The Carthage College football team (3-3, 1-2 College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin) lost to CCIW-opponent and No. 14 Illinois Wesleyan University (6-0, 3-0 CCIW), 45-7, on Saturday, Oct. 13 at Wilder Field at Tucci Stadium in Bloomington, Ill.
Michael Kelly's 23-yard field goal at 9:53 first period gave Illinois Wesleyan a 3-0 lead. A Carthage fumble by starting quarterback Jonny Brewster at his own 15-yard line, the second Red Men fumble in the first period, set up a Titan touchdown at 2:01, an eight-yard carry by T.J. Stinde. A 49-yard touchdown carry by the Titans' Alex Garvey at 12:14 second period upped Illinois Wesleyan's lead to 17-0.
A 77-yard punt return by Tyrell Bolden late in the half set up another IWU touchdown, a three-yard rush by Sean Conley at 1:08 to put the Titans up, 24-0, at halftime. Illinois Wesleyan increased its lead to 31-0 at 6:50 third period on a 14-yard TD pass from Rob Gallik to Tate Musselman. One minute later, on the next Carthage drive, Red Men quarterback A.J. Simoncelli fumbled, the team's third turnover of the game. Illinois Wesleyan's Mike Kraft recovered and ran the ball in 22 yards for a touchdown and a 38-0 lead. In the fourth quarter, Tyrell Bolden scored on a 71-yard rush to put the Titans up by a 45-0 margin at 13:24.
Carthage had a chance to score late at 3:37 fourth period, but Brett Bukari's 24-yard field goal attempt was blocked. The Red Men finally got on the scoreboard with 14.6 seconds remaining on an 18-yard touchdown pass from A.J. Simoncelli to Nick Gremley for the final, 45-7 score.
Illinois Wesleyan rolled up 337 total offensive yards, 147 yards rushing and 190 yards passing, while Carthage collected 255 total yards, 84 on the ground and 171 in the air. Titan quarterback Rob Gallik completed 16-of-26 passes for 181 yards and two touchdowns. Alex Garvey caught four passes for 84 yards, with Tyrell Bolden rushing for 79 yards on four carries. Carthage's A.J. Simoncelli (Fr., Downers Grove, Ill./South) completed 12-of-18 passes for 150 yards, with running back Reggie Miller (Jr., Downers Grove, Ill./South) catching seven passes for 28 yards. Free safety Alex Vitkauskas (Sr., Tinley Park, Ill./Chicago-St. Rita) collected a game-high nine tackles (8 solo, 1 assisted).
"We're disappointed," said Carthage coach Tim Rucks "If you're not going to win, you at least want to compete more than we did today. I thought we should have competed better today. Illinois Wesleyan probably has a better team than we do, but our competitive edge was not there today, and that's my responsibility—I'm the head coach. We were flat from the beginning and never got the fire that we needed. We had a hard time blocking up-front the first half, and we kept dropping the football. As a result, we just couldn't get anything going. Then we got into kind of quarterback roulette, looking for somebody to give us a spark. We're young, and we have some guys who just don't quite get it yet, and that includes preparation during the week and game-day preparation. That's our job to teach that and the responsibility of our juniors and seniors to instill that on the rest of the team. We need to right the ship."
Carthage plays host to CCIW-opponent and No. 10 North Central College (5-1, 3-0 CCIW) on Saturday, Oct. 20 in a 6 p.m. game at Art Keller Field in Kenosha, Wis.