Week one brought us an exciting start to the football season as the Illinois Wesleyan University Titans were able to secure the victory in the home opener against Franklin College. Solid performances from a first-year quarterback and a well-known defense assured the Titan faithful that this year’s squad came in prepared and focused. Now, it was time for the Titans to prove that they can sustain the same level of performance from week to week.
While it is possible that the hype and excitement surrounding the Titans’ home opener against the Grizzlies of Franklin College lifted them to victory, the team set out in week two to prove that they could get the job done on the road. Though the stats were not as glamorous in this weekend’s game, the Titans displayed something that does not show up on paper: resiliency. A quick glance at Saturday’s stat sheet might suggest a misleading outcome to most people. The Britons of Albion College led in a couple key categories, including first downs, total yards and rushing yards on their way to accumulating 477 total yards to IWU’s 364. In most cases, a team facing this type of adversity would quickly lose focus and go down without a fight. This was not the case for IWU on Saturday. In the 1,000th game in Illinois Wesleyan football history, the Titans improved to an undefeated 2-0 on the season.
Senior defensive back Tyrell Bolden played inspired football, claiming two of three interceptions for the Titans defense on the afternoon. Senior defensive linemen Will James made the play of the game when he recovered a fumble and ran 88 yards for the touchdown giving the Titans a 35-21 lead. On the offensive end, first-year quarterback Jack Warner once again played like a veteran, completing 19 of 28 attempts for 305 yards and three touchdowns. Warner partnered again with junior wide receivers Frenando Lozano and Artie Checchin who had 84 and 74 yards, respectively. Junior running back Anfernee Roberts was shut down on the afternoon amassing only 22 yards on 17 carries. Fortunately, they were able to expose the Britons with other assets.“Their defensive line was very good, which made it tough to get the running game going. I think the win showed our depth and ability to make big plays defensively when necessary,” said sophomore linebacker Adam O’Grady.
In the coming weeks, Saturday’s game will serve as a reminder that the grind will not always be easy or glamorous. It will take will and determination to battle through every week and find a way to be successful. While a strong start is an integral part of a successful season, each week poses a new challenge. With the hype of week one gone, and the test of week two passed, the race has just begun. The Titans will look to maintain their stride against Simpson College in Indianola, Iowa at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, September 20. Live streaming can be found on the IWU Athletics website.