Wheaton, Ill. - The #20-Wheaton Thunder football team was a 44-10 winner on Saturday afternoon at home. Today's game was tied 10-10 midway in the second quarter when the Thunder scored 10 points in the final 3:34 of the first half to hold a 20-10 halftime lead The hosts added 24 more points in the second half and the Thunder defense held Carthage to just 25 yards of total offense after the halftime intermission.
Wheaton racked up 554 yards of offense on Saturday, averaging 6.7 yards per play. The Thunder passed for 296 yards and ran for 258 yards. The Wheaton defense held Carthage to just 133 total yards of offense, with 77 passing yards and 56 yards on the ground.
Quarterback Jordan Roberts was 24-for-27 passing with 258 yards through the air, with five touchdown passes. Roberts set a school single-game record in today's contest with 17 consecutive pass completions. He broke the previous mark of 16 straight completions that was set by Keith Bishop on October 1, 1983 against Elmhurst.
Sophomore Mark Hiben was Roberts' top target with seven catches for 86 yards and one touchdown. Morgan Cook caught six passes for 85 yards, with two touchdown catches. Peter Jarrett averaged 7.1 yards per carry as he ran for 78 yards on 11 attempts. Charlie Velling ran the ball 13 times for 76 yards. Sophomore Sam Cote converted three field goals, including a career-best 39-yarder.
Defensive back Garrett Cook made six tackles, all solo, to lead the Wheaton defense. Matt McReynolds made five stops, including two tackles for lost yardage of seven yards. Senior captain Pat Dansdill also registered five tackles, with two for lost yardage and Jared Todd had five tackles, including a quarterback sack. Defensive tackle Brandon Dykstra registered a team-best two quarterback sacks (-10 yards).
Carthage's Brandon Mecozzi led the Red Men defense with 18 total tackles. Pete Djurickovic caught five passes for 44 yards. Quarterback AJ Simoncelli was 7-for-27 passing, for 60 yards, with one interception and a touchdown. Simoncelli led the Carthage rushing attack with 11 carries for 54 yards.
Carthage scored first when kicker Brett Bukari converted a 31-yard field goal attempt to give the Red Men a 3-0 lead with 11:44 remaining in the first quarter. Cote responded with a 24-yard field goal to tie the game at 3-3 with 10:10 left in the first quarter. Cote's field goal was setup four plays earlier on a 55-yard run by Garrett Meador on the opening play of the drive.
Wheaton took a 10-3 lead with 9:58 left in the second quarter when Roberts connected with Luke Thorsen on a four-yard touchdown pass. The key play in the 7-play, 80-yard drive was a 31-yard pass from Roberts to Morgan Cook that got the Thunder to the Carthage eight-yard line. Carthage tied the game at 10-10 with 7:13 remaining in the first half on a six-yard touchdown pass. Wheaton responded on the very next drive with a four-yard touchdown pass to Hiben that gave the hosts the lead for good. Cote converted a 39-yard field goal with one-second remaining in the first half to extend Wheaton's lead to 20-10.
It was all Wheaton in the second half, as the Thunder defense held the Red Men to just 25 yards of total offense after halftime. Roberts threw three touchdowns in the third quarter with an eight-yard score to Morgan Cook, a one-yard TD toss to David Washko and a 29-yard yard scoring pass to Cook. Cote converted his third field goal of the game with 4:48 left in the fourth quarter when he booted a 28-yarder that allowed for the final score of 44-10.
The Thunder improve to 4-1 overall and 2-0 in CCIW play. Carthage is now 3-2 in 2012 with a 1-1 conference record. Wheaton will travel to Elmhurst College next Saturday to face the Bluejays.