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Cardinals Cruise in Season-Opener, Defeat Colby 30-10

Photo by Steve McLaughlin
Photo by Steve McLaughlin

MIDDLETOWN, Conn. – The Wesleyan University football team opened its 2019 season with a decisive 30-10 win over Colby College on Saturday afternoon at Corwin Stadium.

Sophomore quarterback Ashton Scott went 17-29 for 200 yards, three touchdowns, and zero turnovers in his first career start while also rushing 13 times for 76 yards as the Cardinals begin 1-0 to start the new year. The Mules drop to 0-1 despite a strong rushing performance from Chris George who gained 104 yards on 18 carries.

FIRST HALF HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Wesleyan scored on its first drive of the game. After taking over at its own nine-yard line, following a strong defensive stop, the Cardinals rushed four times for 41 yards before Scott tossed his first career pass and found wide receiver Delando Clarke near the right sideline. The pass was tipped and bobbled but Clarke held on for an incredible catch and found the end zone for a 50-yard score. It was also Clarke's first career catch.
  • The Cardinals' defense forced a 3-and-out and on their next drive, they gained 51 yards on eight plays before freshman Mason Von Jess connected on his first career field goal from 31 yards out to put the home team ahead 10-0 with 2:17 to play in the first quarter.
  • Wesleyan then forced another 3-and-out and Von Jess hit from 39 yards out in the opening minutes of the second to increase the lead to 13.
  • Colby's next possession ended in a lost fumble but Wesleyan couldn't capitalize as the home team was forced to punt.
  • On the Mules' second play of the drive, they fumbled once again and the Cardinals recovered at the visitor's 33-yard line. Two plays later, Scott connected with Clarke on a sweep, and the junior WR ran untouched into the end zone near the right pylon. After a successful extra point, Wesleyan led 20-0 with 7:29 to play in the half.
  • Colby got on the board on its next drive when QB Matt Hersch found an open Pat Sweetnam in the middle of the field as the tight end ran in for a 29-yard touchdown.
  • Neither team would score the rest of the half as the Cardinals held a 20-7 lead at the break.

SECOND HALF HIGHLIGHTS:

  • After an eventful and high scoring first half, the final 30 minutes were the opposite as Wesleyan's lead was never in doubt.
  • The first two drives concluded in punts and the third ended in a turnover on downs by the Cardinals. Colby took over at its own-31 and capped off a 13-play, 63-yard drive in 5:03 with a 24-yard field goal from Moises Celaya with 2:46 to play in the third quarter.
  • Wesleyan responded with a 10-play, 50-yard drive as Von Jess connected from 40 yards out early in the fourth quarter to put the Cardinals ahead 23-10.
  • Colby was forced to punt on its next possession and Jackson Eighmy came around the left side, blocking the punt to give Wesleyan great field position. Starting at its own-38, the Cardinals scored three plays later with a pass-and-catch from Scott to Matthew Simco for a 22-yard touchdown.
  • Ben Thaw and Danny Banks intercepted Hersch on the Mules' next two drives to seal the victory.

INSIDE THE NUMBERS:

  • Wesleyan outgained Colby 454-to-364 with 200 yards passing and 254 rushing. The Mules totaled 244 yards through the air and 120 on the ground.
  • The Cardinals' defense created four turnovers, two fumbles, and two interceptions, while also sacking the quarterback twice for a loss of 13 yards.
  • Wesleyan held a 32:08-to-27:52 edge in time of possession and gained 23 first downs to Colby's 17.
  • Clarke finished with three catches for 59 yards and two scores. Simco led the team in receiving yards with 65 on four catches, and Charlie McPhee rushed nine times for 63 yards in his first career start. Von Jess was terrific in his collegiate debut as he accounted for 12 points, going a perfect 3-3 on field goals and 3-3 on extra points.
  • The Cardinals' defense was led by Chase Pratt's 10 tackles, including a sack. Julian Ross finished with seven tackles and three pass break-ups, and Alex Kirk totaled seven with a forced fumble and pass break-up. Nick Livingston recorded Wesleyan's other sack for a loss of nine yards.
  • Hersch finished 22-40 for 244 yards, one TD, and two INT. Rory Glavin led all receivers with 104 yards on six catches. Defensively, Marcus Bullard led Colby with a game-high 12 tackles.

UP NEXT:

  • Wesleyan returns to action next Saturday, Sept. 21 for an away game against Hamilton. The Continentals defeated Bowdoin today in their season-opener, 37-24.