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Wesleyan Loses First Game of Season to Middlebury

Photo by Steve McLaughlin Photography
Photo by Steve McLaughlin Photography

-- Courtesy of Middlebury Athletic Communications --

MIDDLEBURY, Vt. – The Wesleyan football team saw its unbeaten streak come to an end on Saturday as the Cardinals lost to Middlebury, 45-21 on Youngman Field at Alumni Stadium.

With the loss, Wesleyan is now 5-1 on the season while the Panthers improved to 6-0 and sit atop the NESCAC standings as the lone undefeated team in the conference.

FIRST HALF HIGHLIGHTS: 

  • Middlebury led 3-0 on a 20-yard field goal from Carter Massengill before Wesleyan went up 7-3 when Matthew Simco made a nice grab over the middle for a 34-yard touchdown reception from Ashton Scott early in the second quarter.
  • The Panthers answered, marching 75 yards on seven plays to go up 10-3 on a two-yard rush from Alex Maldjian. Quarterback Will Jernigan gained a first down on a 21-yard run while connecting with Aidan Power for 29 yards on the drive.
  • The lead grew to 17-7 at the 5:11 mark of the second quarter when Jernigan found Greg Livingston wide open in the right corner of the end zone for a 23-yard scoring play. Livingston finished the drive with four catches for 68 yards of the 79 gained.
  • After the Middlebury defense forced a three-and-out, Jernigan connected with Maxwell Rye down the left sideline for an 80-yard touchdown strike on the first play of the drive, giving the Panthers a 24-7 advantage at the half.

SECOND HALF HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Middlebury added to its lead on its first drive of the second half when Jernigan found Maxim Bochman for a 25-yard touchdown pass. A 23-yard completion to Frank Cosolito was the big play on the drive.
  • Maldjian scored his second touchdown of the game with 6:04 remaining in the third quarter on a five-yard run. The short drive was set up by a 30-yard connection from Jernigan to Livingston as the Panthers led 38-7.
  • Wesleyan answered when Scott tossed a 28-yard touchdown pass to Glenn Smith, cutting the lead to 38-14 at the 3:17 mark.
  • Middlebury added to its cushion in the fourth quarter, taking advantage of an interception by Kevin Hartley. Five plays later, Jernigan connected with Rye in the left corner of the end zone for an 18-yard scoring strike.
  • The Cardinals scored a late touchdown on a 53-yard pass from Scott to Delando Clarke, making it a 45-21 final.

INSIDE THE NUMBERS:

  • Scott went 15-31 for 261 yards for the Cardinals, throwing three touchdown passes with one interception. David Estevez was 1-5 for nine yards but gained 89 yards on the ground on 11 carries. Simco led the receivers with three catches for 63 yards and a touchdown. Will Kearney led all tacklers with 18 in the game, while Taj Gooden made 11 stops.
  • Jernigan completed 18 of 25 passes for 359 yards with four touchdowns on the afternoon. He also gained 36 yards on the ground. Maldjian rushed for 96 yards and a pair of scores on 24 carries. Rye recorded 148 yards receiving on six catches with a pair of touchdowns, while Livingston gained 98 yards on five receptions with a touchdown. Jack Pistorius paced the Panther defense with 10 tackles and two sacks.

UP NEXT:

  • Wesleyan is back in action on Saturday, Oct. 26 when they head to Little Three rival Amherst for a 1 p.m. kickoff.