Running back Shea Dwyer '10 (#5, photo by Don Chapin P'09) rushed 27 times for a Wesleyan-record 213 yards and scored all five Wesleyan TDs, four of them on the ground and one on a reception, to carry the Cardinals to a 35-21 home victory over Hamilton Sat., Oct. 2. For his effort, Dwyer was named NESCAC and ECAC Division III North Co-Offensive Player of the Week as well as the Gridiron Club of Greater Boston weekly Gold Helmet Award winner as the top Div. II/III performer in New England. Dwyer is the first Cardinal to get the Gold Helmet since Joe Pepe earned the distinction in 2006 following his outstanding effort in a close loss to Colby. (Note - See photo below of Head Coach Mike Whalen, Shea Dwyer and his parents Sharon and David Dwyer with the Gold Helmet Award. For a video of the Gold Helmet Award ceremony at Harvard mixed with Dwyer's five TDs vs. Hamilton, please click < here >).
Wesleyan evened its record at 1-1 on the season and defeated Hamilton for the first time since 2007. Hamilton fell to 0-2 on the season.
Dwyer hit paydirt for the first time in the game at the 4:28 mark of the first quarter, capping a 10-play, 90-yard march that consumed 4:58. Dwyer had 33 yards rushing during the series, including the final two-yard burst for the TD. On Wesleyan’s next possession, Dwyer did the honors with a 29-yard screen pass to the left, darting past one would-be tackler early in the play and skipping up the left sideline for the TD, completing a 10-play, 88-yard drive to make it 14-0 at 10:08 of the second period. After Hamilton failed on a 4th-and-1 pass attempts at the Wesleyan 44 two series later, Wesleyan had excellent field position. Two Dwyer runs for 49 yards, the second one for 17 yards and the TD, sandwiched a seven-yard pass interference penalty to account for the 56 yards. That put the Cardinals ahead 21-0 with 2:50 left in the half. Dwyer closed out the half with 135 yards rushing on 17 attempts.
Hamilton closed the gap to 21-7, scoring with :40 remaining on a one-yard QB sneak, capping a 69-yard march in nine quick plays. A 28-yard pass play got the ball to the one-yard line.
The teams traded TDs in the second half with Wesleyan scoring first as Dwyer darted in from two yards out at 4:56 of the third period to make it 28-7. Like the last Hamilton TD, it was a pass, a 29-yard connection from QB Matt Coyne '12 to Kyle Weiss '12, that got the ball close to the goal line. Coyne completed 14 of 19 passes for 175 yards on the afternoon. Pete Modera '11 and Ernest Wingate '14 both were on the receiving end of four Coyne tosses to lead the Wesleyan receiving corps. Each had a key catch during the Cardinals’ first TD drive, both going for 21 yards.
Hamilton scored its second-half TDs on an eight-yard connection and a dazzling 89-yard kickoff return by Dylan Isenberg. Isenberg, who was held to 48 yards rushing on 16 attempts after gaining 136 yards on 29 carries in Hamilton’s opener at Tufts last week, curled up the right side after receiving the ball at the 11, then raced past two would-be tacklers around the 20 and cut across the field, eventually scoring on the left side while pulling away from the pursuing pack.
Before Isenberg’s runback, Wesleyan had just made it 35-14 at the 5:04 mark on Dwyer’s 14-yard scamper up the middle following a failed 4th-down conversion by Hamilton deep in its own territory. Dwyer had broken the Wesleyan single-game rushing mark of 190 yards, set by Waldo Williams in 1986 against Trinity College, on a 15-yard run with about eight minutes to go in the game, giving him 192 at the time. He added 21 yards on his final three carries, giving him 78 yards on 10 tries in the second half, for his 213 total. Dwyer had posted a career-high 119 yards rushing last week vs. Middlebury but nearly doubled the effort vs. Hamilton.
Wesleyan's Brett Bandazian '12 provided the Cardinals with their only turnover of the game, making an interception near midfield to give the Cardinals the ball with 1:38 left. Three kneel-downs by Coyne closed out the contest.
Wesleyan gained 398 yards to Hamilton’s 325 and time of possession was just about even. First downs favored Wesleyan, 21-17.
Wesleyan visits Colby for its next outing Sat., Oct. 9. The game will be webcast and can be seen by clicking < here >.