BLOOMINGTON, Ill. - Junior T.J. Stinde rushed for 135 yards and three touchdowns and the Illinois Wesleyan team amassed 474 yards of total offense on the way to a 49-13 season-opening win over Aurora at IWU's Tucci Stadium on Saturday (Sept. 1).
The Titans opened the scoring with 12:33 to play in the first period on a five-play, 63 yard drive that was capped by a 39 yard touchdown run by Stinde. Freshman Michael Kelley added the extra point kick, the first of his seven of the day.
Aurora's Jerome Christmas intercepted a Rob Gallik pass and returned it 22 yards for a score to get the Spartans on the board with 9:15 left in the first. Fernando Albarran added the kick to tie the score at 7-7.
Stinde's second touchdown, with 12:30 left in the half, was set up by an interception return by Connor Klein of 32 yards that gave the Titans the ball at the 7 and Stinde rushed in from there to give IWU a 14-7 edge.
Aurora scored on an 85-yard TD pass from Jimmy Bevell to Mike Beasley-Hart with 7:39 to go in the half to make the IWU lead 14-13 as the extra point kick failed.
Gallik, who completed 18 of 26 for 214 yards in the game, threw two TD passes in the second quarter. The first, at 5:19, was for 39 yards to Alex Garvey and the second, with 1:22 to go before halftime, went 43 yards to Tate Musselman.
IWU completed a 28-point second quarter on a 5-yard scoring run by Stinde with 11 seconds before intermission with IWU ahead 35-13.
Wesleyan's third quarter score came on a 3-yard run by Sean Conley with 4:22 left and sophomore Tyrell Bolden had a 51-yard run with 7:58 to play in the game to cap the scoring.
Defensively the Titans were paced by Mike Kraft and Mike Heaton with seven total tackles while Klein had six to go along with his interception. Zachary Borta accounted for IWU's lone sack for -8 yards.
Hayes Cooper had 12 total tackles for Aurora while Michael Bajc (-9 yards) and Dan Maxwell (-8 yards) had quarterback sacks.
The Titans host Alma in another non-conference game at 1 p.m. next Saturday (Sept. 8). The Scots were handled 45-0 by Heidelberg on Saturday.