Schmidt '20 sets football team record for career receptions in loss

Joe Schmidt '20 (Josh McKee photo)
Joe Schmidt '20 (Josh McKee photo)

Wesleyan University's Ashton Scott threw three touchdown passes and racked up 252 yards of total offense in the Cardinals' 28-10 NESCAC win against the Hamilton College Continentals at Hamilton's Steuben Field on a summer-like Saturday afternoon.

The Continentals (1-1 NESCAC) held a 350-323 advantage in total yards and held the ball for nearly 34 minutes but turned the ball over four times. Hamilton hosts winless Colby College on Saturday, Sept. 28 at noon during Fallcoming and Family Weekend.

Wesleyan (2-0) scored half its points off turnovers and sacked the quarterback four times. The Cardinals look to remain undefeated next Saturday when they host Bates College at 1 p.m.

Joe Schmidt '20 owns the Continentals' career record for most receptions with 147 after he made nine catches for 89 yards. Schmidt started the day tied with Joe Rinaldo '08 for the all-time mark with 138. David Kagan '20 had another big day with 94 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries, and he added 46 receiving yards on seven catches. Kagan leads the conference with 144.5 rushing yards per game. Kenny Gray '20 was 20 of 34 passing for 174 yards but was picked off three times.

Christian Snell '22 led Hamilton's defense with eight tackles, Luca Katz '21 recorded his second career sack and Justin Leigh '20 returned his fifth career interception 21 yards. Billy Wagner '20 placed three of his five punts inside Wesleyan's 20-yard line and averaged 44.2 yards per punt.

Scott was 10 of 16 for 170 yards and ran 21 times for 82 yards. Connor Gregoire's only two receptions went for touchdowns and Joe Scancarella led the Cardinals with 60 receiving yards and had the other TD catch.

Chase Pratt and Jackson Eighmy were credited with eight tackles apiece and Eighmy added a sack for Wesleyan. Nick Helbig and Nick Livingston posted 1.5 sacks apiece. Ben Thaw, Sam Kirk, Isaiah Miller and John Lewis II had interceptions. Mason Von Jess neutralized all-NESCAC kick returner Sam Robinson '20 as four of his five kickoffs went for touchbacks.

The turning point came on the Cardinals' first possession of the fourth quarter. Scott capped an eight-play, 80-yard drive with a 7-yard scoring toss to Gregoire. Von Jess' extra-point gave Wesleyan a 21-10 cushion with 11:39 left in the fourth quarter. The key play was a 30-yard pass to Scancarella on first-and-20 plus a 15-yard personal foul face mask penalty on the Continentals that put the ball at the Hamilton 21.

The Continentals punted on their next possession and Lewis II intercepted Gray at the Cardinals 3-yard line with 2:51 remaining. Thaw's 31-yard interception return for a touchdown with 2:08 to go clinched the victory for Wesleyan.

The Cardinals grabbed a 7-0 lead late in the first quarter after Kirk intercepted Gray at the Wesleyan 40 and returned it 9 yards before fumbling, but Will Kearney bailed out Kirk by recovering the fumble at the 50-yard line. Five plays later, Scott found Scancarella for a 30-yard touchdown pass as Scancarella made a diving catch near the goal line with 53.9 seconds left.

A 21-yard interception return by Hamilton's Leigh to the Wesleyan 40 set up the Continentals' first points. Gray found Schmidt for 16 yards on third-and-six to the Cardinals 20 and Sam Thoreen '22 nailed a 29-yard field goal with 21 seconds to go. A Von Jess 53-yard field goal attempt came up short as the first half expired.

Wesleyan took an 11-point lead at 14-3 on a 6-yard scoring toss from Scott to Gregoire and PAT by Von Jess with 6:21 left in the third quarter. A 34-yard completion to Matthew Simco to the Hamilton 22 put the Cardinals in position.

The Continentals answered on their next drive. A 54-yard catch-and-run by Schmidt was wiped out by an offensive holding penalty but it didn't matter. Two plays later on third-and-19, Gray heaved the ball deep downfield and Schmidt somehow came down with a 44-yard reception at the Wesleyan 40. Kagan took over from there by gaining 28 yards on the ground including a 9-yard run off right tackle and into the end zone. Thoreen's extra point made it 14-10 with 11 seconds remaining in the third. Kagan has four rushing touchdowns already this season.