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Week 5 Preview -- Wesleyan (2-2) vs. Bates (0-4)

Photo by Lianne Yun '18
Photo by Lianne Yun '18

Wesleyan vs. Bates Series

Wesleyan (2-2) and Bates (0-4) meet for the 37th time on Saturday in a series that has been dominated by the Cardinals. The last win by the Bobcats was a 30-29 overtime victory in 2005. Since then, it's been all Wesleyan as the Cardinals have won 12 in a row and are 32-4 all-time against their NESCAC foe.

Last year, Bates jumped out to a 14-0 lead early on but was outscored by Wesleyan, 41-9 the rest of the way. The Cardinals gained 537 yards of total offense with 388 through the air and 149 on the ground. They converted 29 first downs and held a 33:53 time of possession. QB Mark Piccirillo '19 was 31-of-44 for 388 yards passing, 2 TD and 1 INT. He also rushed 11 times for 84 yards and a score, while Sean Penney '21 rushed 14 times for 54 yards and 2 TD. Mike Breuler '18 caught 11 balls for 170 yards and a score, and Gernald Hawkins '18 recorded 12 receptions for 118 yards and a touchdown. Defensively, Brandon Morris '19 led all players with 14 tackles, including two for a loss, and Taj Gooden '21 recorded the game's only sack.

For the Bobcats, QB Brendan Costa was just 7-of-20 for 97 yards and a touchdown, but he led all players in rushing with 170 yards on 18 carries including a score. Peter Boyer finished with 14 carries, 53 yards, and a TD, and Jason Lopez caught two passes for 78 and a touchdown. Bates finished with 384 yards of total offense with 97 in the air and 287 on the ground. On the defensive side, Bobby Dee and Chase Fulton led the way with 11 and 10 tackles, respectively.

Wesleyan is coming off a 28-20 win over Colby (0-4) to snap a two-game losing streak. The final score was much closer than it appeared, however, as the Cardinals held a 28-7 lead with just 1:45 to play in regulation. After Wesleyan's last touchdown, Colby scored three plays later off a 63-yard completion. The Mules then recovered an onside kick and scored 1:23 later. They kicked another onside kick with :14 on the clock but it resulted in a penalty and ended the game. Piccirillo finished with 269 yards of offense and three touchdowns. He was 15-of-24 for 166 yards, 2 TD and 1 INT through the air, and carried the ball 17 times for 103 yards and a score. Glenn Smith '21 rushed 11 times for 72 yards and a touchdown and also caught three passes for 26 yards and a score. Hallvard Lundevall '20 led the team in receiving yards with 50 on two catches and Cole Harris '19 led the defense with a game-high 14 tackles, while Gooden finished with nine, two sacks and four tackles for a loss.

The Bobcats lost to Williams (4-0) last Saturday, 31-7, but posted a season-high 259 yards of offense. They trailed 17-0 after the first quarter but held the Ephs scoreless over the next 30 minutes. Bates finished with 99 yards passing and 160 rushing while holding the undefeated Ephs to 114 yards passing and 245 rushing. Costa finished 12-of-29 for 99 yards, 0 TD and 2 INT. He also rushed 10 times for 59 yards. Liam Spillane led the team with 24 carries and 72 yards, while Christian Sanfilippo scored the only TD with a 1-yard rush. Jon Lindgren led the defense with seven tackles, two for a loss and one pass break-up.

The Cardinals rank third in the NESCAC in scoring (30.5 points/game) and fifth in total offense (366.5 yards/game). They also lead the league in third-down conversions (51%), punt return average (15.0 yards/game) and PATs (15-15). Defensively, they are fifth in scoring (22.5 points/game) and total defense (305.3 yards/game), but lead the league in defensive touchdowns (2) and are tied for first in interceptions (5). Individually, Piccirillo ranks second in passing (193.3 yards/game) and passing touchdowns (7), Lundevall ranks fifth in receiving touchdowns (2), and Harris is fourth in the league in tackles (8.8 per game).

Bates' offense ranks ninth in scoring, averaging just 11.0 points per game, and is last in the NESCAC in total offense as it averages just 177.3 yards per game. The Bobcats average only 105.0 passing yards and 72.3 rushing yards per game and are the most penalized team in the league with 26 on the year. On the defensive side, they rank ninth in yards (451.3 per game) and last in scoring (39.0 points/game). Individually, Lindgren ranks third in the conference with 9.5 tackles per game. Bates is currently riding a five-game losing streak dating back to last year and has been outscored 156-44 this season.

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