With Kyle Gibson '15 (#24, photo upper left) rushing for 100 yards on 15 carries, all in the second half, and LaDarius Drew '15 picking up another 98 yards on 21 attempts, Wesleyan rolled up 215 yards on the ground to complement the efficient 14-of-21 passing by Jesse Warren '15 (#13, photo upper right) as the Cardinals rolled to a 35-14 victory in its season opener at Tufts Sat., Sept. 22. Wesleyan hosts Hamilton, which dropped a 38-14 contest to Amherst in its first game, Sat., Sept. 29 for the home opener.
Warren tossed for 165 yards with six passes connecting to Jay Fabien '15 (#80, photo lower left), who gathered 75 receiving yards. Warren threw three TD passes with Rob Manning '16 getting things started just 4:08 into the contest, grabbing a 17-yarder on the left side and skipping into the endzone to cap a 39-yard drive. The drive was set up by the first of two interceptions on the day by Jake Bussani '14 (#1, photo lower right), who also had four tackles and pass break-up. He was named NESCAC Defensive Player of the Week for his efforts.
Wesleyan second scoring drive only covered 35 yards after the defense held Tufts at its own 25 on the next possession and a bad punt snap resulted in great field position for the Cardinals. This time, Warren found Kevin Hughes '14 over the middle in the endzone from 10 yards out for the TD with 8:06 left in the period.
Wesleyan made it 21-0 before the end of the frame when Drew burst into the endzone from 11 yards away as the clock showed 1:16 left. Like the initial TD, that score was after an interception, this time by Donnie Cimino '15, as he bolted 42 yards on the return to the Tufts' 32.
While Tufts cut the gap to 21-7 with 9:42 remaining in the second quarter, Warren came up with his third TD toss, finding Josh Hurwitz '15 on the right side of the endzone for Wesleyan's fourth TD of the day, this one from 25 yards out with 3:18 left before halftime, for a 28-7 lead.
Tufts made it 28-14, scoring with just :08 on the second-quarter clock. The series was aided by an unusual pass completion on 3rd-and-10 at the Wesleyan 43 when a pass that would have hit the ground deflected off the back of a ref and was eventually caught by a Jumbo for a 23-yard gain.
Wesleyan got the only TD of the second half as Gibson, who came in to spell Drew, rushed six times for 57 yards during a 63-yard march. He capped it with a five-yard rush up the middle. That came with 10:21 to go.
Wesleyan got stellar play from linebacker Jake Siciliano '15, who led the squad with 10 tackles. Prince Emenalo '13 and Myers Beaird '14 both added six stops for the Cardinal cause.
To watch a brilliant seven-minute video highlighting the Cardinal win, created by Carl Kafka P'16, who was up from Florida for the game, please click < here >.