Football Takes Williams Down to the Wire but Just Falls Short, 19-17, in Little Three Battle - Jesse Warren '15 Named NESCAC POW

Williams lined a 40-yard field goal through the uprights with 4:48 remaining in the fourth quarter and it held up as the difference in the game as the Ephs came away with a 19-17 Little Three win over Wesleyan in Middletown Sat., Nov. 5 during Homecoming/Family Weekend festivities.  It was the first field goal of 40 yard or more by a Eph kicker in three seasons.

On Sunday, punter Jesse Warren '15 (#13, photo inset upper right) was named NESCAC Special Teams Player of the Week. Warren had his finest day with a 46.3-yard average from his six punts while dropping four of his boots inside the 20. Three of those were downed inside the 10-yard line. He is the second Cardinal punter to receive weekly NESCAC laurels this season as fellow freshman Josh Hurwitz '15 received the same honor on Oct. 16 following a 21-14 win over Bates.

The game-winning drive for Williams was set up by a sack and forced fumble near midfield as Matt Coyne '12 had the ball jarred loose and the Ephs recovered.  One 27-yard completion to the left sideline put the Ephs in field-goal range.  Williams had booted a 34-yarder at 7:56 of the first quarter to boost its lead to 10-0 after going 65 yards on six plays with the opening kickoff for a 7-0 lead just 2:18 into the contest.  A 26-yard pass play accounted for the points.

But Wesleyan got a 41-yard TD pass from Coyne to Jay Fabien '15 at 7:57 of the second period to cut the margin to 10-7.  Fabien made a tough snag off a ball to his left as he pulled it in while going to the ground in the endzone.  The teams then traded scores before halftime as Williams scored on a 21-yard pass but the extra point was blocked by Wesleyan's Ibraheem Khadar '15, leaving the score, 16-7.  The Cardinals made it 16-14 before intermission when Jon Day '15 (#29, main photo) caught a Coyne offering and turned it into a 20-yard TD play on the right side with 1:23 to go in the second quarter.

Wesleyan took its first lead of the game on an 18-yard field goal from kicker Sebastian Aguirre '14 with 4:03 to go in the third period.  The Cardinals had started the drive at their own 38 and reached the Williams' 26.  On 4th-and-8, Williams was tagged with a roughing-the-passer penalty that gave Wesleyan a first down at the 13.  A 10-yard pass from Coyne to Dan D'Arcy '13 gave Wesleyan a 1st-and-goal at the 2.  But the Williams defense stiffened and held Wesleyan on three downs, forcing the Cardinals to settle for a go-ahead chip shot field goal.

After falling behind, 19-17, Wesleyan moved quickly down field, traveling 40 yards in just over a minute following the Williams kickoff.  On 1st-and-10 at the Williams' 26, the ball was knocked free from the arms of LaDarius Drew '15 (21 carries for 50 yards) and the Ephs eventually fell on the ball to take over.  Though the Ephs broke through the line for a 56-yard run to put Williams back in scoring range inside the red zone, the Cardinals made the Ephs settle for a field-goal try and Morgan Hanson '13 blocked the attempt.  Wesleyan was unable to move the ball after taking over with just 1:10 left and a final 2nd-and-10 throw from the 30 resulted in an interception by Williams with :30 to go.

Coyne went 15-for-31, good for 192 yards while defensively, Wesleyan got 10 tackles each from seniors Brett Bandazian and Jordan Greene.

With the triumph, Williams extended its win streak over Wesleyan to 12 games.  Williams closes out the year Sat., Nov. 12 by hosting Amherst in the battle for the Little Three title.  Williams is the defending champion.  Amherst (7-0) clinched the 2011 NESCAC title with its 35-28 victory over Trinity today.  Wesleyan ends the season at Trinity (6-1) Saturday.  The game will feature a webcast and LiveStats. Both can be viewed by clicking < here >.