The Cardinals made it 10 straight wins over Bates, dating back to 1983, by using big-play offense and timely defense to pull away in the second half for a 37-16 victory in Lewiston.
After an even first half, Wesleyan held a slim 10-9 margin. But on the opening play of the third period, Wesleyan demonstrated what it had to do to win when tailback Tom Themistocles darted off the right tackle untouched and raced 66 yards for a 16-9 Wesleyan lead. The score then stood 23-16 in Wesleyan's favor late in the third period as the deciding activity transpired. Wesleyan lost the ball deep in its territory when an errant lateral pas was recovered by Bates at the Wesleyan 28. Bates reached the Cardinal 20 but got stuffed twice on third and fourth down, thanks mostly to the strong tackling of linebacker Matt Francis, who twice trapped P.J. McGrail (22-97) for little or no gain. Wesleyan took over on downs, and on second down, QB Jake Fay (12-of-21, 173 yards) found tight end Nate Moore (6 catches, 132 yards) over the middle near midfield. Moore snagged the aerial and split the defense, racing the rest of the way for an 80-yard score and a 30-16 edge on the opening play of the fourth quarter.
When John Pascucci found the endzone for the third time with a five-yard scamper midway through the final stanza, the final score was secured. Pascucci, who finished with 10 carries for 101 yards, increased his total to nine rushing TDs on the year, which led the NESCAC. He ended the game just three TDs shy of the team seasonal mark. With Themistocles rambling for 151 yards on 20 attempts, Wesleyan had a game with two 100-plus performers for the first time since Dave Cottrell and Troy Robinson combined for the feat against Colby in 1993.
Offensive, Wesleyan performed with near-record proficiency through four games. With 123 points, the 1996 Cardinals were the second highest-scoring team after four games in the college's 114-year football history. They also were only the second squad to score 25 points or more in each of the opening four games. Only the 1967 team, which had 127 points after four games, scored at that level, coming away with four straight games with at least 29 points on the board. Wesleyan's scoring average (30.5 PPG) and total yardage average (406.5) were both ahead of team record pace (28.0 PPG and 360.9 YPG).
While Wesleyan conquered Bates on the scoreboard, the game statistics were considerably closer as Wesleyan outgained Bates by just five yards (446-441), had fewer plays (64-75) and less time of possession (28:55-31:05) while the first downs were dead even (18 apiece).
|1st Qtr||2nd Qtr||3rd Qtr||4th Qtr||-||Total|
|First Downs (Run-Pass-Penalty)||18 (3-14-1)||18 (9-8-1)|
|Positive Yards Rushing||132||298|
|Negative Yards Rushing||17||25|
|Net Total Yards Rushing||115||273|
|Net Total Yards Passing||326||173|
|Total Offensive Plays||75||64|
|Total Net Yards||441||446|
|Average Gain Per Play||5.88||6.97|
|Interceptions By: Number-Yards||0-0||1-0|
|Punt Returns: Number-Yards||1-(-2)||2-7|
|Kickoff Returns: Number-Yards||6-92||3-87|
|Fumble Returns: Number-Yards||1-0||1-0|
|Time of Possession||31:05||28:55|
|Third-Down Conversions||8 of 18||5 of 14|
|Fourth-Down Conversions||1 of 3||1 of 3|
|Sacks by: Number-Yards||0-0||1-4|
RUSHING: Wesleyan - Tom Themistocles, 20-151, 1 TD; John Pascuci, 10-101, 3 TDs; Jack Eighmy, 2-11; Jake Fay, 3-8; Nate Moore, 1-5; Bob Beatty, 2-3; Dale Hendricks, 5-(-6). Bates - P.J. McGrail, 22-97; Steve Potamis, 3-7; Matt Perrault, 2-5; Wyatt Crosswhite, 1-4; Dan Hooley, 5-2.
PASSING: Wesleyan - Jake Fay, 21-12-0, 173 yards, 1 TD. Bates - Dan Hooley, 42-22-1, 326 yards, 2 TDs.
RECEIVING: Wesleyan - Nate Moore, 6-132, 1 TD; Mike Hakim, 2-20; John Pascucci, 2-(-4); Matt Perceval, 1-15; Shane Doyle, 1-10. Bates - Wyatt Crosswhite, 8-119; Tom Spiro, 7-130; Jared Libby, 4-55, 1 TD; Steve Potamis, 2-14; P.J. McGrail, 1-8, 1 TD.
PUNTING: Wesleyan - Rob Stager, 5-208, 41.6 average. Bates - Chris Snow, 5-169, 45.6 average; Mike Voelker, 1-30.