Spartans Hit the Road Again, Look to Rebound versus OWU

Sophomore running back Manny Sicre racked up 174 yards from scrimmage with two TDs last Saturday. (photo by Dave Nash)
Sophomore running back Manny Sicre racked up 174 yards from scrimmage with two TDs last Saturday. (photo by Dave Nash)

Case Western Reserve Spartans (2-1)
at Ohio Wesleyan Battling Bishops (2-0)
Saturday, September 22, 2012 - 7:00 p.m.
Selby Stadium - Delaware, Ohio

(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 looks to bounce back from its first loss of the season and keep its road success intact at Ohio Wesleyan University on Saturday, September 22 at Selby Field in Delaware. The Spartans (2-1) were upset by Frostburg State University (Md.) by a score of 17-16 last Saturday, but still maintain an overall record of 50-7 since the beginning of the 2007 season. Ohio Wesleyan (2-0) opens the home portion of its schedule after winning at Oberlin College, 29-17. 

The Spartans and Battling Bishops have met 17 times on the gridiron with Case Western Reserve holding a 9-8 lead in the all-time series. The two squads have not met since 2009, a 55-7 home victory for Case, giving the Spartans three-consecutive wins in the series. The last Ohio Wesleyan win came in 1999 by a score of 27-7 in Delaware. The first-ever meeting between the two resulted in a 45-15 win for the Spartans at home in 1984. The schools met annually from 1984-95, and OWU holds the longest streak in the series with four-straight wins from 1992-95.

Case Western Reserve is coached by Greg Debeljak, who is in his ninth season in 2012 with a 63-24 (.724) 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 50-7, 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).

Ohio Wesleyan is coached by Tom Watts in his first season with a 2-0 record. For the last three seasons, Watts served as special teams coordinator, defensive backs coach and recruiting coordinator at Baldwin Wallace University. He helped lead the Yellow Jackets to records of 8-2 in 2011 and 7-3 in 2010. A fourth-generation coach, Watts is a 2002 graduate of Hanover (Ind.) College, where he helped the Panthers win a pair of conference championships.

The Spartans extended their regular season winning streak to 26 games with a 55-7 home victory versus OWU on October 17, 2009. Then senior quarterback Dan Whalen threw for 265 yards and a touchdown, while senior fullback Corey Checkan rushed for three scores.

Through three games, the Spartans average 25.7 points, 145.3 yards rushing, 209.0 yards passing and 354.3 total yards. Case opponents average 13.3 ppg, 85.3 yards rushing, 226.0 yards passing and 311.5 total yards per game. The Spartans have a -4 turnover ratio after leading the UAA at +12 last season.

Sophomore running back Manny Sicre (Miami, Fla./Belen Jesuit Preparatory) recorded 174 yards from scrimmage with two total touchdowns, but a last-minute score led Frostburg St. to a 17-16 upset of the Spartans. Case led 16-10 until the final minute, but FSU quarterback Ken Emmons threw the game-winning score to running back Chuky Iweh with just 43 seconds remaining on the clock.

Offensively, senior quarterback Erik Olson (Bethel Park, Pa./Bethel Park) has completed 42-of-69 passes (60.9%) for 609 yards with five touchdowns and three interceptions. Sophomore running back Manny Sicre (Miami, Fla./Belen Jesuit Prep) has a team-high 221 yards rushing on 54 carries (4.1 ypc) with two touchdowns. Sicre also has four receptions for 93 yards and a score. Sophomore wide receiver Sean Lapcevic (Presto, Pa./Chartiers Valley) has posted a team-high 12 receptions for 234 yards (19.5 ypc) and a TD. Senior wide receiver Brian Rice (New Castle, Pa./New Castle) has 11 catches for 142 yards (12.9 ypc).

Defensively, senior outside linebacker Ryan Ferguson (Wheaton, Ill./St. Francis) has recorded a team-high 29 tackles with a forced fumble and a pass break-up. Senior linebacker Wade Self (Hawthorn Woods, Ill./Lake Zurich) has 28 stops with a pass break-up and a blocked punt. Senior linebacker Kevin Nossem (Munster, Ind./Munster) has 26 tackles and a pair of forced fumbles. Senior nose guard Michael Harris (Shaker Heights, Ohio/Shaker Heights) has 20 tackles with a team-best 3.5 sacks. Senior tackle Collin Desens (Hopewell Junction, N.Y./Arlington) has 22 tackles and three sacks, while junior end Brandon Bryant (Rockville, Md./Rockville) has 13 tackles with a team-high 5.5 TFL and 2.5 sacks. Senior outside linebacker Michael Fioramonti (Loxahatchee, Fla./Seminole Ridge) and junior safety Jordan Banky (Pittsburgh, Pa./Mt. Lebanon) each have an interception.

Through two games, the Bishops average 30.5 points, 84.0 yards rushing, 359 yards passing and 443.5 total yards. OWU opponents average 23 ppg, 72.5 yards rushing, 313.0 yards passing and 385.5 total yards per game. The Bishops have a +2 turnover ratio.

Offensively, junior QB Mason Espinosa has completed 66-of-95 (69.5%) for 649 yards, four TDs and one INT. Sophomore RB Kevin Herman has rushed for 118 yards on 34 carries (3.5 ypc) with one TD. Through only two games, four Bishop receivers have reached the 100-yard mark. Junior WR Dave Mogilnicki leads the team with 15 receptions for 186 yards (12.4 ypc) and two TDs. Sophomore WR Scott Jenkins has 12 catches for 128 yards (10.7 ypc), while senior WR Nick Ziegenbusch has 10 catches for 145 yards (14.5 ypc) and one score. Sophomore WR Steven Uhler has recorded nine catches for 100 yards (11.1 ypc).

Defensively, junior free safety Rayce Risser leads the team with 20 tackles, including 14 solo stops, with an INT. Senior tackle Tyler Swary has 13 tackles, including 4.5 for loss, with a team-high three sacks--one which resulted in a safety. Senior end James Huddleston has 13 tackles with a team-high 5.5 for loss, 2.5 sacks and a forced fumble. Senior LB Tyler Sheetz has 11 tackles, 10 of which are solo, and one INT.

Senior defensive end Adam Watson (Mentor, Ohio/Mentor) recorded both a blocked field goal and blocked punt last Saturday versus Frostburg State. Two weeks ago at Hiram, Watson returned a blocked punt 38 yards for his first career TD. 

Sophomore running back Manny Sicre (Miami, Fla./Belen Jesuit Preparatory) totaled 174 yards from scrimmage with a pair of TDs versus Frostburg State last Saturday. Sicre rushed for 91 yards with a score on 27 carries and caught three passes for a career-high 83 yards receiving with a TD.

Senior inside linebacker Kevin Nossem (Munster, Ind./Munster) recorded a career-high 16 tackles in week three versus Frostburg State and was named the UAA Defensive Player of the Week. After missing the season opener, Nossem has 26 tackles in just two games.

During its past 27 road games dating back to 2007, CWRU has compiled an overall record of 26-1.

The number of wins for Case Western Reserve since the beginning of the 2007 season.