LEBANON, ILL. – McKendree (Ill.) University scored 21 second quarter points and the nationally ranked Bearcats defeated the Iowa Wesleyan College football team 58-3 Saturday night at Leemon Field in the Mid-States Football Association Midwest League opener for both teams.
The Tigers lost their third straight game to a ranked team and dropped to 0-4 on the season, while #14 McKendree moved to 3-1 this year. The Bearcats also improved to 13-0 all-time against Iowa Wesleyan in the series.
IWC was on par with McKendree in being able to move the ball for first downs and controlling time of possession. The Bearcats held a slim 21-18 edge in first downs, and Wesleyan held the ball for 30:38 of the game.
McKendree made a living with big plays, though, and made the Tigers pay for mistakes. The Bearcats posted 474 yards of offense to 194 yards for IWC, averaging 7.8 yards per play to 3.2 for Wesleyan, and also scored three touchdowns after interceptions of the Tigers.
IWC posted a 12-10 edge in first downs in the first half and drove into McKendree territory three times. The Tigers got their only points of the half late in the second quarter when Kris Dolinsky (Fr.-Fishers, Ind.) kicked a 29-yard field goal. Dolinsky’s first career collegiate field goal make made it 24-3 with 3:41 left in the half and capped a ten play, 59-yard drive.
Bearcat quarterback Austin Fisher threw three touchdown passes of 16, 41 and 37 yards. His first was a teardrop that fell in over two defenders and found Jake Strausbaugh in the back of the end zone to make it 17-0 in the second quarter. He then added a pair of catch-and-run throws, one to Travis Brown (41 yards) with less than two minutes left in the second quarter and then a 37-yarder to Nick Jones just 1:21 into the third quarter to make it 38-3.
Kevin McConnell (So.-Kansas City, Mo.) completed 15 of 37 passes for 152 yards and three interceptions. He also led the Tigers in rushing with 42 yards on 16 attempts. Lawrence Moore (Sr.-Country Club Hills, Ill.) had six receptions and LiMichael Peeples (Fr.-Conyers, Ga.) added three catches for a game-high 62 yards.
Chris Owens (Sr.-Greer, S.C.) and Cameron Jones (Jr.-O’Fallon, Mo.) both had seven tackles to lead the Wesleyan defense. Byron Dames (Fr.-Hobe Sound, Fla.) also added two tackles, including a sack.
The Tigers return to the field on Saturday to face the University of St. Francis (Ill.) at 1 p.m. in Joliet, Ill.