Millikin’s Big Blue traveled to Elmhurst College and defeated the Bluejays 14-13 in a nail-biting game. The win was not an easy one for the Big Blue as they faced off with Elmhurst, who was running on a 1-5 record and hungry for a conference win. Millikin also faced big adversities with the weather elements of wind and sleet the entirety of the game and had many injured players.
The Big Blue was missing senior star Quarterback Nicco Stepina, who sustained a leg injury during last week’s game against Carthage College, and senior Linebacker Nikia Averitte. Taking the place of Stepina was sophomore Cal Pohrte, who had never started in a varsity college game.
The Bluejays’ Tight End Jim Robley scored their only touchdown in the first quarter of the game, closely followed by Millikin’s first touchdown by Running Back Jazontae Howard in the second quarter. The score was tied 7-7 until Elmhurst gained a field goal in the second and third quarters. The Big Blue then held off the Bluejays from scoring any more touchdowns and secured their final touchdown in the last half of the fourth quarter by sophomore Wide Receiver Tyrice Hines.
The game overall was a tough one for both teams who had multiple injured players. For Millikin, the top two Running Backs Jazontae Howard and George Jimerson Jr. sustained injuries and sat out the rest of the game, allowing freshman Richard Cosey to make some runs.
The plays for the Big Blue were mostly simple and predictable runs, but they still got the job done.
The key to the Big Blue’s win was their defense. Their defensive side held off the Bluejays and made them resort to field goals to try to win. The Bluejays may have put up a fight against Millikin the entire game, but the Big Blue overpowered and forced them back in the last two minutes.
With the score 14-13 the fourth quarter, Elmhurst tried to convert, but after losing the ball to Millikin one last time and with less than two minutes to go, the game was already finished and won. The Big Blue did not need to run any more plays and instead, Pohrte continued to kneel to make the seconds on the clock run out.
This loss for Elmhurst knocks the Bluejays down to 1-6 overall and 0-6 in the CCIW conference. This win for Millikin was huge. It gives them a 6-1 overall record score for the season and a 5-1 in the conference. Millikin is now still tied with the North Central College Cardinal’s, who is also 6-1 after their defeat of Carthage today.
The Big Blue’s next game is Oct. 27 at 6pm and they host Illinois Wesleyan, who is 5-1 and currently the leader of the conference pack with a 5-0 record.
The next three games for Millikin will be the season and CCIW conference defining games. They are facing up against the three top teams in the conference: Illinois Wesleyan, North Central, and Washington University.