Head Coach Jeff Thorne and his 7-1 North Central Cardinals getting ready to host the Illinois Wesleyan Titans on senior day. That guy, Broc Rutter, he’s playing his final regular season home game and gets in a little dance in during warm ups. Johnny DiCanio manning the quarterback position with the Titans sitting 5-3. But first – flowers and families inside Benedetti-Werhli Stadium.
Titans getting the ball first and immediately putting the Cardinals on their heels. DiCanio aiming deep and finding Wesley Watson on a gain of 33 yards.
Now in the red zone, the Titans looking to jump on the scoreboard first but Tommy Tommy Hyland gets pressure on DiCanio – he has to throw it away on third down. Wesleyan misses the field goal.
So, it’s a clean slate as the Cardinal offense takes the field and… wait? Who is that running wild in the middle of the field? It’s Rutter! The man with 38 passing touchdowns coming in… runs free for 60 on North Central’s first offensive play.
Ending the drive, on 4th and 1, the Cardinals elect to throw as Rutter finds Tyler Egan on the quick strike. North Central has now scored on its opening possession in all 9 games this season.
Following a three and out, Rutter going to the air… 15th touchdown catch of the season for Kamienski
After getting the ball back on a recover on the ensuing kickoff, NCC calling on Magnus Meyer for the field goal – and it’s a 17-0 game.
Illinois Weselyan hasn’t beaten North Central since 2009… and DiCanio, trying to bring his team back from the early deficit. He finds Watson again – and they’re in business to start the second quarter.
Capping the drive, DiCanio lofts it to the corner – and Jack Healy makes the grab and tucks himself in the back of the end zone. Just like that, it’s 17-6.
Next drive for North Central and, wait a second, what is going on??? Rutter again sprinting and juking his way up field – it’s like he’s turned into Lamar Jackson overnight!
The touchdown throw to end the possession – much shorter than the run. A one yard toss on the slant to Kamienski. As Rutter’s favorite target ties the program record for touchdowns in a single season.
Defense again forcing a three and out, setting up this…
Wesleyan responding though, as Bryce Dooley stretch out for the end zone… and he’s in from 4 yards out. 2 point conversion is good. 31-14 in the second quarter.
Cardinal offense forced off the field on the following possession, having to punt for the first time. But, as has been the case all day, the defensive line making things VERY difficult for DiCanio – as Hyland combines with Dan Gilroy for the sack.
Next play, with time winding down in the first half… and it’s a bad snap and scooped up by the senior Zach Greenberg! Cardinals cooking again!
And how about this play? The touchdown is number 17 – the new single season record for Kamienski.
So now with just 30 ticks left, Wesleyan forcing the issue… and it’s a fumble! Bryan Beauchamp covers it up and the Cardinals take it away!
The Highlight Reel Catch
And that sets up this play, which, spoiler alert – was SportsCenter’s 6th top play on the night… Cardinals go into the half leading 45-14
Now to the second half – which looks a lot like the first half – Rutter finds a wide open Ethan Greenfield streaking down the seam. It’s now 52-14. Rutter with 6 touchdowns for a second straight week.
Then a couple of seniors rising to the occasion on their big day. Zach Garrett scores on a tough run, and then Zach Greenberg intercepts a pass. North Central rolls to a 69-14 win, moving to 8-1 before closing the regular season on the road at Millikin.