Logo: Wesleyan Athletics

2003 Wesleyan Football Game-by-Game Summary

Wesleyan 26, Middlebury 7 - 9/20/03 at Middletown, Conn.

        Wesleyan defeated Middlebury for the fifth consecutive time by ralling from a 7-6 halftime deficit with 20 unanswered second-half points. Freshman running back Phil Banks scored all three TDs for Wesleyan in the second half on short runs as he finished the game with 63 yards on 19 attempts.
        Senior Brennan Carney completed 19 of 39 passes for 283 and a TD, that going to senior wide receiver Mshangwe Crawford for 69 yards late in the first half for Wesleyan initial points. Crawford finished the game with seven catches for 152 yards. Last year, Crawford had just one reception, that for 42 yards against Middlebury.
Middlebury opened the scoring on a 14-yard pass from junior QB Mike Keenan to senior wide receiver Tom Cleaver on a fourth-down play at 4:16 of the second quarter. Keenan completed 16 of 32 passes for 163 yards, eight of those to Cleaver for 137 yards.
        But Wesleyan clamped down on the Middlebury offense in the second half, allowing Keenan to complete just five passes for 39 yards and Cleaver to make just one reception for 13 yards. In all Wesleyan limited Middlebury to 66 second-half yards after permitting 184 in the first half. Wesleyan added 182 yards in the second half after mounting 240 yards of offense in the first half, despite trailing by a point. Defensively, Wesleyan was led by senior linebacker Adam Faris who had 10 tackles and broke up a pass. Senior defensive end Mark Nordstrom recorded two sacks among his five tackles.
        This was the opening game of the season for both teams.
Statistical Summary of Wesleyan/Middlebury Game


Wesleyan 46, Hamilton 40 - 9/27/03 at Clinton, N.Y.

        In the highest-scoring game (both teams) in modern Wesleyan football history, the Cardinals outlasted the homestanding Hamilton Continentals through the offensive heroics of senior QB Brennan Carney and the receiving of seniors Pat Moffett and Mshangwe Crawford. Carney threw for a career-high 369 yards by completing 19 of 32 passes with five TDs. Eleven of those completions went to Moffett as he collected 223 yards through the air and scored three times. Crawford hauled in four passes, good for 101 yards and a TD. Carney's effort was just 15 yards shy of the Wesleyan team record for passing yards in a game.
        Wesleyan jumped out to a 20-0 first-quarter advantage, using timely defense with enough offense to reach the endzone. When Hamilton came up empty on a fake punt pass attempt on its opening possession, Wesleyan used seven plays, capped by a five-yard burst up the middle by frosh Phil Banks, to go 47 yards for a 7-0 lead. Senior linebacker Adam Faris intercepted a Hamilton pass at the Hamilton 34 to set up the second TD, a one-yard plunge by Carney. When senior Jim Rooney, who starts at fullback and punts, coincidentally stormed up the middle and blocked a Hamilton punt, Wesleyan was back in business and a quick pass from Carney to Moffett from 15 yards out made it 20-0.
         Hamilton cut the margin to 20-13 at intermission and though Wesleyan got it cranking in the third quarter with another 20 points while having the wind at its back, the 40-27 lead grew to 46-27 early in the fourth quarter when frosh Blake Curry made a great one-handed catch in the endzone. But Hamilton held on downs at the Wesleyan 38 and scored to make it 46-33 with 6:05 to go. Hamilton recovered an onside kick and used another four minutes to make it 46-40 with two minutes to play. 
        When junior Tim McGee came up with the recovery on the next onside kick, Wesleyan needed just one first down to run out the clock and got that from Carney, who raced around the right side on a naked bootleg for eight yards on a critical 3rd-and-6 play at the Hamilton 42. Wesleyan then ran out the clock on the contest that produced the most collective points in modern Wesleyan history. No game since Harvard defeated Wesleyan, 124-0, back in 1891 has witnessed 86 points by the two combatants. On several occasions, a game reached 84 points, most recently in 1998 when Wesleyan knocked off Trinity, 49-35. The win was Wesleyan's seventh in a row over Hamilton and sent the Continentals to their 10th straight loss over the last two seasons.
Statistical Summary of Wesleyan/Hamilton Game


Colby 31, Wesleyan 7 - 10/4/03 at Middletown, Conn.
        Senior QB B.L. Lippert completed 16 of 22 passes for 244 yards and a pair of TDs while junior running back Aaron Stepka rushed 43 times for 154 yards and a two TDs to lead Colby over homestanding Wesleyan, 31-7. It was only the fifth time in the last 16 meetings between the two teams that the visitor has emerged with a victory.
        Colby jumped out to a 7-0 lead by going 60 yards on 10 plays during its opening possession after forcing Wesleyan to punt after three plays to open the game. Stepka (five carries, 25 yards) and Lippert (3-for-3 passing, 34 yards) provided all the yardage combined with a Wesleyan penalty and a sack Colby made it 14-0 in the second quarter, going 79 yards in nine plays as a 42-yard quick screen to Stepka was the big play leading to the one-yard Stepka TD run. A 27-yard John Goss field goal made it 17-0 before Wesleyan got on the board for its only points in the game, set up by a bad punt snap which gave Wesleyan the ball at the Colby 8-yard line. Otherwise Wesleyan, which entered the game averaing 36 points and 422 yards of offense, including 337 in the air, was held to just 164 yards, 165 in the air and minus-one on the ground. Defensively, senior linebacker Jim Bradford led Colby with eight tackles including a sack. Colby intercepted five Wesleyan passes, two by junior Mike Civitello, and recorded five sacks.
        Colby maintained its edge throughout the second half and added a pair of TDs on solid fourth-quarter drives of 79 yards on eight plays and 46 yards on seven plays. Junior Steve Markesich and sophomore Jon Vacca each had four catches to pace Colby, with Markesich gaining 96 yards and scoring the opening TD on a 19-yard reception.
Statistical Summary of Wesleyan/Colby Game


Wesleyan 23, Bates 20 - 10/11/03 at Middletown, Conn.
         (NOTE: This article has been adjusted from its initial release) - Senior QB Brennan Carney threw for a personal-best 372 yards and senior wide receiver Pat Moffett caught 11 passes for a NESCAC record 258 yards as Wesleyan defeated Bates, 23-20, the 17th consecutive victory for Wesleyan over Bates. Bates last bested Wesleyan in 1982.
        Carney, who leads the NESCAC in passing yards this season with 1,181 in four games, completed 21 of 43 passes while surpassing his best-ever effort of 369 yards set two weeks earlier at Hamilton. Moffett broke his own NESCAC mark of 256 receiving yards done against Colby last year.
        Though Wesleyan scored first on a 41-yard senior Vin Balsamo field goal, Bates took a 7-3 lead on a 58-yard pass from senior QB Chris Gwozdz to frosh running back Ken Adams. Gwozdz completed 20 of 38 passes for 221 yards while Adams had just the one reception. Junior Matt Orlando hauled in eight balls for 61 yards and senior Owen Miehe made six catches for 54 yards to lead Bates. Adams posted his third straight 100-plus yard rushing game by carrying the ball 29 times for 124 yards. He now has 419 yards for the year, an average of 105 yards a game. Frosh Jamie Walker added 67 yards on the ground as Bates piled up 183 rushing yards and 404 total yards for the game. Wesleyan collected 426 yards of total offense.
        Wesleyan took the lead for good on Moffett's leaping 38-yard TD catch on the left sideline and frosh Phil Banks added a two-yard run to cap an 11-play, 73-yard march late in the first half, giving Wesleyan a 17-7 cushion at intermission.
        Bates added two Nat Carr field goals to narrow the margin to 17-13, but Brennan Carney snuck in from a yard out for the clinching TD with 4:48 to play. Bates had stopped Wesleyan on 3rd-and-goal at the two-yard line, but was called for offsides on the play, giving Wesleyan another chance from the one-yard line. Bates got a 42-yard kickoff return from Rob Maguire to give Bates the ball at midfield following the ensuing kickoff. Ten plays and 2:23 later, Bates made it 23-20 as Gwozdz snuck in from a yard out. Wesleyan recovered the onside kick and Carney had a key eight-yard run for a first down that allowed Wesleyan to run the clock down to seven seconds. Bates got off two desperation passes but both were incomplete.
Statistical Summary of Wesleyan/Bates Game


Amherst 41, Wesleyan 0 - 10/18/03 at Amherst, Mass.
        Amherst running backs Fletcher Ladd and Matt Monteith combined for more than 300 yards on the ground for Amherst and scored five TDs as the Lord Jeffs got revenge for last year's 14-13 loss in Middletown It was the second straight time Amherst blanked Wesleyan in Amherst, having defeated Wesleyan 23-0 during the 2001 season. Amherst has posted four shutouts in five games this year. Ladd finished the game with 17 rushes for 165 yards and a pair of scores while Monteith had 15 runs for 157 yards a three scores.
        Ladd broke over the middle then up the left side for 44 yards on the seventh play from scrimmage, spotting the hosts a 7-0 lead. After a 21-yard Dave Bodner field goal, Monteith also struck through the middle, then up the left sideline for 78 yards and a 17-0 Amherst advantage before the end of the first quarter. Wesleyan had two good scoring chances in the first half, reaching the Amherst 15-yard line, but a 40-yard field goal was wide. With five minutes to go before intermission, Wesleyan drove to the Amherst six-yard line but Amherst's Mike Salvatore got into the Wesleyan backfield and forced a fumble which the Lord Jeff's recovered at the 11-yard line. Amherst tacked on 10 second-quarter points for a 27-0 lead at halftime and added two second-half TDs for the final margin. It was the first time Amherst cracked the 40-point barrier against Wesleyan since winning 50-21 in 1986. It was the greatest margin of victory in a Wesleyan-Amherst matchup since a 58-13 Amherst win in 1968.
        Bright spots for Wesleyan were the 19 carries for 77 yards by frosh Phil Banks and the seven receptions for 70 yards by tight end Dan Long. Punter Jim Rooney also bettered his personal-best effort by booting a 72-yarder, exceeding the 70 yarder he got off against Colby this season. It is the third-longest punt in team history.
Statistical Summary of Wesleyan/Amherst Game



Wesleyan 21, Bowdoin 12 - 10/25/03 at Brunswick, Maine
        Senior QB Brennan Carney moved closer to the Wesleyan record book for passing yards in a season and career by completing 28 of 52 passes for 283 yards and a pair of TDs to carry the Cardinals to their ninth consecutive victory over Bowdoin. The defense also came up with some big plays to stop the Polar Bears on fourth down during the game in building a 21-0 lead in the fourth quarter. Wesleyan broke into the scoring after a 65-yard, 16-play march that consumed 5:42 of the second quarter. The key play was a 20-yard run by frosh linebacker Joel Pratt out of punt formation to give Wesleyan a first down at the Bowdoin 17-yard line. Wesleyan improved its 6-0 advantage to 14-0 midway through the third quarter on a nine-yard pass from Carney to senior Pat Moffett. The margin grew to 21-0 after junior Andrew Stuerzel rolled around the left side on a misdirection play on the opening play of the fourth quarter. But Bowdoin, which missed a 32-yard field goal and was stopped on 4th-and-1 at the Wesleyan 15-yard line in the first quarter, also was denied on the opening series of the final quarter. Bowdoin was stopped in Wesleyan territory when linebacker Matt Moran stuffed a Bowdoin pass play on 4th-and-3 at the Wesleyan 38 with 13 minutes to play. But Bowdoin got on the board twice in the fourth period. Wesleyan recovered an onside kick with four minutes to play and gained two first downs to run out the clock. Carney now has 1,653 yards passing on the season, an average of 275.5 yards a game. He is above the pace needed to break the seasonal record of 1,987 yards as well as surpass the career record of 6,657 yards. He has 6,247 career passing yards to date. Senior Mshangwe Crawford led the receiving corps with eight catches for 88 yards against Bowdoin.
Statistical Summary of Wesleyan/Bowdoin Game


Williams 26, Wesleyan 2 - 11/1/03 at Middletown, Conn.
        Williams College rolled up 256 yards on the ground with junior Tim Crawley running 15 times for 125 yards and scoring twice while senior Mike Hackett also went over 100 yards with 111 on 24 attempts in a 26-2 victory.
        While Williams generated 370 yards of total offense, Wesleyan was limited to 18 yards on the ground, thanks in part to six sacks for 45 yards, and 187 total yards. Williams took advantage of two first-half Wesleyan turnovers to pull ahead 14-0. Senior Graham Goldwasser intercepted a Brennan Carney pass in the middle of the field at the Wesleyan 22 and darted to his left and up the sideline for a TD at 6:06. After a series of exchanges involving turnovers, Williams senior John Schneider picked off a Carney offering at the Wesleyan 10, and returned it four yards. From there, senior QB Joe Reardon found frosh Jim O'Leary for an acrobatic catch on the right side of the endzone for a 14-0 edge with 12:57 remaining in the half.
        Williams added two second-half TDs, one on an 11-play, 81-yard march capped by Crawley's 13-yard run, and another on a 56-yard burst up the middle by Crawley 5:09 later in the fourth quarter.
        Wesleyan averted a shutout after failing on fourth-and-goal at the one-yard line with 2:25 to play. On the next play following the change of possession, Williams reserve QB Mike McCarthy rolled on a bootleg to his right and ran into one of his running backs in the endzone, causing him to fall for a safety.
        The Williams win, which improved its record to 5-2 on the year, sets up a Little Three showdown in Williamstown next week when Williams hosts Amherst. Both teams defeated Wesleyan this season. Wesleyan fell to 4-3 on the season and travels to undefeated Trinity (7-0), a 20-14 come-from-behind winner at Amherst (4-3).
Statistical Summary of Wesleyan/Williams Game


Trinity 53, Wesleyan 0 - 11/8/03 at Hartford, Conn.

        Senior running back Tom Pierandri set a NESCAC and Trinity team-record with 304 yards on 36 attempts while scoring two TDs in the Trinity victory. Trinity scored more points in this game against Wesleyan than in any previous meeting (the previous high was 48 points in 1987) and established its greatest margin of victory as well. Another Trinity runner, Ray Jones, set the previous NESCAC record for rushing yards in a game with 303, also against Wesleyan during the 1996 season. Trinity got started early in this contest as Pierandri collected over 200 yards in the first half as the Bantams moved out to a 20-0 lead before the end of the first quarter. It was 39-0 at intermission as Trinity racked up 348 yards of offense to just 27 by Wesleyan in the opening 30 minutes. The final figures showed Trinity with 563 yards, 464 on the ground, and Wesleyan with 117. Junior Drew Finkeldey also went over 100 yards rushing for Trinity with 116 on 19 carries. He scored one TD on the ground and another on a 16-yard reception. Wesleyan QB Brennan Carney threw for 129 yards to close out the season with 1,951, the second highest figure in team history. He fell just 36 yards shy of Jake Fay's team mark of 1,987 yards set in 1999. Carney also finished second in career passing yards with 6,545 yards, behind Fay's 6,657 figure.
Statistical Summary of Wesleyan/Trinity Game