Spartans to Host Thiel on Saturday for Homecoming Game

Spartans to Host Thiel on Saturday for Homecoming Game

2016 Case Western Reserve University Football
Game #6: CWRU (5-0, 4-0 PAC, 1-0 UAA) vs Thiel College (2-3, 1-2 PAC)
Saturday, October 15, 2016 · 1:00 p.m. ET · Cleveland, Ohio (DiSanto Field)

Live Stats:
Live Video:
Andrew Luftglass (Play-by-play) & Eddy Jansen (Color Commentary)

To download the complete game notes, click here. 

Case Western Reserve University (5-0, 4-0 PAC, 1-0 UAA) will hold its annual Homecoming game on Saturday, when the Spartans play host to the Thiel College Tomcats (2-3, 1-2 PAC), with the opening kickoff scheduled for 1:00 p.m. on October 15th at DiSanto Field in Cleveland, Ohio.

With Homecoming Weekend taking place at Case Western Reserve this weekend, a number of special events will be taking place during halftime of Saturday's game.  The seven new members of the Spartan Club Hall of Fame – Emil Bereczky (CIT '57), James George Drougas (CWRU '84), Dr. Lisa Gieseker Gozal (CWRU '03), Eli Grant (CWRU '04), Ken Holloway (CWRU '92), Andres Molina (CWRU '01) and James C. Wyant PhD (CIT '65) – will be recognized at halftime of the game, prior to their official induction on Saturday night.  In addition, the 2016 CWRU Homecoming Royalty and Awardees will be announced at halftime of the game.

The Spartans have opened their 2016 season with five-straight wins, including a 2-0 mark in home games and a 37-14 win last Saturday at Bethany College.  CWRU is 16th in DIII and second in the PAC with 45.0 points per game, while allowing just 13.2 points per contest to lead all PAC teams and rank 18th in DIII.  The Spartans average 523.8 total yards per game (eighth in DIII, second in the PAC) on 282.0 rushing yards (first in the PAC, 11th in DIII) and 241.8 passing yards per game.  Meanwhile, the defense has yielded a PAC-best 247.2 yards per game (14th in DIII) on 57.2 rushing yards (sixth in DIII, first in the PAC) and 190.0 passing yards.  The Spartans have a +4 turnover margin this season.

Junior Rob Cuda has started all five games at quarterback, completing 60.7% of his passes for 1,137 yards and 10 touchdowns with five interceptions, and his 308.8 yards of offense per game rank him 32nd among DIII players.  Junior running back Jacob Burke has carried the ball 78 times for 610 yards (19th in DIII) and nine touchdowns (eighth in DIII), with Cuda adding 407 yards and eight rushing touchdowns this season (18th in DIII).  Senior receiver Brendan Lynch leads the team with 39 receptions 564 receiving yards (20th in DIII) and seven touchdowns (14th in DIII), while sophomore receiver Justin Phan has 23 receptions for 214 yards and two TDs, and sophomore receiver Hunter Tulloch has 11 receptions for 218 yards and one TD.

Junior linebacker Andrew Banathy leads the team with 34 tackles this season (14 solo), including five for a loss and one sack, with junior linebacker Justin McMahon adding 29 tackles (including a team-high 17 solo) with three for a loss.  Junior linebacker Chanan Demery has 23 tackles of his own and leads all Spartan players with four interceptions, and his 1.0 interceptions per game rank second in Division III.  Junior defense ends Cameron Brown has registered a team-best 5.5 tackles for a loss, and junior linebacker Alex Habeeb and junior defensive lineman Dan Techman each have a pair of sacks for the campaign.  Senior cornerback Nick Kwon has totaled 18 tackles and two interceptions, and leads the team with eight pass breakups.

Thiel will enter Saturday's game with a 2-3 overall record, including a 1-1 road ledger, and will be looking to put an end to a two-game losing streak.  The team is coming off its bye week, after suffering a 62-14 loss to Washington & Jefferson in its last game.  The Tomcats have averaged 34.4 points per game this season on 393.6 yards of offense, coming on 193.6 rushing yards and 200.0 passing yards per contest.  Defensively, the team has yielded 39.4 points per game on 461.6 yards, including 206.8 yards per game on the ground and 254.8 through the air.  Thiel has a +6 turnover margin during the year.

Senior quarterback Ryan Radke has attempted every pass this season for the Tomcats, completing 48.8% of his passes for 1,000 yards and 10 touchdowns with four interceptions.  He also leads the team in rushing yards, carrying the ball 64 times for 424 yards and four TDs, with sophomore running back Nick Barca adding 287 yards and one TD.  The team's receiving corps is led by a pair of freshmen, with Eugene Bailey tallying a team-best 19 receptions for 295 yards and two touchdowns, and DeShawon Bracy collecting 16 passes for 312 yards and three TDs.

Sophomore linebacker Tyrone Bynum leads the team with 40 tackles (20 solo) and eight tackles for a loss, while junior linebacker Jake Elk has 35 tackles, including 3.5 for a loss, and is tied with sophomore cornerback Richard Proper for the team lead with two interceptions.  The Tomcats' sack leader is Joe Krimm with two on the campaign.

The series between the Spartans and the Tomcats dates back to the 1970 season, with Thiel holding a 9-7 edge in the all-time matchup, and the two teams splitting the eight previous matchups in Cleveland, 4-4.  The Spartans have won each of the last four games against Thiel, including a 23-16 win at home in 2014 and a 41-6 road win last year.

During last year's win, the Spartans outscored the Tomcats 34-0 over the final three quarters, en route to the victory.  Quarterback Rob Cuda led the offense, completing 20-of-31 passes for 250 yards and three touchdowns, while rushing for an additional 91 yards and a fourth score, coming on a career-long 73-yard run in the third quarter.  Linebacker Andrew Banathy led the defense with six solo tackles.

Case Western Reserve is coached by Greg Debeljak, who has a career record of 87-41 (.680) during his 13 seasons with the team.  Debeljak has led the Spartans to four UAA Championships in the last nine years with three consecutive undefeated (10-0) regular seasons and NCAA Playoff berths from 2007-09.  Since the beginning of the 2007 season, Case Western Reserve has posted an outstanding overall record of 74-24, earning Debeljak and his assistants the UAA Coaching Staff of the Year award four times (2007-09, '11).

Thiel is led by first-year Head Coach Dan Blume, who was named the 26th head coach in the program's history in December.  Blume previously served as an assistant coach at Division III Mercyhurst, and is a 2006 graduate of the University of Mount Union.

CWRU is one of 28 remaining unbeaten teams in Division III, and the last remaining undefeated team in both the PAC and the UAA this season.  The Spartans' 5-0 start is their best since the team won its first seven games during the 2010 season, and marks the seventh time in program history that CWRU has opened a season with five-consecutive wins.  Case Western Reserve is tied with 14th-ranked Thomas More for the lead in the PAC standings, with each tallying a 4-0 conference record entering Saturday's games.

CWRU sophomore defensive end Cameron Brown was named the UAA Football Athlete of the Week for Defense, while sophomore wide receiver Justin Phan earned the conference's weekly honor for his play on special teams.  Brown led the Spartans with 10 tackles on Saturday, including 2.5 for a loss and half-a-sack, while Phan returned six punts in the game for an average of 17.5 yards per return.  Brown was also named the PAC Rookie of the Week for his play in the win over Bethany, becoming the second Spartan player this season to earn the honor.

The Spartans are 42-18 all-time in home games at DiSanto Field, which first opened during the 2005 season.  Included in the overall record is a 12-4 record at home since the start of the 2013 season, good for a .750 winning percentage.  Case Western Reserve is 2-0 at home this year, outscoring its two opponents 98-45 at DiSanto Field.

In recent years, Homecoming has been a boost for the Spartans on the field, with the team winning its Homecoming game in seven of the last nine years, including a stretch of five-straight Homecoming wins from 2007 through 2011.  The majority of the Spartans' recent wins on Homecoming have been one-sided, with six of the seven victories over the last nine years being decided by at least two touchdowns, including a 63-14 win over Hiram on October 24, 2009, marking the second-most points scored in a game in CWRU history, and a 45-14 over Waynesburg University last season.

Case Western Reserve continued to climb in the two major Division III football polls this week.  The Spartans received 26 votes in the latest rankings, the fourth-most among teams outside the top-25, and 27 votes in the AFCA Poll, seventh among teams outside the top-25.  This week's vote totals mark the most the Spartans have received in each poll this year.

The Spartans have been one of the best teams in the country in both running the ball and stopping the run this season.  Case Western Reserve leads the PAC and is 11th among all Division III teams with 282.0 rushing yards per game in 2015, rushing for at least 198 yards in each of its five games this season, including back-to-back efforts of over 300 yards on the ground the last two weeks.  Meanwhile, the CWRU defense leads the PAC and is sixth in Division III with 57.2 rushing yards allowed per game, and has held each of its five opponents to under 75 rushing yards.

Junior running back Jacob Burke has registered a career-high in rushing yards each of the last three weeks, including a 193-yard effort with a pair of touchdowns at Bethany last week.  During the last three games, Burke has run for 539 yards and seven touchdowns, and his 7.82 yards per carry this season leads all PAC rushers and ranks eighth among DIII players.