St. Paul, MN, 10/23/21 – The Westminster College football team made the long trek to St. Paul, Minnesota to take on the University of Northwestern Eagles. The Blue Jays were looking to get back in the win column for the first time since it's season opener. Early results were positive as the Blue Jays would take a 14-7 lead into the second quarter. The Eagles would score three touchdowns to close the second quarter to take a 28-14 halftime lead on their way to a 45-28 win over the Blue Jays. The loss dropped the Blue Jays to 1-4 overall and 0-3 in the UMAC. Northwestern improves to 2-5 overall and
2-1 in the UMAC.
The Eagles got on the board first with the help of a Blue Jay turnover. The Eagles forced a fumble and recovered the ball in the red zone and six plays later they ran it in for a 7-0 lead. The Blue Jays would answer on their next drive. Wyatt Ellis (Owensville, Mo. / Owensville) would find Trey King (Fort Worth, TX / Richland) for a 47-yard touchdown pass. A bad snap on the extra point led to an unsuccessful two-point attempt so the Eagles still had the lead at 7-6. The Blue Jay defense would hold the Eagles on their next possession and force a punt. The Blue Jays would then embark on a 12 play 78-yard drive that would stretch into the second quarter and culminate in another Ellis touchdown pass. This one would cover 11 yards to wide receiver Ross Trittler (Hartsburg, Mo. / Southern Boone). Ellis would then run for the two-point conversion to put the Blue Jays on top 14-7. The defense would stop the Eagles and the Blue Jays looked like they were poised to extend their lead.
The Eagles would hold the Jays and that is when disaster struck. A missed blocking assignment led to Tim Branneky's (St. Louis, Mo. / Lutheran High School North) punt getting blocked and 38 yards later the Eagles returned the block for a touchdown to tie the score at 14-14. The Eagles would then hold the Blue Jays to a three and out backing them up to their own 18-yard line. The Eagles would then return the punt into Blue Jay territory to start their drive. Five plays and 44 yards later the Eagles would take the lead back for good at 21-14. The next possession ended again with a blocked punt that the Eagles would return for a touchdown and a 28-14 lead. Westminster cornerback Robert Anthony (Herrin, IL / Herrin) would save the Blue Jays when he intercepted an Eagles pass in the endzone as halftime would mercifully arrive for the Blue Jays.
The Eagles would strike first in the third quarter on a touchdown pass on their first possession of the second half to stretch their lead to 35-14. The Blue Jays would score again late in the third quarter on Ellis's third touchdown pass of the day a 24 yarder to Peyton James (Springfield, Mo. / Springfield Catholic) to cut the Eagle lead to 35-21. A 32-yard field goal and another touchdown by the Eagles in the fourth quarter made the score 45-21. The Blue Jays and Ellis would have one more drive in them late in the fourth quarter when Ellis's fourth touchdown pass, this one to freshman Logen Walker (Mountain Home, AR / Mountain Home), that made for the final score of 45-28.
The Blue Jays seemed to lead the Eagles in many statistical categories except for the final score. The Blue Jays outgained the Eagles 370 yards to 313. The Jays had 18 first downs compared to the Eagle's 16. Time of possession was virtually the same for both teams. The two blocked punts returned for touchdowns turned the tide against the Blue Jays.
Ellis would finish the game 16-27 for 248 yards with four touchdown passes and no interceptions. Senior running back Ben Wallace (Chicago, Il. / Thornton Fractional South) would lead the Blue Jay rushing attack with 53 yards on 11 carries. The Blue Jays leading rusher Taylor Dobbins (Laurie, Mo. / Versailles) was held to 34 yards on nine carries. King led the Blue Jay receiving corps with two catches for 74 yards and a touchdown.
On the defensive side of the ball freshman linebacker Cameron Offermann (Cedar Hill, MO / Luther South) had a career day recording 16 tackles, six solo and ten assisted tackles, to go along with a half sack, a tackle for a loss and a forced fumble. Cornerback Easton Hanks (Ozark, Mo. / Ozark) would lead the team with two passes broken up. Cole Amelunke (Jackson, Mo. / Jackson) led the team with two sacks.
The Blue Jays will return to action at home next Saturday when they will look to get back on track in this years Homecoming Game. The Blue Jays will welcome the Lions from Finlandia University to Kent and Judith Mueller Field for a 12:00 p.m. kickoff on Saturday Qctober 30th.