Titans take out Bluejays in first dub of the season

Emily Thompson

Photo: Kodiak Creative, IWU Sports

Illinois Wesleyan football picked up their first win of the 2021 season during this weekend’s Homecoming game. IWU took on the Elmhurst University Bluejays and came out with a massive win of 52-3. This victory brings IWU to 1-2 in CCIW faceoffs and dropped Elmhurst to 0-4. 


The Titans made it onto the board less than 20 seconds into the first quarter when sophomore running back Seth Albin ran a 90-yard touchdown off of the opening kickoff. 


Defensively, freshman Josh Hlavacek and sophomore Connor Nigro both led the first quarter with a three-and-out for the Titans.


“After the last few games, I really thought we were going to get smoked. Instead, we set the fire and totally crushed them,” said junior Isabella Parish after the game.


Senior wide receiver Wesley Watson and freshman wide receiver Jonas Capek led a 57-yard drive. Senior running back Hamid Bullie finished out the eight-play with a 19-yard stretch into the endzone, bringing the Titans to a 14-0 lead within minutes.


Elmhurst managed one field goal, bringing the score to 14-3 by the end of the first quarter, but stayed stagnant for the remainder of the game while IWU maintained their lead. 


The Titans kept the energy up as they headed into the second quarter, starting with a 21-yard first down by Albin. Bullie followed close behind with a 46-yard reception, bringing Wesleyan a first-and-goal from the two-yard line. 


Albin ran his second touchdown of the day with 14:56 left on the clock, bringing the game total to 21-3. Senior running back Anthony Marre landed a 34-yard touchdown pass to sophomore quarterback Sage Schindler, adding another seven for the Titans. 


Junior Conor Murphy and senior Zach McNees recorded a fourth-down sack, allowing the Titans to ride into halftime on offense. The Titans took back the ball with only minutes left in the quarter. 


Capek finished a 15-yard reception and was followed by sophomore Charlie Hamilton with a 13-yard catch. As the buzzer rang, junior kicker Andrew Stange sunk a 44-yard field goal to solidify IWU’s 31-3 lead.


After a halftime performance from Illinois Wesleyan’s cheerleading and dance teams, the Titans kept up the heat. Bullie, Marre, and Albin led the quarter. Bullie added a 52-yard rushing touchdown, followed by Marre’s 22-yard sprint into the endzone. Another seven points were piled on by Albin, who dashed 67 yards for a final touchdown. 


The fourth quarter didn’t provide any more points for the Titans, but they kept the Bluejays out of their territory. Elmhurst fell flat, ending the game at 52-3 for a Titan victory. 


“I felt like our community at Wesleyan came together and really had a good time at the homecoming game,” said sophomore cheerleader Mati Thompson, “It was really nice to watch sports again after a long year without them.”


Overall, Illinois Wesleyan led with 422 total offensive yards to Elmhurst’s 104. Schindler went 11-for-14 on 149 yards, while senior quarterback Caleb Robinson went 4-for-5 for 46. Hamilton led the receivers with three grabs out of the total 11. 


The Titans ran 109 yards on the ground with Albin’s five carries making up 94 of them. Bullie followed suit, totalling 85 yards over 12 carries. Both running backs added two scores apiece. 


Defense set a new season-high eight takedowns against the Bluejays. Senior Skyler Metzger dominated the field with a career-high 14 stops, 3.5 tackles for loss, and 1.5 sacks. Murphy added another three tackles for loss out of five, 2.5 sacks, three hurries, and a forced fumble. 


This game also caught the attention of the College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin. Stange was named the CCIW Special Teams Player of the Week following his 7-for-7 PAT during the Elmhurst game. Stange’s 44-yard field goal also sets the new CCIW record for the longest score this season. Stange is the first Titan football player to bring home this award since 2019. 


Illinois Wesleyan football will have a chance to bring the heat again on Saturday, October 9 when they take on the Washington University Bears in St. Louis, Mo. Kickoff will take place at 1:00 p.m.