Wheaton, Ill. - The Thunder football team defeated Illinois Wesleyan 24-10 in a battle of nationally ranked teams on Saturday night under rainy conditions at McCully Stadium. The Titans (0-2, 0-1 CCIW) entered the game ranked 18th in this week's D3football.com Top-25 poll and Wheaton is ranked 17th in the same poll. Wheaton improves to 2-0 overall and 1-0 in CCIW play.
The Thunder tallied 413 yards of offense tonight with 239 rushing yards and 174 passing yards. The Wheaton defense held the Titans' offense to 151 yards, with 112 passing yards and just 39 yards on the ground.
Wheaton running back T.J. Williams ran for 166 yards on 29 carries. Williams averaged 5.7 yards per carry with one touchdown run. He also caught three passes for 64 yards with one touchdown reception. Phillip Nichols caught six passes for 51 yards and Adam Terrini tallied three receptions for 41 yards.
Starting quarterback Luke Anthony completed 13 of his 18 passing attempts for 151 yards. Spencer Peterson completed two of his three passing attempts for 23 yards, with one touchdown pass.
Ryan Schwartz tallied a team-high 11 total tackles, including eight solo stops to lead the Thunder defense. Daniel Herber recorded eight total tackles and Wyatt Lee made six total tackles. Spencer Rowland and Dallas McRae each made five total tackles. McRae and Patrick O'Connell each registered a quarterback sack for the Thunder.
The Titans struck first tonight, as the guests recovered a Wheaton fumble at the IWU 31-yard line early in the first quarter. Illinois Wesleyan put together a 10-play drive of 62 yards following the fumble recovery. The Titans' scoring drive culminated with a six-yard touchdown run by Hamid Bullie and the Titans converted the PAT attempt to take a 7-0 lead with 7:55 remaining in the first quarter. Wheaton's first points on the scoreboard came from a 26-yard Griffin Bowes field goal with the 3:51 left in the first quarter to trim the Titans' lead to 7-3. Bowes' kick capped an 11-play drive of 57 yards.
Thunder running back T.J. Williams reached the end zone on a nine-yard touchdown run with 11:05 left in the second quarter to give the Thunder its first lead at 10-7. Williams' touchdown concluded an 11-play drive of 64 yards for the hosts. Williams scored on Wheaton's next drive as he increased the Thunder lead to 17-7 with 8:34 remaining in the second quarter. Spencer Peterson's 18-yard touchdown pass to Williams capped a three-play drive of 44 yards. Illinois Wesleyan kicked a 34-yard field goal with 3:33 left in the first half to trim Wheaton's lead to 17-10. The Thunder maintained the 17-10 advantage at the halftime intermission.
The lone score in the second half was a nine-yard touchdown run by Peterson with 1:41 remaining in the third quarter. Peterson's run capped a five-play drive of 51 yards to increase the Wheaton advantage to 24-10.