BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Three defensive touchdowns and a safety helped the No. 11 Wesley College football team to a 37-0 lead after the first quarter and the Wolverines went on to beat the Birmingham-Southern Panthers, 46-12, at Battle Field on Saturday afternoon. Both teams now stand at 3-1 on the year.
Wesley also moved the ball well offensively with both the run and the pass, rushing for a season-high 252 yards while throwing for 208. Five runners got multiple carries for the Wolverines, led by Rick Jackson's 63 yards on ten carries. Cimirrow Moat ran the ball ten times for 45 yards while Eugene Byrd ran for 49 yards, including the game's first touchdown on eight carries. Kenneth Virden (43 yards) and Jamar Baynard (29 yards) combined for 72 yards on 11 attempts.
Sophomore quarterback Joe Callahan also played well in just his fourth career start, completing 16-of-23 passes for 194 yards and a 4-yard touchdown pass to Steve Koudossou in the first quarter. Callahan also ran for a score from four yards out midway through the third before giving way to Jake McCusker. McCusker was accurate in both of his pass attempts, throwing for 14 yards before Daniel Kesack came in late and the fourth, running for nine yards on his first play from scrimmage before lining up in victory formation.
Tight end Kyle George had a big day while receiving his most playing time of the year, catching four passes for 100 yards, including a 46-yard catch in the first quarter. Bryce Shade also caught four passes while eight others recorded receptions on the day.
For the first time this season, the Wolverines opened the game on the receiving end, and they were quick to make the Panthers pay for deferring after winning the coin toss. After a pair of runs by Byrd, Callahan completed four-straight passes for four-different receivers to get the ball inside the BSC 30-yard line. Runs by Shade and Byrd then moved Wesley inside the ten, and two plays later, Byrd ran one in from three yards out.
On the Panthers ensuing possession, the Wolverines forced a three-and-out, but the snap on the punt went over Hagen Mancuso's head and through the endzone for safety, giving Wesley a 9-0 lead with 8:12 left in the first quarter.
A 22-yard run by Byrd followed by a 46-yard pass to George on the seam keyed a six-play, 69 yard drive after the Wolverines received the free kick after the safety. Callahan then hit Koudossou from four yards out for a touchdown, increasing the lead to 16 points.
Following Jon Storck's kickoff, Sosthene Kapepula converged on BSC running back Teddre Williams for a four-yard loss, forced a fumble and then ran into the endzone from 21 yards out for Wesley's first of three defensive scores in the quarter. Aamir Petrose returned a fumble 49 yards for a score on the Panthers next possession and Dominique "Duke" Herald intercepted a pass and returned it 85 yards for a touchdown with one tick left in the first quarter.
Both teams went scoreless in the second quarter but BSC got on the board on its first possession of the third quarter. After missing the extra point, Wesley's lead was cut to 37-6 with just over ten minutes left in the third.
Virden got the call four times and responded with 43 rushing yards on Wesley's possession after giving up a score. Following an 18-yard pass to George and a six-yard run by Jackson, Callahan called his own number and ran for his first career touchdown on the ground to increase the lead to 38 points.
Birmingham-Southern was able to score on a two-yard run midway through the fourth, but the defensive scoring for Wesley story continued as Bruce Tyler intercepted a pass on the two-point conversion attempt and ran in back from in the endzone for two points.
Defensively, Wesley held BSC to just 18 rushing yards while Panthers quarterback Tyson Beacham also threw interceptions to Luke Maginnis and Julian Jones. Kapepula finished with a team-high seven tackles along with 3.5 tackles for loss, including the fumble for a touchdown while Petrose was credited with three hurries from his defensive end position. Brenton Barnes had the best game of his career with six tackles and a tackle for loss.
Wesley hosts Huntingdon (3-0) for Homecoming on Saturday, October 5, at 12 pm.