Football loses to Cardinals but shows flashes of hope

At a glance, the 30-10 scoreline of this weekend’s opening football game is a concerning start to the season, but Colby showed flashes of hope against the Wesleyan Cardinals. Captain Chris George ‘20 ran for 104 yards on 18 carries for the Mules while Matt Hersch ‘22 threw for 244 yards, 104 of which were caught by Rory Glavin ‘21. With young leadership from Hersch and George’s final year running the ball, Colby’s mix of experience could push them from a mid-table NESCAC team towards the top. 

Colby began with a promising start after receiving the ball and taking it down 66 yards well into Wesleyan’s red zone. Faced with a fourth down on the six yard line, the Mules took the chance and failed to convert. Instead of a 3-0 lead from what could have been a chip shot field goal, the Cardinals marched 91 yards to strike first with a 50 yard bomb from Ashton Scott ‘22 to Delando Clarke ‘21 down the right sideline to make it 7-0. 

Wesleyan continued to dominate the Mules, forcing a 3-and-out on Colby’s next drive before settling for a 31 yard field goal from Mason Von Jess ‘23, who would finish with three field goals and three extra points to complete a perfect debut victory. With seven and a half minutes until halftime, the Cardinals were up 20-0 before Hersch was able to connect with tight end Pat Sweetnam ‘22 for Colby’s first points.

Going into the second half, the Mules were only down two scores, yet a comeback never even seemed possible. The Cardinals were in complete control of the game, holding Colby to just three points in the second half, forcing turnovers and playing shrewd defense. While Colby seemed to fix some issues in the second half, only giving up ten points to the first half ’s 20, there is a lot of improvement to make.

Colby was plagued by turnovers, giving over the ball four times with two fumbles and two interceptions. The Cardinals were often able to convert the favorable field position into points on the board. Wesleyan had a 32:08 time of possession to Colby’s 27:52 and also edged out Colby’s 17 first downs with 23 of their own. The Cardinal’s offense ran with efficiency and confidence, while Colby’s seemed to

end in punts or turnovers far too often.

Herch’s 22-40 for 244 yards, one touch down and two interceptions statline leave room for improvement, but averaging over ten yards per completion

tells he is not afraid to air the ball out and let his playmakers run under it. With the entire season still to come, the Mules should be able to clean up their play and seriously threaten some of the bigger NESCAC teams.

Next weekend’s home opener will be another challenge for the Mules. Amherst finished last season 8-1, including a 35-9 pounding against Colby. The Mammoths started off their season with a 27-13 win over Bates that was far closer than it should have been. The Mules could pull off the upset with near perfect play, but it will certainly be a challenge.

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