Running Back LaDarius Drew '15 Named NESCAC Player of the Week as is Punter Josh Hurwitz '15 Following Win over Bates
LaDarius Drew '15 (#30, right side photo) ran the ball 26 times for 162 and three TDs, with all of his scores and most of his yardage coming in the second half, as Wesleyan built a 21-0 lead with 11 minutes to play and held on for a 21-14 NESCAC victory over visiting Bates College Sat., Oct. 15. Drew, who is ranked second in the NESCAC and among the leaders in NCAA Division III for rushing yards as he averages 121 yards a game, picked up his third consecutive game with over 100 yards on the ground and his second in a row of finding the endzone three times. He was named NESCAC Offensive Player of the Week for his efforts. Also honored by the NESCAC was punter Josh Hurwitz '15 (#83, photo insert upper right by SteveMcLaughlinPhotography.com) as he was named Special Teams Player of the Week for his 37.6-yard average over eight punts.
Each team capitalized twice on turnovers to score TDs. Drew got his first two trips to paydirt from runs of three and five yards, capping Wesleyan drives after an interception and a Bates muffed punt return. Wesleyan senior Colin Hartwig made a juggling interception of a pass he batted near the line of scrimmage to give the Cardinals the ball at the Wesleyan 47-yard line early in the third quarter. Drew rushed the ball five times for 26 yards during the TD march while a 27-yard pass play from Matt Coyne '12 to Jay Fabien '15, who finished the game with six catches for 94 yards, was a key element during the series. Then when Bates muffed the receipt of a punt in the final minute of the third period, Wesleyan took over at the Bates 42-yard line. Another big connection from Coyne to Fabien, this time for 25 yards, set up Drew's five-yard TD scamper to make it 14-0 with 12:44 left. Bates was unable to move the ball on its next possession but pinned Wesleyan deep with a 52-yard punt to the Cardinal 10. But on the first play from that point, Drew burst up the middle then headed to the right sideline and raced untouched to the endzone for a 90-yard TD and a 21-0 Wesleyan bulge with 10:58 to go. The TD run was four yards shy of the Wesleyan school record set in 1947.
Each team had two possessions over the next six minutes with Wesleyan starting at its own three following a booming 68-yard punt. Wesleyan fumbled at the 14 on its first play following a Bates penalty. Bates wasted no time connecting for a 14-yard TD with 4:38 showing on the clock.
A perfectly executed onside kick was recovered by Bates at its own 40. From there, the Bobcats quickly moved s60 yards to make it 21-4 with 1:33 remaining.
But the next onside kick dribbled out of bounds and Wesleyan took over at the Bates 30. Wesleyan was forced to punt and Hurwitz pinned Bates at its own one-yard line with 1:02 to play with a 36-yard effort. Though Bates completed a dramatic 35-yarder to keep its drive alive, the Bobcats got no further than their own 36-yard line as a sack by Cyprian Oyomba'12 and Nik Powers '15 was the last play of the contest.
While there was no scoring in the first half, each team had a TD opportunity stuffed by the opposing defense as Wesleyan held on a 4th-and-goal run by Bates on its opening drive and following a blocked punt by Wesleyan's Ibraheem Khadar '15, Bates held Wesleyan on 4th-and-goal at the one early in the second quarter. Khadar collected five tackles, including a sack, and caused a fumble in a solid day's work on defense. Oyomba had a team-high 12 tackles for Wesleyan and had 1.5 of the Cardinals' seven sacks in the game.
Wesleyan improved to 26-4 all-time vs. Bates and won its sixth in a row against the Bobcats.
Wesleyan travels to Little Three rival Amherst to face the undefeated Lord Jeffs (4-0) in its next outing Sat., Oct. 22. The game will feature both a webcast