Spartans Set to Open UAA Schedule with Seniors’ Day versus Chicago

The program will honor 19 senior student-athletes on Saturday. (photo by Tony Morrison)
The program will honor 19 senior student-athletes on Saturday. (photo by Tony Morrison)

Chicago Maroons (5-2, 0-0 UAA) at
Case Western Reserve Spartans (3-3, 0-0 UAA)

Saturday, November 2, 2013 - 1:00 p.m.
DiSanto Field - Cleveland

(Dave Wilson, play-by-play; Ed Daugherty, color)


Download the complete Spartan Games Notes in .pdf format by clicking HERE.

The Case Western Reserve University football team begins its quest for a fifth University Athletic Association Championship in seven seasons when it hosts the University of Chicago for Seniors' Day on Saturday, November 2 at 1:00 p.m. at DiSanto Field. The Spartans evened their record at 3-3 with a 21-17 victory versus Trinity University (Texas) on Saturday, October 26. The Maroons fell to 5-2 with a 21-6 loss at the University of the Pacific (Ore).

The Spartans and Maroons have a young history on the gridiron which dates back only to the 1990 season. Chicago holds the all-time series lead, 12-11, but Case Western Reserve has won six of the last seven meetings, including a 28-15 triumph last season in the "Windy City." The first-ever meeting between the two resulted in a 25-0 Spartan victory at home in 1990.

The Spartans scored 21 unanswered points during a four-minute stretch of the second quarter en route to a 28-15 victory on October 27, 2012 at Stagg Field in Chicago. Then sophomore quarterback Billy Beecher (Palmyra, Pa./Palmyra Area) accounted for a pair of touchdowns, while linebacker Wade Self '13 paced the defense with 12 tackles and a forced fumble. Chicago was led by then junior quarterback Vincent Cortina with 261 yards passing and then senior tight end Brandon Meckelberg with 141 yards receiving.

Case Western Reserve is coached by Greg Debeljak, who is in his 10th season in 2013 with a 70-30 (.700) record. Debeljak has led the Spartans to four UAA Championships in six 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 57-13, 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 AFCA Top 25 in four of the past six seasons (2007-10).

Chris Wilkerson was named head coach at Chicago in July 2013. He replaced Dick Maloney, who announced his retirement in June 2013 after 19 years. Wilkerson is in his 19th year as a collegiate football coach and spent the past six seasons as associate head coach at Dartmouth College.

Through six games, the Spartans have averaged 21.8 points, 115.3 yards rushing, 166.5 yards passing and 281.8 total yards per game. Case opponents have averaged 27.3 points, 142.0 yards rushing, 239.8 yards passing and 381.8 total yards per game. The Spartans have a +2 turnover ratio.

Offensively, senior quarterback Erik Olson (Bethel Park, Pa./Bethel Park) has completed 71-of-106 passes (67.0%) for 677 yards and six touchdowns. Junior quarterback Billy Beecher (Palmyra, Pa./Palmyra Area) is 24-of-49 (48.9.%) for 322 yards and four interceptions. Beecher has also rushed for 76 yards and three TDs. Senior RB Kenny Riordan (Spring Grove, Ill./Richmond-Burton) has rushed for a team-high 322 yards on 73 carries (4.4 ypc) with a team-best five TDs. Junior RB Ricky Hanzlik (Mentor, Ohio/Mentor) is second on the squad with 207 yards rushing on 46 carries (4.5 ypc) with two scores. Junior wide receiver Sean Lapcevic (Presto, Pa./Chartiers Valley) has a team-high 24 receptions for 225 yards (9.4 ypc) with one TD. Freshman wide receiver John Mangelluzzi (Gates Mills, Ohio/Mayfield) has hauled in 22 receptions for a team-best 256 yards (11.6 ypc) with a TD.

Defensively, sophomore linebacker Gavin Sandidge (Pittsburgh, Pa./Central Catholic) leads the team with 60 tackles, including a team high-tying eight for loss, to go along with a forced fumble. Fellow sophomore linebacker Everett Dishong (Chagrin Falls, Ohio/Chagrin Falls) has 56 tackles, including eight for loss and a team-best 3.5 sacks. The Spartans' third starting sophomore LB, Aaron Weisberg (Plantation, Fla./American Heritage), has 47 tackles and is tied for the team lead with four pass break-ups. Freshman cornerback Nick Kwon (Kaneohe, Hawaii/Mid-Pacific Institute) is tied with senior safety Austin Webb (Alliance, Ohio/Marlington) for first on the team with two interceptions and is tied with Weisberg with four pass break-ups.

Through seven games, the Maroons have averaged 21.0 points, 131.6 yards rushing, 166.0 yards passing and 297.6 total yards per game. Chicago opponents have averaged 14.1 points, 114.6 yards rushing, 163.4 yards passing and 278.0 total yards per game. The Maroons have a +11 turnover ratio.

Offensively, senior QB Vincent Cortina has completed 94-of-173 passes (54.3%) for 1,157 yards with 14 TDs and three INTs. Junior RB Zak Ross-Nash has rushed for a team-high 550 yards on 170 carries (3.2 ypc) with two scores. Senior RB Ian Gaines is second with with 346 yards on the ground on 91 carries (3.8 ypc). Sophomore WR Cole Thoms has team highs of 36 receptions and 343 yards (9.5 ypc) with four TDs. Fellow sophomore WR Sam Coleman has 17 catches for 326 (19.2 ypc) with a team-best five TDs.

Defensively, junior LB Schuyler Montefalco has a team-high 57 tackles, including 8.5 TFL and two sacks. Senior LB Ben Wade has 49 stops with an INT, a forced fumble and three pass break-ups. Junior lineman Brandon Bolock has 37 tackles and team highs of nine TFL and four sacks. Sophomore back Chris Dengler has 33 tackles, three pass break-ups and a team-high three INTs. 

During the Spartans' last two games, both wins, senior quarterback Erik Olson (Bethel Park, Pa./Bethel Park) has completed 43-of-55 passes (78.2%) for 352 yards and four TDs. His performance two weeks ago at Puget Sound garnered UAA Offensive Player of the Week honors, and he has not thrown an interception in 106 attempts this season. Overall, Olson has 118 passes without an INT dating back to last season. That streak is the best in the program since Joey Baum '11 recorded 165 consecutive pass attempts without an INT in 2010.

Saturday's win versus Trinity marked the third time this season and fourth time in his career that senior running back Kenny Riordan (Spring Grove, Ill./Richmond-Burton) accounted for two touchdowns in a game. For his efforts, Riordan was tabbed UAA Offensive Player of the Week.

Spartan special teams has allowed only 4.6 yards per punt return this season. During the past five full seasons, the unit has limited the opposition to punt return averages of 8.5 (2012), 6.3 (2011), 1.9 (2010), 4.1 (2009) and 2.3 (2008).

The Spartan defense has almost doubled its interception total from last year (five) with nine through six games. In 2012, Case was -6 (11 to 5) in interceptions throughout the season.

Sophomore fullback Adam Hochman (Austin, Texas/Anderson) only has 11 career receptions, but five have gone for touchdowns after his scoring grab versus Trinity.

Senior quarterback Erik Olson (Bethel Park, Pa./Bethel Park), who doubles as the team's punter, tied a school record with a 77-yard punt at Frostburg State in week three. Former Spartan Chuck Tall also booted a 77-yard punt in 1991 versus Carnegie Mellon.

The number of wins for Case Western Reserve since the beginning of the 2007 season. The Spartans are 57-13 overall during that span.

The number of senior student-athletes who will play in their final home games as Spartans on Saturday.