Football Builds 21-6 Second-Half Lead at Bates & Holds on for 24-22 Win to Go 4-0 on the Season
Wesleyan built a 21-6 lead in the third quarter behind the ball-control running of Kyle Gibson '15 (#24, right side photo), who had 32 carries for 141 yards, and three TD passes by Jesse Warren '15 to three different receivers, but it took a defensive stand in the closing seconds to secure a 24-22 victory at Bates Sat., Oct. 13 to raise the Cardinals record to 4-0 on the season. Wesleyan was last 4-0 in 1998 and will take on Amherst (3-1) during Homecoming/Family Weekend festivities in Middletown, Conn. Sat., Oct. 20. Wesleyan last started the year 5-0 in 1993 when the team won its opening six contests.
Wesleyan made some big defensive plays in the first half to carry a 14-0 lead into intermission. On four occasions Wesleyan held on fourth down to take over on downs. Defensively, the Cardinals got a team-best seven tackles from Zach Vinci '15 (#10, left side photo), who had a pair of sacks in the game. Nik Powers '15 added six tackles, four of them for a loss including two sacks. For the game, Wesleyan held bates to 126 rushing yards. Bates came into the game averaging 239 yards on the ground and rambled for more than 300 yards on the ground in each of its last two games, wins over Tufts and Williams.
Back on offense, Jesse Warren '15 completed 14 of 22 attempts for 163 yards with TD tosses going to Josh Hurwitz '15 at 9:26 of the first period as Wesleyan drove 72 yards with the opening kickoff to go ahead 7-0 after 11 plays. Warren's seven-yarder at 5:57 of the second quarter to Teddy Baker '14 capped off a 76-yard, 16-play march that consumed 8:26 and made it 14-0.
Bates cut the gap to 14-6 at 9:21 of the third period before Wesleyan responded 5:16 later on a 45-yard connection from Warren to Jay Fabien '15, making it a 21-6 lead.
Bates posted the next nine points with a TD at 14:48 of the fourth quarter on a 59-yard interception return and a 27-yard field goal at 9:46. Bates failed on a two-point conversion pass on its second score in an attempt to make up for a missed extra point. That left Wesleyan with a 21-15 advantage. A 21-yard Sebastian Aguirre '14 field goal with 3:48 left looked to be the clincher as Wesleyan moved ahead, 24-15.
With Wesleyan pinned deep in its own end following an interception by Donnie Cimino '15, Bates intercepted a first-down swing pass by Wesleyan to set up a one-yard TD run with 2:08 left. The Cardinals recovered the ensuing onside kick and were forced to punt. Bates began its final drive at its own 19 with 1:21 remaining. The Bobcats completed four passes for 50 yards to reach the Wesleyan 31 with time winding down. A pair of incomplete passes, one knocked down by Jon Lis '13, and a big tackle for no gain by Vinci on a QB scramble set up fourth down with :04.2 left. A final pass toward the endzone was knocked down by Jake Bussani '14 to end the game.
Wesleyan improved to 27-4 all-time vs. Bates with its seventh consecutive victory over the Bobcats,.