Punt Block Named D3Football.com Play of the Week; Spartans Claim PAC & UAA Weekly Honors

Punt Block Named D3Football.com Play of the Week; Spartans Claim PAC & UAA Weekly Honors

Following Case Western Reserve University's 41-34 overtime win at Carnegie Mellon University on Saturday afternoon, the key punt block late in the fourth quarter of the game was named the D3football.com Play of the Week, while junior wide receiver Justin Phan, and senior linebackers Zach Lyon, Andrew Banathy and Justin McMahon all earned conference Player of the Week honors.

The blocked punt helped the Spartans' pick up an unlikely come-from-behind win over the Tartans, and secure both the Presidents' Athletic Conference and University Athletic Association Championships, and a bid to the NCAA playoffs.  With just 28 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter and CWRU trailing by four points, Carnegie Mellon's Tyler Kohman attempted a punt from his own 41 yard line that was blocked by Lyon.  The ball rolled back to the Tartans' three yard line, where it was scooped up by Phan and carried into the end zone to give the Spartans' a 34-31 lead.  After a late field goal to tie the game, CWRU would go on to claim the victory in overtime.

In large part due to the stunning play, Lyon was named both the PAC and the UAA Special Teams Player of the Week.  It was the first ever conference Athlete of the Week honor for the senior, who finished the game with three tackles.

McMahon was selected as the PAC's Defensive Player of the Week after finishing the contest with a team-leading 16 tackles (eight solo), including one for a loss.  He added an interception in the second quarter of the game that helped setup a field goal to extend the Spartans' lead.  This was McMahon's second PAC Athlete of the Week honor this season, as he leads the team with 72 tackles, including eight for a loss, this season.

Banathy, the UAA Defensive Player of the Week, added 12 tackles in the game (eight solo), including 2.5 for a loss and an interception in the second quarter that led to a go-ahead touchdown for the Spartans.  He is second on the team with 62 tackles and four sacks, and leads all Spartan players with 11 tackles for a loss and 35 solo tackles this year.  This was the second UAA Athlete of the Week honor of Banathy's career, after he claimed the award during his sophomore campaign in 2015.

Phan, who was named the UAA Offensive Player of the Week, finished the game with six receptions for 101 yards and a pair of touchdowns, in addition to the return of the blocked punt for a touchdown.  His first touchdown of the game came with 13:13 left in the fourth quarter on a 36-yard pass from Rob Cuda.  He added a score in overtime, catching a five-yard pass from Cuda in what would prove to be the game-winning touchdown.  For the year, Phan leads all CWRU players with 48 receptions and seven touchdowns, and is second on the team with 591 receiving yards.  This was his second UAA Athlete of the Week award of the year, and the fourth of his career.

The Spartans, ranked 16th in Division III secured an at-large bid to the NCAA playoffs following Saturday's win.  The team will make its fourth playoff appearance in program history, as CWRU will travel to Bloomington, Illinois to face 11th-ranked Illinois Wesleyan University at 12:00 p.m. CT on Saturday, November 18th.

CWRU football players have earned the following weekly honors during the 2017 season:

D3football.com Team of the Week
September 19th: Ian Henderson (Defensive Tackle)

PAC Athlete of the Week
September 18th: Ian Henderson (Defense)
October 16th: Rob Cuda (Offense)
October 23rd: Justin McMahon (Defense)
November 6th: Jacob Burke (Offense)
November 13th: Justin McMahon (Defense), Zach Lyon (Special Teams)

UAA Athlete of the Week
September 5th: Justin Phan (Offense), Cody Calhoun (Special Teams)
September 18th: Jacob Burke (Offense), Ian Henderson (Defense)
October 2nd: Rob Cuda (Offense), Dan Techman (Defense)
October 16th: Rob Cuda (Offense)
October 23rd: Justin McMahon (Defense)
October 30th: Jacob Burke (Offense), Cody Calhoun (Defense)
November 6th: Jacob Burke (Offense)
November 13th: Justin Phan (Offense), Justin McMahon (Defense), Zach Lyon (Special Teams)