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Week 2 Football Preview - Wesleyan at Hamilton

Photo by Steve McLaughlin
Photo by Steve McLaughlin

On Saturday, Sept. 21, Wesleyan University and Hamilton College will meet on the gridiron for the 49th time as the Continentals host the Cardinals on Steuben Field. Wesleyan holds a 29-18-1 lead in the all-time series which dates back to 1909, however, the Continentals snapped a six-game losing skid last year as they upset the Cardinals at Corwin Stadium, 33-29.

Both teams are coming off a win in their season-openers last weekend as Wesleyan handled Colby at home, 30-10, and Hamilton defeated Bowdoin on the road, 37-24.

The Cardinals outgained the Mules 454-to-364 with 217 yards passing and 237 yards rushing while holding Colby to 244 yards through the air and 120 on the ground. Wesleyan held a 32:08-to-27:52 edge in time of possession and forced four turnovers while sacking the quarterback twice. The Cardinals also did not turn the ball over as sophomore quarterback Ashton Scott played great in his first career start. The Brockport, N.Y. native went 18-30 for 217 yards and three touchdowns, while also rushing 13 times for 76 yards. His first career pass was a 50-yard TD strike to WR Delando Clarke, who also hauled in his first career catch. The wide receiver finished the game with 59 yards on three catches and two scores, while Matthew Simco led the receiving corps with four catches for 65 yards and a TD. Additionally, kicker Mason Von Jess shined in his collegiate debut as he went a perfect 3-for-3 on field goals from 38, 39, and 40 yards out, and a perfect 3-for-3 on extra points en route to being named the NESCAC Special Teams Player of the Week.

Defensively, Wesleyan was led by Chase Pratt who recorded 10 tackles, one sack, and 1.5 tackles for a loss. In the secondary, Julian Ross broke up three passes, forced a fumble, and registered eight tackles, while Danny Banks and Ben Thaw each recorded an interception. Defensive lineman Nick Livingston also had a sack in the game, for a loss of nine yards, and Sam Kirk and Joe Rosberg each recovered a fumble. In his first career game, freshman defensive lineman Nick Helbig totaled five tackles and forced a fumble.

Hamilton led 21-10 at the half on the road against Bowdoin last weekend but saw its lead slip away when Bowdoin rallied with back-to-back touchdowns to go ahead 24-21 with 9:26 remaining in regulation. However, the Continentals didn't allow another point as they outscored the home team 16-0 down the stretch en route to the victory. Hamilton outgained Bowdoin 403-to-321 with 157 yards passing and 246 rushing. The Polar Bears threw for 229 yards and rushed for 92 but held a commanding 37:39-to-22:21 edge in time of possession. Colby quarterback Kenny Gray went 8-20 for 157 yards, 1 TD, and 0 INT, while also rushing eight times for 43 yards and a score. Running back David Kagan was the highlight of the day as he finished with 195 yards rushing on 20 carries, including three touchdowns. He was named the NESCAC Offensive Player of the Week and earned a spot on the D3football.com Team of the Week for his performance.

The Mules' defense was led by Carmine Bruno who had a game-high 15 tackles, including two for a loss. Christian Snell finished second on the team with seven and recorded the game's lone interception as he returned it 27 yards. James Ball recorded a sack and assisted on another with Alex Ganter, and Justin Leigh broke up two passes in the secondary.