20 made a terrific break on the ball and intercepted Maimaron with an incredible one-handed grab before securing the catch with two hands as he fell to the ground.
- Once again, the Cardinals capitalized on their opportunity. Taking over at the Williams-47 with :39 on the clock, back-to-back completions for 21 yards and 12 yards, respectively, set up a 1st-and-goal at the five. Piccirillo then found Hallvard Lundevall '20 in the end zone as the sophomore receiver made an incredible catch over a defender with just :02 remaining in the half to give the home team a 21-0 lead at the break.
SECOND HALF HIGHLIGHTS:
- The third quarter featured a defensive battle as neither team could get much going offensively. Williams received the kickoff and went three-and-out. The rest of the drives resulted in a turnover on downs (Wesleyan) – punt (Williams) – punt (Wesleyan) – punt (Williams) as the Cardinals maintained a 21-0 lead entering the fourth.
- On the first play of the quarter, Piccirillo found senior wide receiver AJ Girard wide open in the middle of the end zone for a 20-yard score to record his first career TD on Senior Day.
- Wesleyan's defense forced another three-and-out as the Cardinals took over at their own-41. On the third play of the drive, freshman running back Glenn Smith broke open an impressive 30-yard rush and on the next play, he punched it in from six yards out to give the home team a 35-0 advantage.
- On the Ephs' third drive of the quarter, they broke into Wesleyan territory for just the second time all game but turned the ball over on downs.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS:
- Piccirillo led the rushing attack for Wesleyan while Sean Penney added 54 yards on 15 carries and Smith registered 53 on eight attempts. Evan Hull secured seven catches for 81 yards. Wesleyan gained 455 yards of total offense and held an impressive 38:06-to-21:52 lead in time of possession.
- Defensively, Brandon Morris '19 led the team with eight tackles while KJ Laguerre '19 and Sam Green '21 each recorded a sack. With another interception Saturday, Thaw increased his season total to four to remain the NESCAC leader.
- Maimaron went 7-of-20 for 51 yards and two INT. Frank Stola led the team in rushing (32) and receiving (24) as the Ephs managed just 51 yards passing and 76 yards rushing as a team. Three players recorded double-digit tackles with Jarret Wesner leading the way (13) followed by Austin Thomas (11) and T.J. Rothman (10).
BEYOND THE BOX SCORE:
- Prior to the start of today's game, Wesleyan honored its 18-member Class of 2018. In their four years with the program, the seniors have amassed a 24-8 overall record and 13-3 mark at home. In their final game ever on Andrus Field, they cruised past Williams to cap off a perfect 4-0 mark in home games on the season.
- Wesleyan wraps up the 2017 campaign with a crucial matchup Saturday, Nov. 11 in the "Battle of the Birds" against Trinity at 1 p.m. The Bantams lost their first game of the season today against Amherst and are 6-1 overall.