Titans unable to keep up with nationally-ranked North Central College

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Sam LaLonde

 

Saturday’s return of first-year quarterback Jack Warner wasn’t enough to save the Titans from dropping their third straight game, this time to the Cardinals of North Central College. After going down 21-0 early in the game, Illinois Wesleyan University was unable to overcome the large deficit despite a strong effort after falling behind. This loss drops the Titans to 3-5 overall and 1-4 in the CCIW.

Warner did his best to help his team recover, leading two scoring drives before the half and altering the momentum towards IWU going into half. This momentum carried into the early part of the second half when Warner connected with junior wide receiver Artie Checchin for a 71-yard touchdown pass.

Tight end Quincy Butler had a strong performance for the Titans, with five catches for 43 yards, which included the Titans’ first touchdown of the game on a seven-yard touchdown reception from Jack Warner.

The Titan defense was unable to stop the high-powered North Central offense from start to finish. The Cardinals scored on nearly all of their possessions, which added up to 45 points in total.  North Central accounted for 454 total yards on offense, which trumped IWU’s 340 yards. Connor Klein and Sean Garvey led the IWU defense with 11 tackles each. Klein and Will James each had a sack, combining for -17 yards against the Cardinals.

Once again, some familiar faces had a big impact on the game for the Titans. Artie Checchin earned CCIW Special Teams Player of the Week honors after racking up 92 yards on five kickoff returns. While this is a great accomplishment, it may concern Titan fans that Checchin had five opportunities to receive kickoffs, which means North Central scored at least as many times.

To go along with his big game on special teams, Checchin accounted for 92 receiving yards on 4 catches. Quarterback Jack Warner completed 17 of 27 passing attempts for 267 yards, accompanied by a team-high 53 rushing yards. Once again, the Titans struggled to get the running game going, this time against the number 23 ranked team in the nation.

“North Central was a very good side. I thought we played well against them for parts of the game and other parts we were unable to keep up.  Hopefully we can learn from this and come out victorious next week,” said sophomore wide receiver Austin Wagner.

The next game for the Titans will be against conference and national powerhouse Wheaton College. Wheaton comes in with an overall record of 8-0 and 5-0 in conference. The Thunder are ranked 11 and 13 in two separate college football polls. The game will kick off at 1:00 p.m. in Wheaton, Ill.