The Case Western Reserve University defense intercepted Washington University's (Mo.) quarterback a program-record six times, including an individual program-record tying three picks from sophomore cornerback Adrian Cannon, as the 23rd-ranked Spartans rolled to a 34-16 win over the Bears in a University Athletic Association matchup at DiSanto Field on Saturday afternoon.
The win was the seventh-straight for the Spartans, who raised their UAA record to 1-1 on the year, with a 7-1 overall mark. Washington dropped to 5-3 overall, and are also 1-1 in UAA games.
Cannon helped the Spartans' secondary control the Bears' passing game, which entered the contest as one of the top-ranked units in all of Division III. He became the fourth player in school history with three interceptions in a game, matching former Spartans Tom Olsavsky (1984 vs. Carnegie Mellon), JD Patton (2001 vs. Hiram) and Dan Calabrese (2011 vs. Oberlin). The six interceptions by the team exceeded the previous record of five, set during games against Thiel in 1983 and Earlham in 1990.
Offensively, sophomore quarterback Rob Cuda completed 26 of 46 passes for 299 yards during the day. Despite throwing his first interception of the season, he threw for a pair of touchdowns, both to senior receiver Bryan Erb. Sophomore running back Anthony Canganelli added 77 yards on the ground, while senior fullback Adam Hochman contributed 47, with both rushing for scores on Saturday. Senior tight end Ethan Albers caught six passes for 110 yards.
CWRU never trailed in the game, jumping out to a 14-0 lead behind a nine-yard TD run by Hochman with 7:32 left to play in the first quarter, and a four-yard pass from Cuda to Carniol with 13:48 to play in the second.
The Bears pulled within a point of the Spartans by the end of the first half, 14-13, scoring on three of their next four possessions, including field goals of 46- and 30-yards by Alex Hallwachs, with a two-yard pass from J.J. Tomlin to Hank Childs sandwiched in between.
Early in the second half, Wash U. appeared on the verge of taking the lead, before a fumble over the goal line gave the Spartans possession back. CWRU would go on to drive 80 yards on 11 plays in 4:36, scoring from four-yards out on Erb's second touchdown catch of the game, pushing the team's lead to 21-13.
It was the second-straight two-touchdown game for Erb, and his fourth in the last five games. He has a team-leading 11 receiving touchdowns this year, and leads all Spartan receivers with 48 receptions and 601 yards.
Hallwachs kicked his third field goal of the game with four minutes left in the third to cut the lead back to 21-16. Down five still in the fourth quarter with 8:22 remaining, the Bears attempted a pass on a fake punt that fell incomplete, turning the ball over on downs. The Spartans were able to turn the opportunity into points, capping a 42-yard drive with a four-yard touchdown run by sophomore Myles Anthony.
On top by 12, senior linebacker Aaron Weisberg intercepted a pass and returned it 60 yards to setup a 13-yard TD run by Canganelli on the next play, and for the second-straight week, junior cornerback Nick Kwon intercepted a pass late to secure the victory.
Kwon finished the game with a team-best 11 tackles and four pass breakups to go along with the interception, his third of the season. Sophomore safety Cody Calhoun also added a pick early in the contest.
The victory ended a three-game losing streak for the Spartans against the Bears.
The Spartans will now turn their attention towards a key Presidents' Athletic Conference matchup next week against Thomas More College, ranked 11th in Division III. The winner of the game would at least earn a share of the PAC title, and would keep itself in control of its own destiny for the conference's automatic bid.
Kickoff for next Saturday's game at DiSanto Field is scheduled for 1:00 p.m.