Decatur, Ill.- The Wheaton Thunder football team rebounded from last week's loss to defeat the Millikin Big Blue 58-21 in Decatur on Saturday afternoon. With the victory, the Thunder improve to 7-1 overall and 4-1 in the CCIW while Millikin falls to 1-7 overall and 0-5 in conference play. Wheaton will host North Central next week at McCully Stadium for Family Weekend and the annual Battle for the Little Brass Bell.
Wheaton held a 400-yard advantage in total offense in the game, outgaining the Big Blue 597-197. The Thunder ran for 286 yars and threw for 311. Millikin was held to just 60 yards on 42 rushing attempts and threw for 137 yards.
Jesse Geary (PICTURED RIGHT) led the rushing attack for the Thunder with 114 yards on 15 carries. Jacob Furnari carried seven times for 98 yards and a pair of touchdowns, finishing with a 14 yard average per carry. Jordan Roberts was 16-34 passing for 258 yards and four touchdowns and was also intercepted three times. Hunter Thorson caught four passes for 103 yards and a touchdown to lead Wheaton in receiving. David Washko caught two passes for 55 yards and both were touchdowns. Matt Mitchell caught four balls for 60 yards and touchdown.
Wheaton got on the board first in the first quarter when Thorson broke free up the middle and made a one-handed catch on his way to a 39-yard touchdown pass. The Thunder added to their lead with a 25-yard field goal by Sam Cote to make the score 10-0 after a quarter.
Millikin took advantage of a Wheaton turnover that led to a short field and got onto the scoreboard at the 10:28 mark of the second quarter with 19-yard touchdown pass from Nick Pippin to Taylor Sanders. Pippin was 12-27 on the day for 131 yards, two touchdowns and an interception.
Wheaton answered just 74 seconds later after Millikin failed to recover an onside kick, Wheaton went 48 yards on four plays, capping the drive with a 35-yard touchdown pass from Roberts to Washko to give Wheaton a 17-7 lead. Following a fumble recovery by Brett Anderson, Furnari's 11-yard touchdown run gave Wheaton a 24-7 lead. Anderson (PICTURED LEFT) also intercepted a pass to go with five tackles.
A fumbled punt return by the Thunder set Millikin up with a short field and the Big Blue capped a four-play, five-yard drive with a three-yard touchdown pass from Pippin to Sean Dunning to cut the lead to 24-14 with 2:29 left in the first half. Dunning would later add a one-yard touchdown run. All three of Millikin's scoring drives came off of Wheaton turnovers.
The Thunder took just two minutes to drive 75 yards on five plays, capping the drive with a diving touchdown catch by Washko to take a 31-14 lead into halftime.
Dunning's touchdown run cut the Thunder lead back to 31-21 before Wheaton scored the game's final 27 points. Sam Cote's 43-yard field goal started the run and Furnari's 39-yard run made the score 41-21. Justin Swider broke free for a 21-yard touchdown run and Cote capped the scoring with a 35-yard field goal to provide the final 58-21 spread.
Adam Dansdill (PICTURED RIGHT) led the Wheaton defense with seven tackles including two sacks and a forced fumble. Jordan Higgins had six tackles and Jared Todd also recorded two sacks for the Thunder. Dominic Barrale was credited with a special teams fumble recovery for Wheaton.
Wheaton's next game will be on Saturday, November 9 when the Thunder host #4-North Central in the Battle for the Little Brass Bell at McCully Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for 1 PM.