Behind the throwing of NESCAC Offensive Player of the Week and ECAC Honor Roll selectee Jake Fay and the receiving of Matt Perceval and Nate Moore, Wesleyan ended a 10-yard losing streak against Trinity with a 19-7 win in the season finale for both teams. The triumph improved Wesleyan's record to 7-1 in 1997, its best posting since going 8-0 during the 1969 season. Despite the loss, Trinity finished its 18th consecutive winning season with a 5-3 mark. Each of Trinity's losses came against a Little Three team as Amherst and Williams also completed their seasons with identical 7-1 records.
Fay, who finished as the top-rated passer in the NESCAC with a 147.5 efficiency rating, completed 19 of 37 passes for a career-high 298 yards and a pair of TDs, both to Perceval, who ended the game with eight catches for 151 yards. Moore also nabbed eight aerials, good for 129 yards. Perceval had a league-leading 772 receiving yards in 1997 on 37 catches, and eight TD receptions, also a conference standard this season.
Two individual and two team records fell during the contest with Trinity. Fay, who amassed 1,906 passing yards by completing 113 of 211 tosses, broke the seasonal yardage record by 201 yards. As a team, the 1,990 passing yards and 2,970 yards of total offense eclipsed previous team highs. With seven punts in the game, Rob Stager became the most prolific punter in Wesleyan history with 178 career boots, good for a career average of 35.8. His 38.4 average in 1997 led the NESCAC.
With the Wesleyan-Trinity game just about even at intermission, both statistically and on the scoreboard, Wesleyan asserted itself in the second half with 13 fourth-quarter points while holding Trinity scoreless. Wesleyan collected 24 yards of offense to just 100 by Trinity over the final 30 minutes. After the Cardinals marched 89 yards on 14 plays for the go-ahead TD, an eight-yard connection from Fay to Perceval less than a minute into the final quarter, Fay put the finishing touches on the scoring himself at the 6:58 mark. Eluding a would-be sack on a 4th-and-5 play from the Trinity 15, Fay bolted up the middle, then cut to the right for the insurance tally. His 45-yard pass to Moore on the first play of the seven-play, 80-yard drive was another highlight.
Defeating Trinity for the first time since 1997, Wesleyan also gained a share of the Little Three crown for the first time since 1978 as Williams defeated Amherst, 48-46, in their season-ending clash. Wesleyan beat Williams the previous week, 28-14, in Middletown, but lost at Amherst, 36-14, Oct. 18.
|1st Qtr||2nd Qtr||3rd Qtr||4th Qtr||-||Total|
|First Downs (Run-Pass-Penalty)||14 (9-4-1)||18 (4-13-1)|
|Positive Yards Rushing||197||110|
|Negative Yards Rushing||39||23|
|Net Total Yards Rushing||158||87|
|Net Total Yards Passing||92||298|
|Total Offensive Plays||62||73|
|Total Net Yards||250||385|
|Average Gain Per Play||4.0||5.3|
|Interceptions By: Number-Yards||0-0||0-0|
|Punt Returns: Number-Yards||3-14||2-22|
|Kickoff Returns: Number-Yards||3-30||3-26|
|Fumble Returns: Number-Yards||0-0||0-0|
|Time of Possession||28:21||31:39|
|Third-Down Conversions||3 of 13||5 of 16|
|Fourth-Down Conversions||0 of 1||1 of 2|
|Sacks by: Number-Yards||2-13||3-12|
RUSHING: Wesleyan - Tom Themistocles, 13-39; John Pascucci, 12-38; Jake Fay, 10-8, 1 TD; Dale Hendricks, 1-2. Trinity - Sherman Francis, 15-72, 1 TD; Joe Mullaney, 13-54; Greg Gagne, 7-12; Walt Faget, 1-11; Marc Maccarini, 6-9.
PASSING: Wesleyan - Jake Fay, 37-19-0, 298 yards, 2 TDs. Trinity - Joe Mullaney, 19-7-0, 92 yards; Marc Maccarini, 1-0-0.
RECEIVING: Wesleyan - Matt Perceval, 8-151, 2 TDs; Nate Moore, 8-129; Tom Themistocles, 2-19; John Pascucci, 1-(-1). Trinity - Pete Hammond, 4-70; Marc Maccarini, 1-10; Walt Faget, 1-8; Greg Gagne, 1-4.
PUNTING: Wesleyan - Rob Stager, 7-238, 34.0 average. Trinity - Joe Mullaney, 7-239, 34.1 average; Team, 1-1.