CLINTON, N.Y. – Dario Highsmith '20 rushed 15 times for 95 yards and two touchdowns, while also catching five passes for 34 yards to help lead the Wesleyan University football team to a commanding 31-9 win on the road at Hamilton College Saturday.
The Cardinals (2-1) used a well-balanced offensive attack and held the Continentals (0-3) to a mere 244 yards of total offense in a game that featured a total of 26 penalties and five turnovers.
FIRST HALF HIGHLIGHTS:
- Hamilton received the ball first and drove 69 yards on 12 plays before Joe Suski made a 24-yard field goal to put the home team on the board first with 9:57 on the clock.
- Wesleyan responded, however, and drove 49 yards on nine plays to get down to the visitor's 16-yard line. Corey Phillips '17E would then kick a 33-yard field goal to even the game at 3-3.
- The Cardinals' defense forced a three-and-out to get the ball back at their own 39-yard line with 3:51 remaining in the quarter. Junior quarterback Mark Piccirillo went 3-for-3 on the drive and capped it off with a 34-yard touchdown to Evan Hull '19 to put Wesleyan on top, 10-3.
- The next six drives went punt – punt – turnover on downs – fumble – punt – interception. The Continentals picked off Piccirillo at the Wesleyan-12 with 2:42 remaining in the half. Following a pass interference call on the visitors, which brought Hamilton to the two-yard line, Mitch Bierman took the handoff and ran around the left end for the score. However, the extra-point attempt missed wide left to keep the Cardinals ahead, 10-9.
- Wesleyan took over with 1:43 on the clock, and ran six plays for 59 yards as Piccirillo connected with Hull once again for a 16-yard score.
- The Cardinals held a 17-9 lead at the break.
SECOND HALF HIGHLIGHTS:
- Wesleyan got the ball first to start the second half, and drove 11 plays down to the Hamilton-1. Highsmith would then cap off the drive with a run off the left tackle for his first of the game as the visitors took a commanding 24-9 lead.
- Hamilton punted on their next drive, and Wesleyan made its way down to the Continentals' 25-yard line before fumbling to end the third quarter.
- After forcing another punt, the Cardinals took over at the 11:30 mark from their own 6-yard line. Piccirillo went 5-for-6 on the drive before Highsmith capped it off with a 29-yard score to put the game out of reach, 31-9. The drive took 6:04 off the clock.
- Ben Thaw '20 intercepted Kenny Gray on Hamilton's next possession to give Wesleyan the ball back with 3:54 to play as the Cardinals ran out the clock en route to their second consecutive win.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS:
- Wesleyan finished with 449 yards of total offense, with 253 through the air and 196 on the ground. Piccirillo went 25-33 for 253 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. He also ran 12 times for 48 yards.
- Hull led the receiving corps with 75 yards on five catches and two TD's, while Mike Breuler '18 secured eight catches for 60 yards.
- Defensively, Elias Camacho '18 led the team with eight tackles and two break-ups. Shayne Kaminski '18 totaled seven tackles, two sacks and two break-ups, while Taj Gooden '21 added two sacks as well, including five tackles and one forced fumble.
- Gray went 17-36 for the Continentals with 196 yards, zero TD's and one interception. He also ran 10 times for negative one yard, while Bierman led the rushing attack with 34 yards on nine carries and a score. As a team, Hamilton managed just 48 yards on the ground.
- Christian Donahoe led the aerial attack for the home team with a game-high 125 receiving yards on eight catches, and Joe Schmidt added 42 yards on four receptions.
- Hamilton's defense was led by Cole Burchill, who finished with 16 tackles. Justin Leigh recorded eight tackles and an interception, while Bryce Phillips registered the other pick.
- Wesleyan returns home next Saturday, Oct. 7 and will host Colby at 1 p.m.