CLINTON, N.Y. – The Wesleyan University football team took a 7-0 lead in the closing seconds of the first quarter and never looked back, as the Cardinals defeated Hamilton on the road Saturday, 28-10 at Steuben Field.
Sophomore Ashton Scott went 10-16 for 170 yards, three touchdowns, and one interception while also leading the team in rushes with 21 carries for 82 yards. With the win, Wesleyan improves to 2-0 to begin the 2019 campaign. The Cardinals' defense forced four turnovers, all interceptions, and also sacked the quarterback four times as the Continentals dropped to 1-1.
FIRST HALF HIGHLIGHTS:
- The first two drives resulted in punts and on Hamilton's second drive, quarterback Kenny Gray was intercepted by Sam Kirk. Five plays later, Scott placed an excellent pass over the defender's head as Joe Scancarella showcased impressive concentration as he pulled in the grab for a 30-yard touchdown to give the Cardinals a 7-0 lead with 54 seconds to play in the quarter.
- The next five drives ended in a turnover on downs followed by four-straight punts.
- Wesleyan took over with 1:33 to play in the half but Scott was intercepted on the second play of the drive by Justin Leigh. Seven plays later, kicker Sam Thoreen hit from 29-yards out to cut the deficit to four, 7-3, with just 21 seconds on the clock.
SECOND HALF HIGHLIGHTS:
- The first two drives of the second half also ended in punts but Wesleyan got on the board early. On its second drive starting at its own-44 with 9:05 in the third, the Cardinals went 56 yards on six plays as Scott compted a six-yard touchdown to Connor Gregoire to put the visitors ahead, 14-3.
- Hamilton answered and went 75 yards on 10 plays in 6:10 as running back David Kagan capped off the drive with a nine-yard touchdown run. Following a successful extra point, the Continentals trailed 14-10 with seven seconds remaining in the third quarter.
- It was all Wesleyan in the final 15 minutes of play, however, as the Cardinals' defense came up big with three interceptions.
- On the visitors' first drive of the quarter, Scott threw another touchdown pass to Gregoire, this time from seven yards out with 11:39 on the clock.
- After back-to-back punts, Gray was then intercepted by John Lewis II at the visitor's 3-yardline.
- Wesleyan was forced to punt but on Hamilton's first play of its next drive, with 2:08 to play, Gray was picked off by Ben Thaw who returned it 31 yards for a touchdown to seal the victory, 28-10.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS:
- Both teams recorded 18 first downs and despite the loss, the Continentals held a 350-to-323 edge in total offense. Wesleyan gained 173 yards through the air and 150 on the ground, while Hamilton threw for 174 and rushed for 176. The Cardinals were only penalized three times for 25 yards, while the Continentals racked up six penalties for 70 yards.
- The other top offensive performers for Wesleyan were David Estevez, who rushed 10 times for 56 yards, while Scancarella led the team with 60 receiving yards on two catches and Matthew Simco hauled in three receptions for 58 yards.
- Defensively, Chase Pratt and Jackson Eighmy led the team with eight tackles each, while Eighmy recorded a sack and two tackles for a loss and Pratt broke up a pass. Nick Helbig and Nick Livingston each recorded 1.5 sacks to round out the defensive leaders.
- For Hamilton, Kagan led the way with a game-high 94 rushing yards on 16 carries and one touchdown. Gray finished 20-34 for 174 yards and three INT's, while also rushing 15 times for 35 yards. Joe Schmidt led all receivers with nine catches and 89 yards receiving.
- On the defensive side for the Continentals, Christian Snell led the way with eight tackles followed by Carmine Bruno with seven. Luca Katz recorded a sack and Leigh returned an interception for 21 yards.
- Wesleyan returns to Corwin Stadium next Saturday, Sept. 28 as it will host Bates at 1 p.m.