Wheaton College safe at home
Since 2002 Wheaton College had gone 49-6 in home football games.
Augustana learned early Saturday afternoon it was going to be No. 50.
"That's pretty good isn't it," Wheaton coach Mike Swider said. "I knew it was good. I didn't realize it was that good."
The Thunder (7-1, 4-1) defended the McCully Stadium turf with a 36-7 CCIW victory, sending it into next weekend's matchup against league-leader North Central just a game back.
"We have a lot of pride here about this is our field," Wheaton right guard Charlie Bell said. "Nobody beats us on our field. It's only happened a few times in the past couple of years since I've been here."
Bell, a junior, didn't play football his senior year at Geneva High School due to non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. After beating his cancer he played his freshman season at College of DuPage before deciding to follow in his father's footsteps to Wheaton College.
"I love it," Bell said. "It's a real privilege to be on this team, let alone being able to contribute like I"ve been blessed to do."
Bell led an offensive line that gave quarterback Garrett Meador plenty of time to throw.
"Charlie's doing good," Swider said. "... He's the one returning starter we've got up there. Everybody else is new, so he's got to be a little bit of an anchor for us, a little bit of a force for us that provides a little bit of experience and direction. He's got to be able to communicate with the other guys and keep them in line. He's the quarterback of the line."
The Thunder struck on its first three drives, racking up a 17-0 lead after the first quarter. The score went to 23-0 midway through the second quarter when Wheaton freshman Mark Hiben made a diving catch at the goal line of a 45-yard Meador pass. The Glenbard West product followed that with a 24-yard catch to make it 29-0 at halftime.
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