116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
MOUNT VERNON – First it was with his legs. Then it was with his arm.
James Douglas III had his hands on just about every Cornell College scoring play.
Douglas rushed for three first-half touchdowns and threw for three more after the break, helping the Rams to a 62-25 victory over Iowa Wesleyan in their college football opener Saturday night at Ash Park.
The 5-foot-6 sophomore from Deltona, Fla., demonstrated his playmaking ability in his first start, throwing for 309 yards and rushing for 72 more.
Douglas helped break open a competitive game in the third. He hit Patrick Brown for a 30-yard scoring strike followed by a 38-yard TD to Blake MacDowell and a 26-yard score to running back Mickey Hines for a 34-point lead, going into the final quarter.
The game was much closer early when points came in a flurry. Each team scored on their first three possessions, combining for 30 points in the opening quarter and running 87 plays in the first half.
Cornell found the end zone on its opening drive. Douglas proved to be a key playmaker in the first half. He capped an eight-play, 61-yard drive with a 6-yard touchdown on 3rd-and-goal.
Douglas faked a handoff, pump faked and tucked the ball, diving over the goal line for a 7-0 lead.
The next two rushing scores by Douglas gave the Rams some breathing room in the second quarter, capitalizing on good field position.
Cornell defensive back Trever Greene provided the first short field, snatching the first of his two interceptions of Iowa Wesleyan's Alex Payne. This time it placed Cornell at the Tigers' 30. Two plays later Douglas scored on a 13-yard rush.
The Rams defense followed with a three-and-out and Douglas started at the Tigers 44. Douglas capped that drive with a 7-yard scoring run, pump-faking a throw to the right and then running up the middle for a 31-19 halftime lead.
Cornell cashed in on another short-field opportunity in the third. Payne's second interception gave the Rams the ball at the 40. Hines ran in from six yards for a 45-25 edge.
Special teams contributed to the onslaught as well. With the Rams down by three in the first, Malek Folston swung the momentum back in their favor. Folston grabbed the ensuing kickoff and bolted 89 yards for the TD, making it 17-13 Cornell with 1:17 left in the first quarter.
Aaron Nicoll added a 42-yard field goal on the second Cornell possession of the game and then hit a 46-yarder in the fourth.
MacDowall led Cornell with 100 receiving yards. Brown had 84 with a team-high four catches. Hines finished with 93 total yards, including 59 rushing.
Iowa Wesleyan caused the Cornell defense fits early on with a hurry-up offense with quick-hitting passes from Payne. He completed his first 11 passes for 153 yards, leading the Tigers to a 19-17 lead in the opening minute of the second quarter.
Payne marched the Tigers 85 yards on 13 plays, rushing for 1-yard TD on their first possession.
He connected on passes for the first three plays on the Tigers' next drive, setting up Tyree Thomas' 11-yard TD run. The wideout took a pitch from Payne on a reverse and made one cut to the end zone, giving the Tigers a 13-10 lead.
Payne added TD runs of 6 and 1 yards, giving Iowa Wesleyan a 19-17 edge in the second quarter and closing within 31-25 in the third before the Rams pulled away with 31 straight points.
Payne finished with 285 passing yards and 54 on the ground. Rodolfo Amezcua was his favorite target, catching 10 passes for 180 yards.
l Comments: (319) 368-8679; firstname.lastname@example.org