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2006 Wesleyan Football Game-by-Game Summary

Middlebury (1-0) 10, Wesleyan (0-1) 7 - 9/23/06 at Middlebury, Vt.

        Though Wesleyan scored the game’s first TD on a 33-yard pass from wide receiver Mark Noonan to wide receiver Danny Granatell at 10:03 of the third period, Middlebury used its pair of first-quarter safeties and pair of fourth-period field goals from Steve Hauschka, the second of 23 yards with 3:10 to play, to take a 10-7 victory.  It was the first meeting between the teams since 2003 and ended Wesleyan’s five-game win steak over Middlebury.  The Panthers last beat the Cardinals in 1994.
     Wesleyan grabbed a 7-4 edge early in the second half after QB Zach Librizzi tossed an overhand lateral to Noonan, a former QB turned receiver, in the right flat.  Despite defensive pressure, Noonan launched a 33-yard pass to the endzone which a diving Granatell grabbed to erase the 4-0 deficit.  Middlebury got a sack in the endzone by Kevin Ryan and a tackle of Wesleyan running back Phil Banks in the endzone from Alex Buggy on consecutive first-period series for its safeties.  A mishandled snap by Librizzi disrupted the timing of the play leading to the second two-point play after a Hauschka punt had been downed inside the one-yard line.
     Middlebury also missed two first-half field goals of 45 and 29 yards, helping Wesleyan keep the game close.
     But down 7-4 in the fourth quarter, Middlebury mounted a 10-play, 77-yard march from its own 21 to the Wesleyan two-yard line, setting up a 19-yard Hauschka three-pointer with 10:42 to go, evening the count at 7-7.
     Wesleyan moved into Middlebruy territory on its next possession but an interception by Brian Young gave Middlebury the ball at the Panthers’ 39, and 11 plays and five minutes later Hauschka added the game-winning field goal.
     Wesleyan did penetrate Middlebury territory on its final possession but came up short on a 4th-and-9 pass attempt from the Middlebury 49.  Middlebury ran the clock out from that point.
Statistical Summary of Wesleyan/Middlebury Game

 

 

Wesleyan (1-1) 7, Hamilton (0-2) 0 - 9/30/06 at Middletown, Conn.

        Senior running back Phil Banks capped a seven-play, 72-yard drive with a five-yard burst behind the right side of the Wesleyan line to score the game's only TD at 12:41 of the third period and Wesleyan University's (1-1) defense made it stand up in a 7-0 decision over visiting Hamilton College (0-2) here this afternoon.  Banks finished the day with 19 carries for 92 yards and also caught two passes for 18 yards.
         It was the second straight shutout suffered by Hamilton this season as Tufts blanked the Continentals, 17-0, a week ago.  It was the first shutout victory for the Cardinals since handing Hamilton a 21-0 defeat during the 2001 season.  The win also ended an 11-game losing skid for Wesleyan dating back to the 2004 season.
         After a scoreless first half, Wesleyan took the opening kickoff of the second half at its own 28-yard line and march downfield on the arm of junior QB Zach Libirzzi.  Librizzi completed passes of, 3, 21, 25 and 23 yards on six attempts to move the Cardinals to a 1st-and-goal at the Hamilton five-yard line.  After a timeout, Banks burrowed behind the right side of the line into the endzone and sophomore Chris Helsel's kick made it 7-0.
         Neither team mounted much of a threat over the next 10 miiutes until Hamilton sophomore linebacker Trevor Pedrick stepped in front of a Librizzi pass at the Hamilton 42-yard line and returned it 31 yards to the Wesleyan 27 with 3:25 left in the third quarter.  Sophomore QB Ben Saccomano hit junior Joe Rinaldo for 16 yards, then junior Tom Tidgewell for six to get the Continentals to the Wesleyan five-yard line.  A Saccomano run for four yards set up 1st-and-goal at the one-yard line.  Two sneaks by Saccomano were stuffed by the Wesleyan defense with sophomore John Harding and senior Brian Smithson stopping the first try and grad student Quincy Francis joining Harding to negate the second try.  On 3rd-and-goal, Saccomano tried the middle again but found no room and went to his right.  Senior Steve Secundo caught him back at the six-yard line to set up 4th-and-goal as the quarter ended.  Hamilton elected to go for it using a counter pass play with motion to the left.  Saccomano then set up and threw back to his right, finding junior Dan Hood at the one-yard line.  Hood was hit by sophomore Kwasi Ansu right away, with help from junior Ryan McLaren, and taken down short of the goalline.  Hamilton got the ball back via punt and drove to the Wesleyan 18-yard line on its next possession but again came up empty on 4th-and-15 from the 23 with an incomplete pass at the 10:00 mark.
         Banks then ran the ball 12 of his 19 times over the next two Wesleyan series to gain 79 yards and allow Wesleyan to run out most of the remaining time.  
         Librizzi ended the day with 18-for-36 passing, good for 237 yards while Saccomano hit on 18-of-29 tries for 195 yards.  Rinaldo led Hamilton with nine receptions for 126 yards while junior Mark Noonan had eight catches for 108 yards and sophomore Ryan Walsh six for 100 yards for Wesleyan.

 

Colby (1-2) 24, Wesleyan (1-2) 21 - 10/7/06 at Waterville, Maine
 
        Taking advantage of eight Wesleyan turnovers while committing just one, Colby College extended its win streak vs. Wesleyan University to four games by capturing a 28-14 football decision here this afternoon.
        Wesleyan outgained Colby, 344-284, as sophomore QB Zach Librizzi picked up 293 yards of total offense for Wesleyan.  He leads the NESCAC in total offense this season, averaging 252 yards. Librizzi completed 26 of 47 passes for 224 yards while running 24 times for 69 more but four of his passes were picked off.  One was returned 66 yards by Colby sophomore Greg Enos for a TD with 13:24 to go in the game, upping Colby's margin to the final score.
        Colby led 21-14 at halftime as senior Aaron Stepka (17-71) completed an 11-play, 59-yard drive with a one-yard run, senior Roddy Ames caught a 15-yard TD pass from senior John Bates and sophomore Chris Bashaw (11-87) broke two tackles at the line of scrimmage and bolted off the right side for a 44-yard TD run for the first three Colby scores.  The last two Colby TDs of the half came after a Wesleyan turnover.
        Wesleyan responded with two TD tosses by Librizzi, one of 19 yards to senior Andrew Brooker and another of 12 yards to junior Blake Curry.  While Colby never crossed midfield in the third quarter, Wesleyan threatened to tie the score twice with drives to the Colby 22 and the Colby 11, only to lose the ball via turnover each time.  Curry had eight catches for Wesleyan, good for 58 yards, while sophomore Mark Noonan also had eight receptions for 59 yards.
        Wesleyan had 23 first downs in the contest to 14 for Colby and enjoyed a 3:32 advantage in time of possession.
Statistical Summary of Wesleyan/Colby Game

 

Wesleyan (2-2) 17, Bates (0-4) 14 (OT) - 10/14/06 at Lewiston, Maine
 
         Sophomore placekicker Chris Helsel booted a 27-yard field goal during Wesleyan’s possession in overtime to give Wesleyan a 17-14 win over Bates, snapping a two-game losing streak to the Bobcats and raising Wesleyan’s all-time record vs. Bates to 21-4.  The Cardinals had held Bates off the board during its overtime possession.  On first down, senior Brian Mahr caught senior running back Jamie Walker (21 carries for 73 yards) behind the line for a four-yard loss.  It was Mahr’s ninth tackle of the day and fifth for a loss.  Bates followed with three incomplete passes, giving Wesleyan a chance for instant victory with its possession.  Wesleyan got one first down then worked the ball to the 10-yard line in the middle of the field for Helsel’s winning kick.
            Helsel had two earlier field-goal tries from similar range in the fourth period, only to miss wide right from 31 yards with 5:20 left and having a 25-yard try blocked after a low snap from center with 3:25 remaining in regulation.  That opportunity came after a Bates fumble at its own 22.
            Bates scored first on a 67-yard interception return by sophomore Shawki White at 7:44 of the first period but Wesleyan came right back on its next possession to march 63 yards for the tying TD, a two-yard run by senior Phil Banks at 5:18.  With just 40 seconds left in the second quarter, Wesleyan QB junior Zach Librizzi capped a 10-play, 60-yard series by running in from a yard out.  He was initially stopped at the line of scrimmage but bounced out to the right and found the endzone for a 14-7 Cardinal lead at halftime.  Librizzi came into the game as the NESCAC’s total yardage leader, averaging 217 yards a contest.   He added 279 yards in this game with 22 runs for 51 yards and 228 yards through the air, completing 17 of 43 attempts.  Two Cardinal receivers had more than 100 yards as sophomore Ryan Walsh had eight catches for 116 yards and freshman Danny Granatell caught seven passes for 111 yards.
            Bates evened the count on the last play of the third period as junior QB Brandon Colon ran in from a yard out on second effort, completing a 10-play, 50-yard series.
            This was the third overtime game between Wesleyan and Bates, the first coming in 1999 won by Wesleyan, 36-29.  Last year, Bates took a 30-29 decision in overtime.
Statistical Summary of Wesleyan/Bates Game

 

Amherst (4-1) 23, Wesleyan (2-3) 0 - 10/21/06 at Middletown, Conn.
 
       Entering the game as the top defensive team for scoring in Division III with a 5.8 point-per-game figure, Amherst College held Wesleyan scoreless in a 23-0 victory for its fourth consecutive win over its Little Three rivals and 12th in the last 13 years.
        Jumping ahead 14-0 in the first quarter, Amherst took the opening kickoff and scored just 2:14 into the contest, thanks to a 54-yard connection from senior QB Nick Kehoe to top receiver senior Mark Hannon for a TD.  Hannon entered the game with 22 receptions in four games.  On Wesleyan first possession, Amherst junior DB Rob Grammar stepped in front of a junior QB Zach Librizzi offering at the Wesleyan 38-yard line and raced down the left sideline to put Amherst ahead by two touchdowns.  That score came only 4:17 into the period.
        Amherst gave up only 182 yards of total offense to Wesleyan, under its average of 197 yards coming in, which ranks 11th in NCAA Division III.   Wesleyan deepest penetration of the game came late in the first period when it reached the Amherst 19-yard line but a fumble on a 4th-and-2 run turned the ball over to Amherst at the 20.
        Amherst added a third TD at 6:31 of the third period when Kehoe again found Hannon, this time in the back left corner of the endzone from 22 yards out.  Hannon finished the game with 11 catches for 98 yards and the two scores.  Kehoe completed 23 of 31 passes for 226 yards.  He was intercepted once.  First-year placekicker Matt Eberhart added a 36-yard field goal at 12:51 of the fourth period for the game's final points.
        Wesleyan got nine catches from sophomore Ryan Walsh as its offensive highlight and grad student linebacker Quincy Francis led all tacklers with 16 on the day.
        Amherst improved to 4-1 on the season and hosts Tufts next week while Wesleyan, now 2-3, plays winless Bowdoin in Middletown October 28.
Statistical Summary of Wesleyan/Amherst Game

 

Wesleyan (3-3) 18, Bowdoin (0-6) 0 - 10/28/06 at Middletown, Conn.
 
        Wesleyan kept Bowdoin winless on the year with an 18-0 victory on a very sloppy field..
        With a portion of the field under water, the teams kept the play limited to short passes and runs most of the afternoon.  The Wesleyan defense, led by the 10 tackles of junior linebacker Tim O'Callaghan, held Bowdoin to nine first downs and 171 total yards.  Bowdoin deepest penetration of the game was the Wesleyan five-yard line late in the second quarter with the score 8-0 in favor of Wesleyan,  But the Polar Bears failed to convert on 4th-and-3 from that point as a pass to the endzone was incomplete.  The drive was the only one mounted by Bowdoin all day as the Polar Bears consumed 7:10 and ran 14 plays for 63 yards.  Bowdoin's other eight possessions ended in five punts and three fumbles.  Despite the conditions, Wesleyan did not have a turnover.
        Wesleyan got a pair of rushing TDs from senior Phil Banks as he bolted in from five-yard out to cap an 11-play, 69-yard first-quarter march.  The extra point was missed.  Wesleyan was forced to punt on its next possession but it turned into an offensive weapon as junior AJ Taucher launched a 48-yarder which the Cardinals downed at the two-yard line.  Two plays later, senior outside linebacker Brian Mahr caught junior running back Jeff Smith in the endzone for a safety.
        The Cardinals added a 31-yard sophomore Chris Helsel field goal to make it 11-0 at 10:12 of the third quarter and a one-yard plunge by Banks at 9:31 of the fourth made it 18-0.  Banks finished the day with 24 carries for 69 yards.  Wesleyan junior QB Zach Librizzi ran the ball 18 times for 34 yards while passing for 121 on 15-of-26.  Sophomore Ryan Walsh had seven receptions for 70 yards.
        Bowdoin QB freshman Oliver Kell completed 11 of 22 for 90 yards and ran 11 times for 35 yards.  Smith ended the game with 17 rushes for 46 yards.  Bowdoin had a pair of players with 12 tackles to pace the defense - senior Dave Donahue and freshman Tyler Tennent.
        This was Bowdoin's fourth shutout loss of the year and the second shutout of the season for Wesleyan, which defeated Hamilton 7-0 Sept. 30.  The last Wesleyan team to post two shutouts in a season was the 1980 squad.
        Wesleyan also celebrated the 125th birthday of its football field, Andrus Field, the oldest continuously used collegiate football field in the country, which was the site of Wesleyan first collegiate contest October 31, 1881 vs. the Amherst Aggies (now UMass Amherst).
Statistical Summary of Wesleyan/Bowdoin Game

 

Williams (7-0) 51, Wesleyan (3-4) 21 - 11/4/06 at Williamstown, Mass.
 
        Williams jumped out to a 28-0 edge in the first quarter and held a 42-7 lead at halftime en route to a 51-21 Little Three win over Wesleyan in Williamstown, setting up a showdown for the 2006 Little Title at Amherst (5-2, 1-0) in Amherst Nov. 11. Williams remained in first place in the NESCAC with a perfect 7-0 record and was ranked first in New England Division III to start the week.
        Williams struck for a TD on just four plays on its opening possession, highlighted by an 83-yard connection from junior QB Pat Lucey (11-of-14, 199 yards) to senior Jon Drenckhahn to the Wesleyan four-yard line.  From there, Lucey hit sophomore Ryan Powell for the TD.  Drenckhahn caught his own TD pass of 23 yards at 4:46, coming from senior Brendan Fulmer after he got a lateral from Lucey.  Just 46 seconds later, Williams sophomore Sean Milano picked off a Wesleyan pass at the Wesleyan 43-yard line and raced up the right sideline to the endzone to make it 21-0.  A Wesleyan fumble at the 21-yard line on the next possession led to a 20-yard connection from Lucey to senior Jim O’Leary for a 28-0 Williams lead.
        Lucey saw little action after that and senior QB Sean Gleeson added a 17-yard strike to O’Leary for a 35-0 Williams bulge at 13:44 of the second quarter.  Wesleyan scored three of the final five TDs, two on short runs by senior Phil Banks and one on a 16-yard catch of a senior Zach Canter pass by freshman Danny Granatell, who led all receivers in the game with eight for 73 yards.  The TDs by Banks upped his season total to seven and 21 in his four-year career.
        Wesleyan linebackers Quincy Francis, a grad student, and Tim O’Callaghan each had nine tackles to lead in that department while senior Brian Mahr had six, two for a loss.
Statistical Summary of Wesleyan/Williams Game

 

Trinity (7-1) 41, Wesleyan (3-5) 0 - 11/11/06 at Middletown, Conn.

         After stumbling a bit on its opening two possessions, Trinity College got to work for a 27-0 halftime lead and added a pair of second half scores for a 41-0 victory over Wesleyan University in the season finale for both squads.  It was the sixth win in a row for the Bantams after having their 31-game win streak snapped by Williams back on Sept. 30, and gave Trinity a 7-1 final record.  Wesleyan fell to 3-5 on the year and has lost six straight to Trinity since last winning in Middletown in 2000.
         A quick reversal of fortune early in the game set the tone as Wesleyan held Trinity on its first two possessions, forcing punts.  When Trinity junior punter Jeff Pratt saw Wesleyan grad student Quincy Francis barreling in on him, he tucked the ball away and was thrown down by Francis at the Trinity eight-yard line, where Wesleyan took over.  On the next play, Trinity sophomore Tyler Berry tipped a junior Zach Librizzi pass to the endzone into the hands of his teammate senior Matt Soules, who returned the interception to the Trinity 15-yard line.  From there, the Bantams went on an 85-yard march on 11 plays with 62 of the yards coming on passes from sophomore Eric McGrath to junior Justin Holiday for 39 yards and 23 yards.  McGrath did the honors on the TD, skipping through the middle on a QB draw from nine yards out.  McGrath ended the game with 25 completions on 41 attempts for 262 yards.  Holiday led all receivers with six catches for 98 yards while also scoring Trinity's third TD on a 17-yard strike from McGrath at 11:10 of the second quarter.  That capped a streak of three straight possessions for TDs as Trinity went 84 yards on 16 plays for a 14-0 lead at 14:28 of the second period.. Senior Gennaro Leo ended the drive with a three-yard run for his ninth TD of the season.  He finished the game with 20 carries for 82 yards and also threw a third-quarter TD pass to McGrath of six yards on a fake sweep to the right and throw back to the left.  Gennaro led the NESCAC in rushing this season with 872 yards, an average of 109 yards a game.
         Trinity senior placekicker Kevin Swiniarski had a pair of field goals, covering 23 and 27 yards in the second quarter, to up his career total to 22, a Trinity team record.
         Trinity scored its final TD on a five-yard pass from McGrath to senior Joe Clark late in the third period.
         Wesleyan's Quincy Francis led all tacklers in the game with 12 as he finished the season with a NESCAC-best 86 tackles to average 10.8 tackles a game.  Tyler Berry had eight tackles to lead Trinity and two of his team's six interceptions on the day. 
Statistical Summary of Wesleyan/Trinity Game