Titans mounts monumental comeback against Carroll

By Farah Bassyouni Sep 30, 2022

Illinois Wesleyan’s football team hosted the Carroll University Pioneers on Saturday, September 24 for their homecoming matchup. The Titans took their first CCIW win of the 2022 season in a 26-21 victory over Carroll.

The Pioneers stayed true to their name and found the end zone first on Saturday. Carroll led IWU 21-0 early in the third quarter, but Wesleyan fought their way back into the game.

After sophomore quarterback Jay Lemenager had some trouble finding success with the offense in the first half, fellow sophomore Ryan Saxe stepped in for the second half and led the Titans to victory.

Saxe boasted an impressive stat line with 17 completions on 22 attempts for 248 yards, 3 touchdowns and one interception, all coming in the second half.

Senior receiver Charlie Hamilton continued to build off of his last two weeks and finished with 12 catches totaling 153 yards and a touchdown that put IWU ahead late in the fourth quarter.

Sophomore wideout Myles Kee also made his presence known once again with six receptions for 76 yards. 

Kee found success on special teams as well with three punt returns netting 135 return yards. His longest return of 75 yards put IWU on the one-yard-line and set up a score two plays later.

The Titans offense received some much needed support on the ground this week from junior running back Seth Albin who finished with 120 rushing yards on 25 attempts. 

After being held to just 15 yards on the ground in each of the first two games of the 2022 season, Albin broke out in a big way on Saturday.

Albin gave credit to the Titans’ offensive line regarding his success. “The offensive line created a lot of openings and after a ton of preparation they were able to take advantage of Carroll’s weaknesses,” Albin said.

Regarding IWU’s big comeback, “We knew we were the better team and that the offense had to score for the team to get rolling. Our defense was playing hard and the offense had to put points up on the board to help them out. We stayed calm and composed and knew we had to keep attacking and playing at a fast tempo,” Albin said.

Wesleyan’s defense stepped up big during the comeback, forcing three turnovers on downs and four punts on Carroll’s last seven drives of the game.

On Saturday, October 1, the Titans will look to continue their early season success as they host the Millikin University Big Blue. 

“There are a lot of things that still need to be fixed but with three games under our belts there won’t be as many mistakes in the next games. The team is confident playing Millikin at home and we’re all excited to keep the momentum rolling,” Albin said.

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