The Millikin Big Blue football team lost 34-33 in an overtime thriller at #14 Illinois Wesleyan University on Sept. 29 in Bloomington, Ill.
In the overtime Illinois Wesleyan went up 34-27 on a four yard run by Sean Conley.
On Millikin's possession the Big Blue scored a touchdown on a pass from Matt Holmes to freshman Sean Maloney from 17 yards out. Playing on the road against a Top 20 team, Millikin Coach Patrick Etherton made to bold call to go for the win with a two-point conversion. On Millikin's first attempt at two the Titans were called for defensive holding. On Millikin's final try Holmes pass into the corner of the end zone fell incomplete.
Millikin had a strong first half and took a seven point lead into the locker room at halftime. Millikin built up a 27-13 advantage early in the third quarter on a Holmes to tight end Avery Aina touchdown six yard touchdown pass. The play was set up by a Christian Silva interception that gave Millikin the ball at the Titan 11 yard line.
Illinois Wesleyan would then score 14 unanswered points to tie the game at 27-27 with 1:38 remaining in the game. The Titan rally got started by a Rob Gallik to Alex Garvey four yard touchdown pass late in the third quarter. The game tying score game on a five yard run from TJ Stinde. A missed 44 yard Millikin field goal in the fourth quarter would also prove costly for the Big Blue.
On the Big Blue's first drive of the game Millikin was stopped on the Titan 20 yards. Illinois Wesleyan then went to work driving the length of the field. The Big Blue defense stiffened in the Red Zone and the momentum of the game shifted in Millikin's favor after a missed Titan field goal attempt.
On its next possession, Millikin scored on a 61 yard pass play from Holmes to Erik Tobey. On the play the ball tipped off the hands of the Big Blue's Sean Dunning and a heads up Tobey pulled down the catch behind the Titan defense and raced to the end zone.
After a failed onside kick attempt by Millikin, the Titans scored on a 27 yard pass play from Gallick to Garvey to pull ahead 7-6.
Millikin then answered back on a 12 play 72 yard drive that ended in a Holmes to Alex Chiligiris four yard touchdown pass to make it 13-7 Millikin early in the second quarter.
Later in the quarter a Paul Panno interception gave Illinois Wesleyan the ball at the Millikin five yard line. On the Titans first play Big Blue linebacker Jake Hazelton stripped ball carrier Stinde and Millikin's Andy Roth came up with the fumble recovery. Millikin then drove 87 yards and went up 20-7 on a six yard run by Sean Dunning. The drive was kept alive after a heads up Jake Palmer recovered a Dunning fumble at the Titan two-yard line.
Illinois Wesleyan closed out the half with a Gallik to Garvey four yard touchdown pass to make it 20-13 Big Blue at the half.
In addition to the one point difference on the scoreboard the stats show a very close ballgame with Millikin gaining 449 yards of total offense compared to 442 for the Titans.
Holmes finished the game 24-33-1 passing for 257 yards and four touchdowns. Holmes also accounted for 108 yards rushing. Dunning had 81 yards rushing and one touchdown. Tobey had six catches for 86 yards and one touchdown and Tommy Eichenauer had six catches for 67 yards.
Gallik was 22-31-1 passing for 210 yards and three touchdown passes.
Garvey had eight catches for 63 yards and three scores. Stinde had 180 yards and a touchdown for the Titans.
Marquette Moore led Millikin with 13 tackles. Silva had 10.
Millikin is now 3-1, 0-1 while the Titans go to 4-0, 1-0. The Big Blue will host North Central College on Oct. 6 for a 1 p.m. kickoff during Millikin's Homecoming festivities.