After taking a two point lead into the second half, the Bluejays lost their focus and fell to No. 11 Illinois Wesleyan 47-15 on Oct. 28 at Langhorst Field.
“What really messed us up was just focus,” said EC freshman wide receiver, Hasahn Austin. “We went into halftime thinking that it was just gonna be us leading the game the whole time, but we lost our heads.”
Austin scored the Bluejays’ first touchdown of the day when he caught a pass from junior quarterback, Orlando Hernandez, and weaved through the Titans defense on his way to the end zone from 77-yards out, making the score 9-7 EC in the second quarter.
The touchdown was Austin’s fifth of the season and second in the past two games.
EC continued their upset bid as they recovered an Illinois Wesleyan fumble on the ensuing kickoff and went ahead 15-7 after Hernandez found sophomore wide receiver, Jawan Gaines, for a 7-yard score.
“They came out [and] they played hard,” said Illinois Wesleyan quarterback Brandon Bauer. “We knew they were gonna play hard and they had a good game plan for us in the first half.”
Yet, the Titans struck back before the end of the half and made the score 15-13 Bluejays at the break.
“We just knew that we could play a lot better than we were,” said Bauer, who threw for 229 yards and completed 18 of his 25 pass attempts. “It was just a few mistakes that we were making [in the first half] and we knew that we could make some big plays.”
That is exactly what Bauer did in the second half, as the sophomore scored three of his five total touchdowns on the day after the intermission, leading Illinois Wesleyan to 34 unanswered points and a convincing victory.
Bauer’s production against EC leaves him with 1,760 passing yards and 23 total touchdowns on the season.
With one game remaining on their schedule, Illinois Wesleyan (8-1, 6-1 CCIW) controls their own destiny. The Titans have a chance to clinch a share of the CCIW championship with a victory against Millikin on Nov. 11.
“[This win] gives us a lot of momentum,” said Bauer. “But we’ve got a bye week next week. We gotta stay focused in, have good practices, and then go ahead and beat Millikin.”
As for the Bluejays (2-6, 2-4 CCIW), any hopes of a CCIW championship are long behind them at this point and they will need to search for a different form of motivation during the final two weeks of the season.
“With our seniors, this being their last year, we just wanna fight hard these last two games,” said Austin. “No matter what our record is we gotta play 110 percent and finish it out strong.”
EC lost a road game at Millikin 41-7 on Nov. 4 and will head back to Langhorst to wrap up their season against the North Central Cardinals on Nov. 11.