MOUNT PLEASANT – Iowa Wesleyan College put an early scare into nationally ranked Coe College, but the Kohawks scored 17 unanswered points in the third quarter on the way to defeating the Tigers 48-21 Saturday night at Mapleleaf Stadium.
IWC scored a pair of touchdowns late in the first quarter to take an early lead, but the visitors got three short rushing touchdowns from star quarterback Brad Boyle to stop the Tigers in their home opener and win the first-ever Old Threshers Bowl. Coe won its season opener, while IWC dropped to 0-2 on the season.
After losing its season opener the week before against Trinity International (Ill.) University, Wesleyan put together a much better offensive effort against the Kohawks, who came into the game ranked 12th in NCAA Division III. It took the Tigers some time to get going, as the offense sputtered on its first two series and Coe took the lead when Boyle scored on a quarterback sneak for a 7-0 lead midway through the first quarter.
IWC would answer less than two minutes later, though. Kevin McConnell (So.-Kansas City, Mo.) hit Marc Ballatori (Fr.-Tequesta, Fla.) on a short pass, and the freshman wide receiver made a move and outran the defense for a 54-yard touchdown, his first collegiate touchdown reception.
The Tigers then would take advantage of a defensive stand, stopping Coe at the IWC 32-yard line when Darious Watson (Sr.-Bellwood, Ill.) recovered a fumbled snap on fourth down. The offense then really started clicking, putting together a seven play, 68-yard drive that ended when Taylor Day (Fr.-West Burlington, Iowa) caught a four-yard pass from McConnell for a touchdown and gave Wesleyan its first lead of the season at 14-7.
Coe soon would begin to find its rhythm, though, scoring quickly twice in the second quarter to regain the lead. The second touchdown came with 4:38 left in the first half after a McConnell interception in IWC territory. The Kohawks went 36 yards in four plays, with Brendan Leiran scoring from 11 yards out for a 21-14 lead.
The score stayed that way until halftime, as Boyle threw a pair of interceptions in the first half, one more than he threw all of last season for Coe. The Kohawks would score on all three of their possessions in the third quarter, though, with a pair of 2-yard touchdown plunges by Boyle bookending a 29-yard field goal by Elliot Rausa. The second touchdown gave Coe a 38-14 lead with 1:55 left in the third quarter.
The Tigers would not go quietly, though, answering with a quick touchdown drive of their own. Wesleyan went 70 yards in six plays, capped by McConnell connecting with Leondre Washington (Fr.-St. Louis, Mo.) on a 38-yard touchdown pass, McConnell’s third scoring pass of the game.
IWC would get no closer, as Rausa added a second field goal to make it 41-21 and the Tigers were unable to score again. Wesleyan was inside the Coe 40-yard line twice in the final quarter but could not take advantage, and the Kohawks added a final touchdown with 1:53 left in the game after recovering a muffed punt and driving 20 yards in three plays for a touchdown.
McConnell had the best day passing of his young career at Iowa Wesleyan, completing 18 of 29 passes for 218 yards and the three touchdowns. Lawrence Moore (Sr.-Country Club Hills, Ill.) led the receivers with seven catches for 58 yards, while Ridge Hobbs (Fr.-New London, Iowa) had four receptions for 72 yards and Ballatori added three catches for 78 yards.
Watson led the Tiger defense with nine tackles, a fumble recovery and an interception. Dominique Richards (Sr.-Bronx, N.Y.) added seven tackles, including 1 1/2 sacks, and Cameron Jones (Jr.-O’Fallon, Mo.) and Sailialii Tupai (Jr.-San Francisco, Calif.) both also had seven tackles. Warren Green (Fr.-Fairburn, Ga.) and Kerry Hartley (Fr.-Lithonia, Ga.) also both added interceptions.
Boyle, last season’s Iowa Conference MVP, finished completing 17 of 28 passes for 296 yards, one touchdown pass and two interceptions. He also finished with a net of -4 yards on nine carries but scored three touchdowns on the ground. Coe outgained the Tigers 443-320.
The Tigers face another tough opponent next week when the University of St. Francis (Ind.) visits Mapleleaf Stadium at 1 p.m. The Cougars are ranked 17th in the NAIA Preseason Top 25 Coaches’ Poll.
For more information regarding the IWC football program or any of the Tiger athletic teams, contact sports information director Adam Glatczak (319-385-6306 phone; 319-385-6384 FAX; email@example.com e-mail) or log on to IWC's athletics Web site at www.iwc.edu/athletics.
Box score Coe 48 IWC 21