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Wesleyan’s Stifling Defense Helps Lead Cardinals Past Williams, 21-14

Photo by Steve McLaughlin
Photo by Steve McLaughlin

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. – The Wesleyan University football team held off a late scare by Little Three rival Williams College on Saturday afternoon as the Cardinals earned a 21-14 win on the road. The victory marks the sixth-straight for Wesleyan over the Ephs as both teams are now 5-3 on the year.

FIRST HALF HIGHLIGHTS:

  • The first quarter was a defensive battle that featured five punts and a missed field goal by the Cardinals.
  • It was a similar story in the second and after three-straight punts to start the quarter, Wesleyan eventually took over with 8:38 on the clock. Following a 12-yard punt return by Joe Scancarella, the Cardinals took over at the Wesleyan-33. Five plays later, Glenn Smith rushed for a seven-yard touchdown to put the visitors ahead 7-0 with 6:05 remaining in the half.
  • After back-to-back punts, Williams took over at its own-19. The Ephs drove 52 yards to the Wesleyan-29 and went for it on 4th-and-10 but Bobby Maimaron's pass to Frank Stola was incomplete as the half came to a close.

SECOND HALF HIGHLIGHTS:

  • The second half started much like the first with the first five drives resulting in punts.
  • With 4:32 on the clock in the third, Williams took over at its own-21. After driving 57 yards down to the Wesleyan-22, Will Kearney intercepted Maimaron at the visitor's 10-yard line and returned it 11 yards. However, the Cardinals were unable to capitalize and their ensuing possession resulted in a turnover on downs as the Ephs sacked Mark Piccirillo on 4th-and-7.
  • After forcing a three-and-out, Wesleyan took over at its own-25. Two plays later, Piccirillo threw a 75-yard touchdown to Hallvard Lundevall to put the Cardinals up by two scores, 14-0 with 8:38 remaining in regulation.
  • After back-to-back punts, Williams took over at its own-23 and on the second play of the drive, Jackson Bischoping was intercepted by Eli Blair-May and he took it back 30 yards for the pick-six to give Wesleyan a 21-0 lead with just 4:41 left on the clock.
  • Williams didn't go down easily, however, as the Ephs drove 49 yards on their next drive with Bischoping capping it off with a 12-yard strike to Stola. The drive took just 1:05 off the clock.
  • On the ensuing kickoff, the Ephs attempted the onside kick and recovered it at the Wesleyan-49 with 3:34 remaining in the game. Five plays later, Bischoping and Stola connected once again, this time for a seven-yard TD to make it a one-score game down 21-14 with 2:02 left to play.
  • The Ephs attempted another onside kick and just missed out on recovering it. They forced a three-and-out and took over at their own-35 with 1:29 to play, but Wesleyan's defense stepped up. Brandon Morris forced a fumble on a two-yard loss and Jackson Eighmy sacked Bischoping two plays later as Williams' drive ended in four plays for a loss of seven yards.
  • Wesleyan took over and was able to kneel to run out the clock.

INSIDE THE NUMBERS:

  • In a defensive battle, Williams outgained Wesleyan 282-to-272. The Ephs gained 290 yards through the air but Wesleyan's stifling defense held one of the NESCAC's top rushing attacks to negative eight yards rushing. The Cardinals finished with 151 yards through the air and 121 on the ground.
  • The game featured 19 punts as Wesleyan's defense forced 10. Williams held a slight 16-12 edge in first downs and the Cardinals led the time of possession battle, 31:51-to-28:09.
  • Piccirillo was 9-of-17 for 151 yards and one touchdown. He also rushed 16 times for 43 yards and Smith posted identical rushing numbers while also scoring once. Lundevall finished with three catches for 87 yards and one touchdown.
  • Defensively, Eighmy had a career game as he finished with three sacks for a loss of 25 yards. He had five total tackles, all for a loss, while Morris led the Cardinals with seven tackles and two for a loss, including a forced fumble.
  • Maimaron started under center for the Ephs and went 11-for-21 for 161 yards. He also rushed 15 times for just four yards. Bischoping went 11-of-24 for 171 yards, 2 TD and 2 INT. He finished with seven carries for a loss of 25 yards. Carter Begel led the team with eight carries for just 10 yards and Stola led all players with nine catches, 128 receiving yards and two scores.
  • Williams' defense was led by Jarrett Wesner and TJ Rothman with nine tackles each. Jameson DeMarco had the Ephs' lone sack for a loss of 12 yards.

UP NEXT:

  • The Cardinals wrap up the regular season next Saturday, Nov. 10 at home against in-state rival Trinity. Kickoff is scheduled for 12 p.m.
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