Nov. 7, 2009

Courtesy of Illinois Wesleyan

BLOOMINGTON, Ill. - The Illinois Wesleyan football team took a big step to a conference championship with a 20-17 home win over Wheaton on Nov. 7.

The No. 19-ranked Titans improved to 8-1 overall and 5-1 in the College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin with the win and will play at North Park next Saturday. Dating back to 1960, IWU leads the series vs. North Park, 46-3, has won 23 in a row and 28 of the last 29 against the Vikings.

IWU is tied with North Central (7-2, 5-1 CCIW), who were winners at Augustana 45-26 on Saturday.

The Thunder (7-2 overall, 4-2 CCIW) scored first with 1:38 to play in the first quarter when Sean Norris connected on a 15-yard pass to Charlie Antal for a score and Scott Roche added the extra point.
Antal knocked in a 25-yard field goal with 7:53 to play in the third quarter to put Wheaton ahead 10-0.

The Titans got on the board 21 seconds later when Jack Scalcucci caught a 46 yard pass from Brien Rooney at 7:32, and the extra point kick was missed to leave Wheaton on top, 10-6.
IWU scored at the 3:23 mark of the third when Rooney found Chris Messina on a 10-yard pass to make the score 12-10. The two-point extra point run failed.

Scalcucci made his second TD grab of the day with 11:55 left in the game and then Rooney hit Messina in the back of the end zone for a two-point conversion to leave IWU ahead, 20-10.

Wheaton marched 65 yards on 12 plays to score with 6:46 left in the game but the Titans ran out the final 6:40 on 11 plays to seal the win.

IWU's P.J. Cummings had 10 tackles, an interception in the end zone, and blocked a punt to lead the Titan defense. Senior Roman Hunter and Mike Kotz each accounted for seven tackles. Kotz also had a 14 yard fumble recovery.

Tim Shaw and Brian Hollett each had seven tackles to lead the Thunder defensively, while Jordan Langs had six tackles, a -6 yard quarterback sack, two pass break ups and a blocked field goal.

The Titans amassed 374 yards of total offense to 337 yards for Wheaton. Rooney rushed for 93 yards on 14 carries and junior Eli Williams ran for 77 yards on 14 carries. Rooney was 14 of 26 for 145 yards passing as he replaced Kraig Ladd, who left with a shoulder injury in the first quarter.

Norris completed 14 of 23 passes for 174 yards and rushed for 31 yards on eight carries. Rocky Gingg had 70 yards on 16 carries and Charlie Velling ran for 57 yards on 12 carries.