MIDDLETOWN, Conn. – The Wesleyan University football team dominated all areas of the game Saturday afternoon in a 24-0 shutout over Bowdoin College. For the first time in school history, the Cardinals played on Citrin Field due to inclement weather conditions as they improved to 4-3 overall. With the loss, the Polar Bears drop to 0-7 on the season.
FIRST HALF HIGHLIGHTS:
- The heavy rain made it difficult for both offenses early on but the Cardinals put together an impressive drive on their second possession of the game. Starting at their own-26, Wesleyan went 74 yards on 16 plays as running back Glenn Smith jumped over the line from a yard out for the first score of the game at the 1:15 mark of the first quarter. The drive took 8:24 off the clock.
- After a 3-and-out, Wesleyan took over but was forced to punt 10 plays later as David Estevez pinned the Polar Bears at their own 4-yard line. Bowdoin lost a yard on the drive and punted, giving the Cardinals great field position with 9:10 left in the half. Starting at the Bowdoin-36, Smith gained 13 yards on two rushes before QB Mark Piccirillo capped off the drive with a 23-yard touchdown to TE Matthew Simco. Simco was covered well but leaped higher than the defender as he secured the catch near the back right pylon to give the home team a 14-0 lead with under eight minutes to play in the half.
- Neither team was able to score the rest of the way as the Cardinals held a two-touchdown advantage at the break.
SECOND HALF HIGHLIGHTS:
- Bowdoin received the ball to start the second half but was forced to punt after a 7-play drive. The Cardinals took over and after a 31-yard rush by Smith on the first play that brought Wesleyan to the Polar Bears' 10-yard line, Bowdoin's defense stepped up in the red zone and forced a field goal as Patrick Wolff kicked one from 25 yards out to increase the lead to 17.
- The rest of the third quarter featured four total punts as neither team could get much going offensively.
- After three punts to start the fourth, Wesleyan took over at the Bowdoin-46. Six plays, 46 yards later, Piccirillo found an open Hallvard Lundevall in the back of the end zone as the 6'5" wide receiver was able to come down with one foot in. The touchdown proved to be the final score of the game with 8:20 remaining on the clock.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS:
- Wesleyan's defense was impressive as it held Bowdoin to only 100 yards of offense (80 passing, 20 rushing) and just six first downs. The Cardinals finished with 368 yards of offense with 158 through the air and 210 on the ground
- Smith recorded the first 100-yard rushing game of his career as he finished with 105 yards on 20 carries and a score. Piccirillo was 15-of-28 for 158 yards, two touchdowns, and an interception. He also rushed 15 times for 70 yards. Estevez finished with a team-high 74 yards on seven catches.
- Defensively, the Cardinals were led by Taj Gooden with two sacks and a forced fumble. Brandon Morris had four tackles, including one for a loss and a pass break-up, and Will Kearney led the team with five tackles. Freshman Danny Banks recorded the first interception of his career.
- Austin McCrum was 12-of-25 for 80 yards and a pick for Bowdoin. Andrew Tichy and Griff Stalcup finished with 32 and 31 receiving yards, respectively, and Brendan Ward rushed six times for 14 yards.
- Drew Ortiz led all players with 14 tackles and also forced a fumble. Joe Gowetski recorded 11 tackles and a pass break-up, and Cameron Rondeau finished with five tackles and an interception.
- Wesleyan is back in action next Saturday, Nov. 3 and will play at Little Three rival Williams beginning at 1 p.m. The Cardinals then wrap up the 2018 season at home on Nov. 10 against Trinity at 12 p.m.