MT. PLEASANT, Iowa - After falling behind early, Westminster football came back to earn a dominating win over Iowa Wesleyan, starting conference play 1-0.
The Blue Jays are now 1-2 overall and 1-0 in the Upper Midwest Athletic Conference.
With the win, Westminster Head Coach John Welty records his 100th win at Westminster.
"I'm really proud of the way these guys played today," said Westminster Head Coach John Welty. "We had a crazy week and some last-minute changes and it took us awhile to adjust, but we handled it."
After a slow start which included a quick three and out from the Blue Jay offense and a mishandled snap, the Tigers scored their lone touchdown after recovering the snap on the Westminster three-yard line, scoring on just one play.
Both sides of the ball recovered after the wake-up call that was the first quarter, with Westminster getting on the board and tying the game with 9:38 left in the half. DeQuintin Smith scored his first college touchdown on a five-yard run. The drive lasted 13 plays over the course of 7:25, spanning a full 80 yards of the field.
"DQ played great today," said Welty. "It was his time to shine today and he responded and showed us his character. DQ makes us better."
The Blue Jays pulled ahead with another touchdown to end the half, scoring with just 27 seconds on the clock. A seven-yard pass from Wyatt Elis to Travion Mosby, the fourth connection between the two so far this season, gave Westminster the 14-7 lead going into halftime. The drive included a 27-yard pass from Wyatt to Mosby and spanned 63 yards.
The Blue Jays picked up where they left off in the opening drive of the third quarter, dominated by Ellis' rushing game. After a 29-yard scramble where Ellis found space to run, Westminster found themselves at the Iowa Wesleyan 6 yard line. Ellis ran the ball in for his first rushing touchdown of the game to push the score to 21-7.
Westminster started to pull away and make a statement with their fourth touchdown of the game at the 7:22 mark of the third quarter, a pick-six from Logan Decker, putting Westminster up 28-7.
"We played great defense," said Welty. "We couldn't have started worse, but we survived their initial surge and put in a great effort the rest of the game. We kept punching and fighting and came out on top."
The final Blue Jay touchdown came at the beginning of the fourth quarter on a drive the began in the third. After completions to Mosby and Dylan Clapsaddle, Ellis ran the ball in for his second rushing touchdown of the day to drive the win home at 35-7.
Ellis went 19-33 passing for 142 yards, including one touchdown. He also ran for 68 yards and two touchdowns. DQ Smith led the squad in rushing yards with 137 on 31 carries. Mosby led the receivers with 11 catches for 101 yards and a touchdown.
The lockdown defense was led by Decker, who recorded six solo tackles along with the interception and 20-yard return. Kobe Kaminski added two sacks while Justin Scales had 2.5 tackles for a loss of six yards.
Westminster returns home to Blue Jay Stadium Saturday, Sept. 28, to face UMAC opponent St. Scholastica. Kickoff is set for 12 p.m.