Titans Win Emotionally-Charged Homecoming Game Over Red Men
BLOOMINGTON, Ill. - In a game fueled with emotion after the passing of former teammate Andrew Weishar on Friday, the Illinois Wesleyan football team topped Carthage 45-7 in a Homecoming win at Tucci Stadium on Saturday (Oct. 13).
The Titans, for the second straight year, improved to 6-0 overall and 3-0 in the College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin while Carthage slipped to 3-3 overall and 1-2 in the league.
There was a moment of silence for Weishar prior to the game and the IWU players are wearing his number "54" on their helmets as a reminder of their former teammate.
The Titans opened the scoring when an 11-play, 73-yard drive was capped by a 23 yard field goal by freshman Michael Kelley with 9:53 to play in the first quarter.
IWU boosted the lead to 10-0 when junior T.J. Stinde ran in from 8 yards out, ending a four-play, 15 yard drive, set up by a fumble recovery by Stephen McGinnis. The Titans led 10-0 with 2:01to play in the first.
Alex Garvey was on the receiving end of a 49-yard touchdown pass from junior Rob Gallik with 12:14 left in the half and Kelley's kick gave IWU a 17-0 edge.
A 77-yard punt return by sophomore Tyrell Bolden gave IWU great field position late in the second quarter and junior Sean Conley ran in from 3 yards out with 1:08 before intermission to give IWU a 24-0 halftime lead.
The Titans extende the lead to 31-0 with 6:50 to play in the third when Tate Musselman leaped to snare a Gallik pass for a 14 yard TD.
Senior linebacker Mike Kraft recovered a fumble and scampered into the end zone from 22 yards out to give IWU a 38-0 lead with 5:40 left in the third quarter.
The explosive Bolden ran for a 71 yard TD with 13:24 to play in the game and Kelley added his sixth extra point to give the Titans a 45-0 lead.
Carthage put together a 95 yard, eight-play drive that took 2:02 and scored with 14 seconds left in the game when A.J. Simoncelli connected with Nick Gremley on an 18 yard pass and Brett Bukari added the extra point kick.
Bolden led IWU in rushing with 79 yards and Stinde added 53 on 15 carries. Gallik was 16 of 26 for 181 yards and two TDs.
The Titans amassed 337 yards of total offense and limited the Red Men to 255 yards with 95 of those coming in the final three minutes of the game. Simoncelli threw for 150 yards, completing 12 of 18 passes. Reggie Miller led Carthage with 26 rushing yards on 10 carries.
Kyle Pfister and Chris Simms were IWU's leading tacklers with eight each while Mike Heaton had seven. Carthage was led defensively by Alex Vitkauskas with nine total tackles and seven from Mickey Johnson.
IWU will play at Wheaton (4-2, 2-1 CCIW) next Saturday (Oct. 20) at 6 p.m. The Thunder were 35-30 losers at Elmhurst on Saturday.