Case Western Reserve University junior fullback Jacob Burke matched a school record with four rushing touchdowns, and the defense intercepted the Yellow Jackets' quarterbacks four times, as the Spartans improved to 3-0 with a 35-7 win over Waynesburg University in Waynesburg, Pennsylvania on Saturday afternoon.
Burke ran the ball 20 times for 163 net yards and the four scores, all career-highs for the junior, as he led a Spartans' rushing attack that outgained Waynesburg 286-57 during the game. Junior quarterback Rob Cuda added 83 yards and a touchdown on the ground, while completing 11-of-17 passes for 124 yards. Senior wide receiver Brendan Lynch tallied his second-straight 100-yard receiving game, catching eight passes for 102 yards.
The Spartans improved to 3-0 overall and to 2-0 in Presidents' Athletic Conference games with the win, as CWRU remained tied atop the conference standings with Saint Vincent College and Thomas More College after the second week of conference play. Waynesburg fell to 0-4 overall, including 0-2 in PAC contests, following the loss.
Burke put the Spartans on the board with 7:29 remaining in the first quarter, completing an 11 play, 80 yard drive with a two-yard touchdown run. Waynesburg would drive down the field on their next possession, but junior linebacker Alex Habeeb would stall the drive, collecting a tipped pass at the Spartans' 24-yard line for the first interception of his career.
Waynesburg evened the score early in the second quarter, when Tyler Perone found Kevin Barnes in the end zone on a 12 yard pass with 13:48 left in the half. Despite ending a stretch of seven quarters and 106 minutes and 48 seconds without allowing an opponent to score, it would prove to be the only points the Spartans would allow the Yellow Jackets during the game.
Burke gave the Spartans the lead back with his second touchdown of the game, running the ball in from a yard out with 4:26 remaining in the second quarter. On Waynesburg's next possession, senior cornerback Nick Kwon intercepted Perone, giving Case Western Reserve the ball back on their own 31 yard line. The Spartans would quickly drive downfield, scoring on a 25 yard run by Burke and extending the lead to 21-7 following the extra point.
The Spartans would carry the 14-point lead into halftime, outgaining Waynesburg 168-21 on the ground in the first half, including 70 yards from Burke and 64 from Cuda during the first 30 minutes of play. Cuda also completed eight-of-11 passes in the first half for 78 yards, including six completions for 72 yards to Lynch.
In the third quarter junior cornerback Adrian Cannon would put an end to a Waynesburg drive, picking off a pass from Perone in the end zone, his first interception of the season, with 5:16 remaining in quarter. Junior linebacker Chanan Demery added a pick, his second of the year, at the Spartan 21-yard line with 1:28 remaining in the third, as the CWRU defense continued to keep the Yellow Jackets out of the end zone. The Spartans would go on an 11-play 79 yard drive following the interception, capped off by a one-yard scoring run by Cuda to extend the lead to 28-7. Burke's school-record tying fourth touchdown of the game would come on the longest run of his career, a 49-yard dash, to give the Spartans a 35-7 lead with 7:34 remaining in the game, and put the contest out of reach for Waynesburg.
Burke became the fourth Spartan player to run for four touchdowns in a game, and the first since Brandon McDowell accomplished the feat during the 2003 season against Denison. Other CWRU players to run for four touchdowns in a game include Frank Peters in 1999 against Oberlin and Ted Otero in 1997 against Oberlin. It was the first 100-yard rushing game of Burke's career, and his 163 yards marked the most in a game by a Spartan since former CWRU player Manny Sicre ran for 172 against John Carroll in 2011.
Through three games this season, Burke has run for 234 yards and six touchdowns. His 163 yard effort on Saturday matched his career total entering the game.
The Spartans defense turned in another stellar effort, keeping Waynesburg to 303 total yards of offense in the game and forcing the four turnovers. Sophomore cornerback Andre Orantes registered a career-best nine tackles (six solo) in the win to lead the team.
Case Western Reserve has now outscored its opponents by a combined margin of 135-24 through the first three games of the season.
The Spartans will return home next weekend to play host to Saint Vincent College on Saturday, October 1st at 6:00 p.m. in Cleveland, Ohio. The game will feature a battle of unbeaten teams, as the Spartans and Bearcats (4-0 overall, 2-0 in the PAC) are two of the three remaining undefeated teams in the PAC this season. Next Saturday's game will also feature Case Western Reserve's annual Fireworks Night, with a fireworks show scheduled for after the game, sponsored by Bon Appétit and FedEx Office.