QUINCY, ILL. – Kevin McConnell (So.-Kansas City, Mo.) had another huge game, accounting for seven touchdowns, and Iowa Wesleyan College took advantage of a 35-point second quarter explosion to defeat Quincy (Ill.) University 62-50 in a wild Mid-States Football Association Midwest League game at QU Stadium.
McConnell passed for 435 yards, the most yards for a Tiger quarterback since 1991, and the Tigers emerged from their second straight shootout this time with a win, improving to 3-5 overall this season and 3-2 in the MSFA Midwest. IWC also produced its biggest scoring output since 1994 and won for the third time in four games while also defeating Quincy for just the second time ever.
Wesleyan won in what very simply will go down as one of the wildest games in school history. The Tigers and Hawks combined for 112 points, the most ever by two teams in a game in IWC’s 120-year history of playing football. IWC scored 49 points in the first half, 35 in the second quarter alone, and held a 49-30 lead at halftime.
The Tigers scored four touchdowns in a span of 4:44 in the second quarter, and both teams had two scoring drives each of just one play. Iowa Wesleyan and Quincy combined for 16 touchdowns, 1,050 yards of offense and 58 first downs, and combined for four punts in the entire game as offenses ruled the afternoon almost from the start.
IWC was once again led by McConnell, who had his fourth straight big game commanding the Tigers’ spread offense. McConnell completed 29 of 38 passes for 435 yards and five touchdown passes, and also added 18 rush attempts for 45 yards and two more scores. The sophomore quarterback set career highs in passing yards, total offense and touchdown passes, and his 435 passing yards were the most by a Wesleyan QB since Dustin Dewald set the school single-game record of 507 yards on Oct. 26, 1991 against Wayne State (Neb.) College.
McConnell’s main target was Lawrence Moore (Sr.-Country Club Hills, Ill.), who had his biggest day of the season with seven receptions for 198 yards and three touchdowns. Moore took short screen passes from McConnell and turned them into touchdowns of 80 and 37 yards, and also added an 18-yard touchdown catch from McConnell in the first quarter.
The Tigers took control of the game with a huge second quarter that capped a stretch in which they scored 42 points in less than 15 minutes. Wesleyan took its first lead when McConnell’s six-yard quarterback draw made it 21-14 with 13:56 left in the second quarter, but Quincy struck right back when Bobby Brenneisen hit Justin Dickens for a 54-yard touchdown on the Hawks’ first play of their next drive, tying the score right back up.
Wesleyan took the lead for good on a bizarre play just 19 seconds later. McConnell’s pass to Greg Fields (Sr.-St. Louis, Mo.) deflected off the receiver’s hands and was intercepted by Quincy’s Earl Love, who attempted a runback. Fields was able to make the tackle, and before Love fell to the ground he stole the ball away from the defensive back and raced 48 yards for a touchdown.
The IWC defense gave up 523 yards to Quincy, but the Tigers got just enough stops throughout the game. After taking a 28-21 lead, the Wesleyan defense held, and on the offense’s first play of its next possession Moore caught a wide receiver screen, picked through defenders and raced 80 yards for the score.
IWC got another stop in Quincy’s next possession when Edward Amadi (So.-Garland, Texas) intercepted Brenneisen and took the ball back to the QU 27-yard line. The Tigers again scored one play later as McConnell found Leondre Washington (Fr.-St. Louis, Mo.) for a 27-yard touchdown to make it 42-21.
McConnell would add a one-yard quarterback sneak later in the quarter to make it 49-21. The Hawks came back with a touchdown and a field goal in the last 1:04 of the first half to cut into the Tigers’ lead and make it 49-30 at halftime.
Quincy would twice get as close as five points in the second half, the last time when Brenneisen scored from one-yard out on fourth down to make it 55-50 with 11:02 left in the game. Wesleyan had two long scoring drives in the second half, though, with Fields and Moore catching touchdown passes from McConnell to help the Tigers stay two steps ahead the rest of the way.
Washington had his biggest game receiving for the Tigers with seven catches for 86 yards. Fields added six catches for 43 yards and LiMichael Peeples (Fr.-Conyers, Ga.) added three receptions for 46 yards. Moore also added 44 yards rushing on five attempts, including 33 yards late in the fourth quarter as IWC salted the game away with a time-consuming drive to keep the Hawks from getting the ball back.
Chris Owens (Sr.-Greer, S.C.) led the Wesleyan defense with 10 tackles. T.J. Tolliver (Sr.-Bellwood, Ill.) added nine tackles and Mike Tupai (Jr.-San Francisco, Calif.) added eight tackles. Tarvis Gordon (So.-Sanford, Fla.) also had seven tackles and a sack, one of three sacks in the game for the IWC defense.
The Tigers finished with 527 yards of total offense and converted all three fourth down attempts in the game. Wesleyan also held the Hawks to just two conversions in five fourth down attempts in the game.
Quincy dropped to 0-7 overall, 0-3 in the MSFA Midwest. The Hawks were led by Sterling Ross, who carried the ball 30 times for 251 yards.
The 62 points scored was the most by an Iowa Wesleyan team since the Tigers defeated now-defunct Westmar College 63-0 on Nov. 12, 1994. McConnell and Moore also both just missed school records in total offense and receiving yards, respectively. McConnell’s 480 yards of total offense were 27 behind Dewald’s record 507 yards in 1991 against Wayne State, while Moore’s 198 yards receiving were just shy of Bruce Carter’s school record 216 yards receiving in a game, also in 1991 against Wayne State.
IWC returns home next weekend for another big challenge when it faces St. Xavier (Ill.) University at 6 p.m. at Mapleleaf Stadium. The Cougars, members of the MSFA Mideast League, are ranked #3 in the most recent NAIA Top 25 Coaches’ Poll.
Box score IWC 62 Quincy 50