LEWISTON, Maine – The Wesleyan University football team outscored Bates College in the third quarter, 23-0, en route to a decisive 44-13 win on the road Saturday afternoon. Senior quarterback Mark Piccirillo totaled 270 yards of offense with four touchdowns and zero interceptions as the Cardinals improved to 3-2 on the season.
With the win today, Wesleyan has now defeated Bates 13 straight times. The Bobcats' (0-5) last win over the Cardinals was in 2005.
FIRST HALF HIGHLIGHTS:
- The game featured three straight punts to start until Wesleyan took over at its own-49 with 4:15 on the clock. Five plays later, Piccirillo rushed 32 yards for a score to cap off a 51-yard drive in just 1:59 as the Cardinals took a 7-0 lead.
- Wesleyan forced a Bates' three-and-out and took over at its own-36 early in the second quarter. On the third play of the drive, Piccirillo completed a 58-yard TD to wide receiver Dario Highsmith '20 as the visitors went ahead, 14-0.
- The Bobcats took over and went 75 yards on 12 drives as QB Brendan Costa capped it off with a four-yard touchdown pass to RB Christian Sanfilippo. Taj Gooden '21 blocked the PAT as Wesleyan held a 14-6 lead with 7:36 to play in the half.
- Bates regained possession after forcing a Wesleyan punt and were forced to punt as well, but Wesleyan fumbled and the Bobcats recovered at the visitors' 36-yard line. However, only 16 seconds remained and Bates couldn't capitalize as the teams went into the half with the Cardinals leading by eight.
SECOND HALF HIGHLIGHTS:
- It was all Wesleyan in the third quarter as the Cardinals' defense dominated and forced four punts and a turnover on downs.
- After back-to-back three-and-outs to start the half, Wesleyan took over at its own-43 with 12:20 on the clock. Piccirillo rushed for 34 yards on the first play of the drive but the Cardinals had to settle for a 42-yard field goal by Patrick Wolff '21.
- After another Bates' three-and-out, Piccirillo capped off a five-play drive with a 12-yard strike to Highsmith to lift the visitor's lead to 24-6.
- The Bobcats went four it on 4th-and-1 at their own-34 yard line on their ensuing possession and were stuffed by Isaiah Thomas '19 and Nick Richards '20. On the next play, Piccirillo threw a 34-yard touchdown to freshman Matthew Simco. The TD was Simco's first of his career.
- Wesleyan wasn't done in the third quarter just yet. After forcing yet another three-and-out, the Cardinals took over in their opponent's side of the field and on the first play, Sean Penney '21 rushed 43 yards for a touchdown as the visitors went ahead, 30-6.
- Bates was forced to punt yet again and finished the third quarter with just five yards in five drives, while the Cardinals scored 23 points on just 15 plays.
- On Wesleyan's final drive of the third quarter, which carried over into the fourth, Bates snapped its scoreless streak as Tyler Harrington sacked Piccirillo and forced a fumble. Ramon Ruiz picked it up and ran 68 yards for a touchdown.
- After back-to-back drives that resulted in punts, Wesleyan took over at the Bates' 35-yard line following a 38-yard return by David Estevez '22. Freshman running back Charlie McPhee then carried the ball all six times on the drive before rushing for his first career score, a 12-yard touchdown.
- Bates' next play was intercepted by another freshman, Samson Dube, as time expired.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS:
- Wesleyan outgained the Bobcats 429-to-157 while holding Bates to just 10 first downs. The Cardinals threw for 185 yards and rushed for a season-high 244.
- Piccirillo was 10-of-15 for 185 yards passing, 3 TD's and 0 INT. He also rushed 12 times for a game-high 85 yards and a score. Highsmith led all receivers with four catches for 80 yards and two touchdowns. Defensively, Wesleyan was led by Brandon Morris '19 who finished with 10 tackles, while Gooden recorded four, a sack and a pass break-up.
- For Bates, Costa went 11-for-24 with 78 yards, 1 TD and 1 INT. He led the team in carries with 11 and gained just 26 yards. Marcus Ross led the receiving corps with 26 yards on three catches and Joe Frake led the defense with 10 tackles. Harrington and Walter Washington eached recorded a sack.
- The Cardinals are back in action next Saturday, Oct. 20 for a Little Three showdown on Homecoming Weekend against undefeated Amherst (5-0). Kickoff is scheduled for 1 p.m.