Spartans Look for 2-0 Start at Hiram on Saturday

(L-R): Senior captains Adam Watson, Cullen Dolan and Wade Self (photo by Dave Nash)
(L-R): Senior captains Adam Watson, Cullen Dolan and Wade Self (photo by Dave Nash)

Case Western Reserve Spartans (1-0) at Hiram Terriers (0-1)
Saturday, September 8, 2012 - 7:00 p.m.
Charles A. Henry Field - Hiram, Ohio

(Dave Wilson, play-by-play; Dain McKee, color)



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The Case Western Reserve University football team looks to improve to 2-0 on the young season when it visits Hiram College on Saturday, September 8 at Charles A. Henry Field in Hiram. The Spartans defeated Marietta College last Saturday, 26-23, to improve to their record to 49-6 since the beginning of the 2007 season. Representatives of the North Coast Athletic Conference, Hiram lost its opener by a score of 28-0 on the road at Westminster College (Pa.). 

The Spartans and Terriers have met 22 times on the gridiron, with Hiram holding a slim, 11-10-1 lead in the all-time series. The Spartans have won five-consecutive meetings and seven-of-eight overall, including a 34-7 Homecoming victory last season. The last Hiram victory in the series came back in 2000 by a score of 17-7 at Case. The first-ever meeting between the two schools in 1972 resulted in a 13-0 victory for the Spartans. The programs met annually from 1972-89 before a 10-year hiatus from 1990-99. The rivalry was renewed for two years (2000-01) before a six-year gap from 2002-07. The teams have met each season since 2008.

Case Western Reserve is coached by Greg Debeljak, who is in his ninth season in 2012 with a 62-23 (.729) record. Debeljak has led the Spartans to four UAA Championships in five years, including three-consecutive undefeated (10-0) regular seasons from 2007-09 with back-to-back-to-back NCAA Playoff berths. Since the beginning of the 2007 season, Case Western Reserve has posted an outstanding overall record of 49-6, earning Debeljak and his staff the UAA Coaching Staff of the Year award four times (2007-09, '11). In addition, Case has been ranked in the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) Top 25 in four of the past five seasons (2007-10).

Hiram is coached by Randy Moore, who has a 2-19 record in his third season with the Terriers. Moore served as defensive coordinator at Otterbein University for seven seasons and helped lead the Cardinals to their first-ever NCAA Playoff berth in 2008. Prior to joining the staff at Otterbein, Moore served as defensive coordinator at Hope College (Mich.) and was the head coach at Lake Forest College (Ill.).

The Spartans defeated the Terriers, 34-7, on Homecoming at Case Field on October 15, 2011. Current sophomore running back Manny Sicre (Miami, Fla./Belen Jesuit Prep) rushed for 53 yards and a touchdown in addition to catching one of current senior quarterback Erik Olson's (Bethel Park, Pa./Bethel Park) two TD passes in the game. The Spartan defense forced three turnovers, while current senior end Adam Watson (Mentor, Ohio/Mentor) totaled seven tackles, a sack and a fumble recovery. 

Through one game in 2012, the Spartans average 26 points, 219 yards rushing, 196 yards passing and 415 total yards. Case opponents average 23 ppg, negative three yards rushing, 333 yards passing and 330 total yards per game. The Spartans have a -2 turnover ratio after leading the UAA at +12 last season.

Junior running back Kenny Riordan (Spring Grove, Ill./Richmond-Burton) rushed for a career-high 155 yards on just 19 carries, and the Spartans erased an early 10-point deficit with 26 unanswered points en route to a 26-23 victory in the 2012 season opener at Marietta College on Saturday, September 1 at Don Drumm Stadium. After allowing 10 points in the first 8:41 of play, Case's defense shut the Pioneers out for nearly three quarters and totaled six sacks with an interception. For the game, the Spartans outgained the Pioneers, 219 to minus three, on the ground.

Offensively, senior quarterback Erik Olson (Bethel Park, Pa./Bethel Park) has completed 10-of-18 passes (55.6%) for 196 yards with one touchdown and one interception. Junior running back Kenny Riordan (Spring Grove, Ill./Richmond-Burton) has a team-high 155 yards rushing on 19 carries (8.2 ypc), while sophomore running back Manny Sicre (Miami, Fla./Belen Jesuit Prep) has 85 yards on 15 carries (5.7 ypc) with one touchdown. Sophomore wide receiver Sean Lapcevic (Presto, Pa./Chartiers Valley) has posted four receptions for 81 yards (20.2 ypc) and a TD. Senior wide receiver Brian Rice (New Castle, Pa./New Castle) has three catches for 72 yards (24.0 ypc).

Defensively, senior nose guard Michael Harris (Shaker Heights, Ohio/Shaker Heights) is tied for the team lead with nine tackles and has a pair of sacks. Senior linebacker Wade Self (Hawthorn Woods, Ill./Lake Zurich) also has nine stops with a pass break-up. Senior outside linebacker Ryan Ferguson (Wheaton, Ill./St. Francis) has recorded eight tackles, while senior safety Dan Calabrese (Concord, Ohio/Notre Dame-Cathedral Latin) and senior cornerback Cary Dieter (McKees Rocks, Pa./Montour) each have seven stops. Junior end Brandon Bryant (Rockville, Md./Rockville) has three tackles and a team-high 2.5 sacks, while junior safety Jordan Banky (Pittsburgh, Pa./Mt. Lebanon) has the team's lone interception.

Through one game, the Terriers have yet to score and average 12 yards rushing, 170 yards passing and 182 total yards. Hiram opponents average 28 ppg, 158 yards rushing, 179 yards passing and 337 total yards per game. The Terriers have a -2 turnover ratio.

Offensively, senior QB Brendan Rehor is 21-of-29 (72.4%) for 132 yards and three INTs. Senior RB Chris Austin has 12 rushes for 31 yards (2.6 ypc). Sophomore WR Bryan Greenwell has a team-high six receptions for 49 yards (8.2 ypc), while junior WR Richard Simpson has five catches for 48 yards (9.6 ypc).

Defensively, junior LB Tyler Williams leads the squad and ranks tied for 11th in the nation with 15 tackles, including a pair for loss and a sack. Senior CB Dominick Harper has eight tackles and the team's lone INT, while junior free safety Josh Peacock has eight stops and a pass break-up.

After its performance at Marietta last week, the Spartan defensive unit ranks third in the nation in rush defense (-3 ypg) and is tied for fourth with six sacks. Last season, the Spartans ranked seventh nationally in rush defense (75.7 ypg), 12th in scoring defense (12.9 ppg) and fourth in red zone efficiency (52%).

During its past 26 road games dating back to 2007, CWRU has compiled an overall record of 25-1.

The All-UAA running back duo of junior Kenny Riordan (Spring Grove, Ill./Richmond-Burton) and sophomore Manny Sicre (Miami, Fla./Belen Jesuit Prep) combined for 240 yards rushing on 34 carries (7.1 ypc) with a TD at Marietta last Saturday. Riordan ranks 14th in the nation with his 155 yards. Last season, the two combined to rush for 1,194 yards rushing with seven TDs on the ground.

Senior nose guard Michael Harris (Shaker Heights, Ohio/Shaker Heights) posted nine tackles and a career-high two sacks in the Spartans' win at Marietta last Saturday.

Junior safety Jordan Banky (Pittsburgh, Pa./Mt. Lebanon) had the team's lone interception last week at Marietta. Of his three career INTs, two have come in the fourth quarter of games, while the other occured in the third quarter. Each of the three INTs have come in a Spartan victory.