Wesleyan won a little title, and now is setting its sights on a big one.
The Cardinals ended a 43-year drought by claiming the Little Three championship with a 16-14 win over Williams in Middletown, Conn., Saturday afternoon. But more importantly, the NESCAC championship is within their grasp.
The Little Three title goes to the winner of the season series between Wesleyan, Amherst, and Williams. Wesleyan beat Amherst, 20-14, two weeks ago, and Saturday’s win was the team’s first over Williams since 1999, a string of 13 games.
Now 7-0 for the first time since going undefeated in 1969, Wesleyan will travel to Trinity next Saturday guaranteed to have at least a share of the NESCAC title and with a shot to win it outright. Trinity has won 50 straight home games.
Wesleyan held a 13-0 edge in the third period, but was clinging to a 16-14 advantage with less than three minutes left. Williams quarterback Mark Pomella threw a wild pass that was picked off by Jake Bussani, and the Cardinals ran out the clock.
Wesleyan got three field goals from Sebastian Aguirre and a 4-yard touchdown run by LaDarius Drew.
Amherst 17, Trinity 16 — Max Lippe ran for a touchdown and threw for another, and the Lord Jeffs defense withstood a late charge from the visiting Bantams to clinch a huge win.
Amherst (6-1) can still clinch a share of the NESCAC championship next weekend with a win at Williams and a Wesleyan loss.
Trinity (5-2) will not factor into the title picture, but can still impact it.
Middlebury 40, Hamilton 13 — McCallum Foote completed 25 of 29 passes for 332 yards and five touchdowns, despite playing just one possession into the second half, and the host Panthers (6-1) beat the Continentals (0-7) for the 18th straight season.
William Sadik-Khan had eight receptions for 124 yards and three touchdowns. Middlebury plays for a potential share of the NESCAC title at Tufts next Saturday.
Colby 37, Tufts 0 — In Waterville, Maine, Mules quarterback Justin Ciero accounted for 356 total yards and three touchdowns and Luke Duncklee had 12 receptions for 162 yards and two scores as the Jumbos suffered their 30th straight loss.
Colby (4-3 NESCAC) can win the Colby-Bates-Bowdoin title with a victory at Bowdoin next Saturday.
Bates 17, Bowdoin 10 — Linebacker Joey Cleary, the NESCAC’s leading tackler, made 19 wrapups as the host Bobcats (3-7) dropped the Polar Bears (2-5).
Bowdoin’s Zach Donnarumma ran for 108 yards, becoming the fifth player at the school to surpass 2,000 in career.
Old Dominion 66, Rhode Island 14 — Taylor Heinicke passed for 293 yards and six touchdowns and Colby Goodwyn became the school’s all-time leading rusher with 76 yards (1,490 total) to lead the Monarchs (6-3) to a home blowout of the Rams (3-7, 2-4 Colonial Athletic).
Bob Bentsen put the Rams on the scoreboard with a 41-yard TD throw to Ross Kim, then again with a 16-yarder to Robbie Jackson.
William & Mary 17, New Hampshire 0 — In Williamsburg, Va., the Tribe (6-3, 3-2 CAA) scored two touchdowns off turnovers in blanking the 17th-ranked Wildcats (4-4, 3-2). Brent Caprio threw for 241 yards and a touchdown in a 14-for-24 performance.
Fordham 32, Holy Cross 30 — In New York, Mike Nebrich threw for a school-record 524 yards to lead the No. 8 Rams (9-0) to a come-from-behind win over the Crusaders (3-7, 1-3 Patriot).
Trailing, 23-7, in the second quarter, Fordham, which also amassed a school-record 700 total yards, took a 9-point lead. Holy Cross tightened the gap on a Peter Pujals-to-Nate Stanley pass to trail by 2 with 1:39 remaining. The ensuing onside kick failed.
Fordham is ineligible this year for the Patriot League title.
Maine 19, Stony Brook 14 — A hobbled Marcus Wasilewski threw a 24-yard touchdown pass to John Ebeling with 5:27 left, pushing the 11th-ranked Black Bears past the Seawolves (3-5, 1-4 CAA) in Orono.
Wasilewski injured his leg in the fourth quarter but returned to lead the winning drive, connecting on 5 of 6 passes, with the last two covering 56 yards to Ebeling.
Wasilewski was 15 of 24 for 188 yards. The Black Bears are 8-1 for the first time since 2002 and the only unbeaten team in conference play (5-0).
Central Conn. 52, Wagner 17 — Rob Hollomon scored four touchdowns on 147 yards rushing and the Blue Devils (4-5, 2-1 Northeast) posted four touchdowns in the fourth quarter to pull away from host Seahawks (2-7, 1-4).
Sacred Heart 24, Monmouth 21 — Quarterback RJ Noel threw for a touchdown and ran for another, and the Pioneers (8-2) held off a late charge from the Hawks (4-5) in Fairfield, Conn.
Robert Morris 24, Bryant 3 — Duane Mitchell hauled in three touchdown passes from Paul Jones to lead the Colonials (4-4, 2-1 NEC) over the visiting Bulldogs (4-5, 2-2), who got 131 yards rushing from Mike Westerhaus.
AIC 43, New Haven 34 — In a battle for first in the Northeast-10 Conference, the Yellow Jackets (7-2, 7-1) came back from an 18-point deficit and got 166 rushing yards and two touchdowns from Kevin Arduino in a road win over the Chargers (6-3, 6-2).
New Haven defeated AIC in last season’s inaugural NE-10 title game. Stonehill is tied atop the conference with the Yellow Jackets, who hold the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Skyhawks.
Stonehill 42, Pace 14 — The Skyhawks will play for the first NE-10 championship in program history after beating the Setters (0-9, 0-8) at home.
Stonehill (7-2, 7-1) can capture at least a share of the regular-season championship with a win in next Saturday at Merrimack.
Merrimack 31, Assumption 21 — Joe Clancy threw for 358 yards and four touchdowns on 33-of-52 passing, pacing the visiting Warriors (6-3, 5-3 NE-10) past the Greyhounds (5-4, 5-3).
Bentley 24, Southern Conn. 19 — Senior quarterback Danny Guadagnoli accounted for three touchdowns, including a pair of scoring passes to junior Jeff Hill, and the defense came up with two late takeaways as the Falcons (5-4, 4-4 NE-10) scored a home win over the Owls (3-6, 3-5).
Framingham State 58, Mass. Maritime 12 — The Rams (7-1, 6-0) clinched at least a share of the inaugural MASCAC championship with a thrashing of the Buccaneers (4-4, 2-4). Matt Silva threw for 308 yards and Melikke Van Alstyne ran for 228 more as the hosts put up a school-record 658 yards of offense.
Western Conn. 35, UMass-Dartmouth 12 — Octavias McKoy followed his record-breaking performance with a 23-carry, 123-yard, two-touchdown day, but the visiting Colonials (6-2, 5-2) still picked up the MASCAC win in beating the Corsairs (3-5, 3-4). McKoy set the NCAA rushing record last weekend with 455 yards.
Salve Regina 42, Maine Maritime 8 — The Seahawks (6-2, 5-0) stayed perfect in NEFC action after trampling the host Mariners (1-6, 1-4) behind Steven Wilken’s 347 passing yards and four touchdowns.
Endicott 52, MIT 21 — Drew Frenette threw for 268 yards and three touchdowns, Spencer Walsh tacked on 173 rushing yards and three touchdowns, and the Gulls (6-2, 5-0 NEFC) racked up 528 yards on the Engineers (4-3, 2-3).
Western N.E. 38, Curry 27 — John Krafick threw for 319 yards and two touchdowns as the Golden Bears (3-5, 2-3 NEFC) rolled by the Colonels (2-5, 2-3) in Springfield.
Gallaudet 40, Becker 34 — Senior Ryan Bonheyo returned a blocked field goal 79 yards for a touchdown as time expired, keeping Gallaudet perfect (8-0, 5-0 ECFC) at the expense of the Hawks (1-7, 0-5) in Leicester.
Husson 39, N.Y. Maritime 17 — Ryan Dorso ran for two touchdowns to lead the Hawks (5-3, 4-1 ECFC) over the Privateers (3-5, 3-2) in Bangor, Maine.
Norwich 38, Mount Ida 19 — In Newton, running back Al Georgio ran for four touchdowns and 130 yards, leading the Cadets (5-3, 4-1 ECFC) over the Mustangs (4-4, 3-2).