Middletown, Conn. - Sophomore QB Ryan Burgess (Dracut, Mass.) connected with senior captain WR Michael Galligan (Shoreham, N.Y.) on his third touchdown pass of the day with 1:02 left in the fourth quarter to give the visiting Trinity College Bantams a 27-20 win over the Wesleyan University Cardinals in the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) football season finale for both teams this afternoon on Andrus Field. Trinity closes the year at 7-1 with its 10 consecutive win against the Cardinals, while Wesleyan ends its season at 4-4. Despite six straight triumphs following a 1-1 start, Trinity lost out on a share of the 2010 NESCAC title, when Williams College won at Amherst, 31-16, to complete an undefeated season.
Burgess completed two passes to sophomore WR Drew Grombala (Cincinnati, Ohio) and two to Galligan, including a 31-yarder down the left sideline that Galligan pulled in with one hand over the Wesleyan defender at the 15-yard line before running it in, on the game-winning drive, as Trinity needed just 45 seconds to march 61 yards after the Cardinals had tied the score at 20-20 on a 31-yard field goal by freshman Sebastian Aguirre (Denville, N.J.) at the 1:52 mark. The Trinity defense forced three incompletions and senior captain ILB Francois Auzerais (Westport, Conn.) made a four-yard sack on Wesleyan's final possession.
The teams traded early touchdowns in the first quarter, as Burgess opened the scoring on a 14-yard pass to senior TE Chris Hunt (Westford, Mass.) and Wesleyan answered with a 25-yard scoring strike from junior QB Matt Coyne (Bristol, Conn.) to freshman TE Kevin Hughes (Boxboro, Mass.). Coyne found senior WR Pete Modera (Piedmont, Calif.) wide open down the right sideline for a 70-yard touchdown in the second stanza to give the Cardinals a 14-7 lead. Trinity responded with a 28-yard field goal by Costello, and stole the momentum and the leas just before break when sophomore WR Nick Campbell (New Albany, Ohio) blocked a punt deep in Wesleyan territory to set up Burgess for a nine-yard touchdown toss to Grombala with 13 seconds remaining in the second quarter.
Late in the third frame, an interception by Wesleyan senior DB Jordan Greene (Titusville, Fla.) set up a game-tying, 34-yard field goal by Aguirre at 13:04 of the fourth quarter. Campbell returned the ensuing kickoff 34 yards to almost midfielder, setting up a 27-yarder by Costello that gave Trinity the lead back at the 8:22 mark. Wesleyan capitalized on 31-yard kickoff return into Trinity territory by Modera, and advanced inside the Bantam 10-yard line, but a seven-yard tackle for loss on a screen pass by Trinity senior OLB Thomad Kilgore (San Francisco, Calif.) was a pivotal play that forced the Cardinals to settle for a game-tying kick.
Burgess finished 17-for-25 for 169 yards, while Galligan caught five balls for 53 yards, and Grombala had five catches for 47 yards. Coyne was 16-for-21 for 170 yards and found freshman WR Ernest Wingate (Englewood, N.J.) six times for 41 yards. Trinity freshman RB Evan Bunker (Topsfield, Mass.) rushed 24 times for a game-high 119 yards, while Wesleyan senior RB Shea Dwyer (Marlborough, Mass.) was the first opposing runner to eclipse 100 yards on the ground this fall against Trinity with 114 yards on 27 tries. Junior ILB Walter Fallas (Everett, Mass.) led all tacklers with 12 (eight solo) and added a sack, while Kilgore finished with seven tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, and two sacks. Senior LB Cyprian Oyomba (Norwalk, Conn.) paced Wesleyan with 11 tackles.