Golden and Lopez find the end zone in football's 48-12 loss at Wesleyan

Junior Jaason Lopez rushed for 48 yards and scored a touchdown at Wesleyan on Saturday, September 28, 2019. (File photo by Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College)

MIDDLETOWN, Conn. – Senior Matt Golden and junior Jaason Lopez both scored rushing touchdowns in the Bates football team's 48-12 loss at undefeated Wesleyan Saturday afternoon. 

The Cardinals' defense forced four turnovers (three interceptions, one fumble) and held the Bobcats to 117 yards of offense with 53 through the air and 64 on the ground as they improved to 3-0. Following the loss, Bates dropped to 0-3.

Wesleyan received the opening kick but was forced to punt after five plays. On Bates' first play of the game, first-year quarterback Liam Foley (Foxboro, Mass.) was pressured and hit while throwing and Chase Pratt picked off the ball at the Bates-19 yard line. Three plays later, David Estevez powered through at the goal line from two yards out to give Wesleyan a 7-0 advantage with 10:51 on the clock.

Four drives later, the home team extended its lead when Estevez found a wide-open hole on the left side to run in from 13 yards out. Bates punted on its next drive as Wesleyan held a 14-0 advantage after the first.

On the very first play of the second quarter, Wesleyan receiver Matthew Simco beat his defender and quarterback Aston Scott found him in the center of the field as he hauled in a 31-yard touchdown. The Bobcats were forced to punt again and Wesleyan took over at its own-23. Eight plays later, kicker Mason Von Jess connected from 34 yards out to extend the lead to 24-0 with 6:32 remaining in the half.

After another Bobcat punt, Wesleyan scored three plays later when Scott found wide receiver Joe Scancarella in roughly the same spot as Simco earlier in the quarter, as Scancarella leaped up and hauled in a 32-yard touchdown with a cornerback all over him. Wesleyan took a 34-0 lead into halftime. 

Bates came out strong to start the second half and a 21-yard run by Lopez (Marblehead, Mass.) got the visitors to the Wesleyan-1. Two plays later, Lopez scored on a draw up the middle, but the extra-point was blocked by Ben Thaw.

The Cardinals responded with an 11-play, 75-yard drive as running back Glenn Smith capped it off with a 10-yard rush, breaking tackles along the way. After back-to-back punts, Julian Ross intercepted a pass to conclude the third quarter. Wesleyan did not capitalize on the turnover but scored on its next drive when Smith rushed to the right, broke one tackle, and went 47 yards for a score. Smith's second TD of the game put Wesleyan ahead 48-6 with 10:30 remaining.

In the closing minutes, Golden (New Bedford, Mass.) scored on a three-yard rush but once again, the extra point was blocked as the Cardinals took over and knelt the ball.

Scott completed 14-20 passes for 192 yards and two touchdowns, all in the first half, while also rushing seven times for 31 yards. Smith rushed nine times for 118 yards and two scores, and Simco led all receivers with 70 yards on four catches and a TD. Defensively, Isaiah Miller led the Cardinals with seven tackles and 2.5 for a loss. Nick Livingston, John Lewis II, and Babila Fomuteh all recorded a sack, and Pratt, Ross, and Danny Banks registered interceptions.

Bates only threw eight passes while rushing 48 times. Golden led the team with 16 carries for 54 yards and Lopez rushed 18 times for 48 yards. First-year Tyler Bridge (Wells, Maine) paced Bates with 46 receiving yards on two catches.

On the defensive side, senior Zach Doyon (Eliot, Maine) led the way with eight tackles and a fumble recovery. First-year Tony Hooks (New Rochelle, N.Y.) totaled six tackles with a sack, and sophomores Owen Straley (Norwell, Mass.) and Nolan Potter (Wells, Maine) each broke up a pass.

Wesleyan gained 16 first downs while holding Bates to just eight. The Cardinals also held a 394-to-117 advantage in total offense with 212 yards passing and 182 rushing.

Bates returns home next Saturday when the Bobcats host Tufts (1-2) at 1pm.