Cardinals pass by Bobcats, 24-16

Ivan Reese ran for his third touchdown of the season to give Bates an early lead at Wesleyan on Oct. 17, 2015. (File photo by Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College) 

MIDDLETOWN, Conn. -- Wesleyan University scored 17 straight points to overcome a 9-7 deficit in the second quarter, en route to defeating the Bates College football team 24-16 on Saturday at Andrus Field.

The Cardinals (3-1) defeated the Bobcats (0-4) for the 10th straight year as quarterback Gernald Hawkins threw for 228 yards and two touchdowns, while Lou Stevens rushed for 117 yards on 12 carries.

Bates senior quarterback Patrick Dugan (Westford, Mass.) threw for 204 yards, including a late 5-yard touchdown pass to senior wide receiver Lani Eversage. Bates recovered the ensuing onside kick, but Wesleyan sealed the victory on Justin Sanchez's interception with 1:21 remaining.

The Bobcats raced down the field on their opening series, going 68 yards on four plays, including a 3-yard touchdown run by Ivan Reese (Savannah, Ga.), the junior running back's third touchdown this season. Sophomore slotback Mickoy Nichol (Dennis Port, Mass.) ran for 20 yards on the game's first play from scrimmage, and sophomore slotback Frank Williams (Brookline, Mass.) ran for 41 yards to take Bates from its own 44 to the Wesleyan 3. Bates' point-after kick attempt failed, leaving the lead at 6-0.

Wesleyan had its first two offensive series end in an interception by junior Brandon Williams (Gardner, Mass.) and a punt, while Bates punted on two straight. The Cardinals then assumed a 7-6 lead with an 8-play, 51-yard drive, capped by Devon Carrillo's option pass to Dan Laorenza. Brandon Williams picked off Hawkins again on the drive, but the play was discounted due to a rouhging the passer flag against the Bobcats. 

Junior Trevor Lyons (Hamilton, Mass.) stepped up to make another interception, his second of the season, and returned the ball 24 yards to set up the Bobcats at the Wesleyan 17. The Bobcats couldn't get a first down, but settled for a career-long 33-yard field goal by sophomore Grant DeWald (Duxbury, Mass.), returning the lead to Bates at 9-7 with 3:52 left in the second quarter.

Wesleyan found enough time to march 68 yards for the go-ahead touchdown, with Hawkins hitting Mike Breuler for a 9-yard touchdown with 33 seconds left in the half. The drive was sustained by a 20-yard completion from Hawkins to Jaylen Berry on 3rd and 10 at midfield.

Ike Fuchs gave Wesleyan an eight-point lead with 4:24 left in the third quarter, kicking a 21-yard field goal to cap a 10-play, 53-yard drive. Bates responded with Dugan hitting Frank Williams for a 49-yard gain, taking the Bobcats to the Wesleyan 11, but a fumble on the ensuing play was recovered by the Cardinals at their own 22.

Wesleyan then made it a two-possession game with a 10-play, 78-yard drive, finished off with a 37-yard touchdown pass from Hawkins to Lou Stevens, for a 24-9 lead.

With 3:28 left in the fourth quarter, Brandon Williams set up Bates at midfield for its final scoring drive with his second interception of the game and fourth in the past two games. A Dugan 25-yard completion to Nichol took Bates to the Wesleyan 2, and a 22-yard strike to senior Mark Riley (Needham, Mass.) two plays later brough Bates to the 4. Reese was stopped for a 1-yard loss, and after two Dugan incompletions, Bates faced 4th and goal at the 5. Dugan then found Eversage (Fairfield, Iowa) for his first career touchdown, and DeWald's point-after closed the gap to 24-16 with 1:47 remaining in the game.

Bates' Mark Riley recovered Bates' successfully executed onside kick, but Bates' final drive ended with an interception by Wesleyan's Justin Sanchez.

Wesleyan outgained Bates in total offense, 447-308, and had 24 first downs to Bates' 14. The Cardinals dominated time of possession, 39:14 to 20:46.

Frank Williams led Bates rushers with 54 yards on five attempts, adding in two receptions for 57 yards. Eversage caught three passes for 59 yards, and Riley caught six for 54. 

Junior Mark Upton (Winthrop, Mass.) had a season-high 14 tackles, while Brandon Williams notched a career high for the second straight week with 11 tackles (10 solo). Junior Sam Francis (Newburyport, Mass.) also had a career-high with 10 tackles, and senior defensive end Tucker Oniskey (Reading, Mass.) had a career-high nine tackles, including 2.5 for a loss. 

Bates returns home next Saturday, Oct. 24, to face Middlebury (3-1) at 1pm.