1999 FOOTBALL SEASON REVIEW
Highlighted by the 11 individual records set by the passing duo of QB Jake Fay '00 and receiver Matt Perceval '00, both named to the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) all-star team, Wesleyan produced its third straight winning campaign behind a 5-3 mark and knocked off Little Three rival Williams College for the second time in the last three meetings. That win gave Wesleyan a share of the Little Three crown as Williams defeated Amherst while Amherst bested Wesleyan.
Though the 5-3 record was not as good as hoped for during the preseason, the 33-28 victory over Williams, which has lost just four games in the last six seasons, warmed the hearts of all Wesleyan football fans as the Cardinals collected 445 yards of total offense along with the 33 points. Exclusive of the Wesleyan game, Williams allowed an average of just 217 yards and 7.3 points a game during 1999. Against Williams, fullback Larry Wollard '02 came alive by rushing for 183 yards on 26 carries, coming within seven yards of the single-game team record of 190 yards. Perceval made nine catches for 162 yards and four TDs while Fay completed 15 of 32 passes for 242 yards. In a 36-29 overtime win against Bates, Perceval and Fay produced their finest numbers with Fay completing 23 of 35 tosses for 343 yards and three TDs. Perceval had all three TD receptions among his 13 catches for 227 yards, including the game-winner in OT. Following both the Bates and Williams games, Perceval was named NESCAC Offensive Player of the Week. Derrick Brantley '02 was named ECAC Defensive Player of the Week after making 11 tackles, three pass breakups, an interception and forcing a fumble from his cornerback spot in the win over Williams.
Records set or improved upon by Perceval during 1999 included career points (226), career receiving yards (2.879), career TD catches (36), career TDs (37) and career kickoff return yards (1,505). He also set seasonal marks for catches (73) and receiving yards (1,137). Fay is Wesleyan's career leader for TD passes (53), passing yards (6,657) and total offense (6,765). He set the seasonal record for total offense (2,061) and passing yards (1,987) as well.
Perceval was named to eight post-season all-star teams, four of them involving Division III All-America status. He was a first-team choice by the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA), qualifying him to play in the Aztec Bowl in Mexico City, Mexico December 18. There in a game won by the Division III all-stars against a Mexican college all-star team, Perceval caught two passes from Wartburg College QB Matt Wheeler. Perceval was a second-team pick by the Hewlett-Packard All-America and d3football Team of the Year selectors. He also was a third-team honoree by the Don Hansen Football Gazette. In addition to all-NESCAC, Perceval made three other regional all-star teams as a first-team ECAC New England Division III, first-team Don Hansen all-East Region, and first-team New England Football Writers Association Division II-III squads. Last, but certainly not least, Perceval was one of 10 finalists for the Gagliardi Trophy, presented to the outstanding Division III football player of the year (which along with the Melberger Award are considered the Heisman Trophies of Division III).
Joining Perceval and Fay in the individual limelight were Mark Olschefskie '00 and Terry Sears '00. Leading Wesleyan in tackles (96.5) from his inside linebacker spot, Sears was a NESCAC all-star as was Olschefskie, the top punter among New England Division III players. He also was selected the first-team punter by the ECAC and a second-teamer by the Hansen Football Gazette for its all-East Region. Olschefskie produced an outstanding 40.7-yard average on 40 punts, coming within 0.1 yards of the team record set in 1965.
Fay, Olschefskie and Perceval graced the NCAA Division III leaders list in a number of categories. Perceval was ranked for receptions per game (6th, 9.1), receiving yards per game (5th, 142.1), all-purpose yards per game (10th, 183.1) and points scored per game (24th, 9.8) while Fay was among the leaders in total offense per game (24th, 257.6). Olschefskie's punting average ranked him seventh nationally. Finally, as a team, Wesleyan's passing offense (248.4 yards/game) ranked 36th among NCAA Division III colleges and second among the 30 ECAC New England Division III teams.