Junior quarterback Rob Cuda accounted for five touchdowns and threw for a career-high 340 yards, including seven passes for 219 yards and two touchdowns to senior receiver Brendan Lynch, to lead the Spartans to a 48-21 win over Thiel College on Homecoming Saturday at Case Western Reserve University.
The win was the sixth-straight to open the season for the Spartans, who improved to 6-0 overall and to 5-0 in the Presidents' Athletic Conference, remaining tied atop the league's standings with Thomas More with three in-conference games left on the schedule. Thiel suffered its third-straight loss, dropping to 2-4 overall and to 1-3 in the PAC.
Cuda completed 17 of his 22 passes on Saturday, including a pair of long touchdowns to Lynch, while running seven times for 41 yards and another three touchdowns. Lynch finished the game three yards shy of the school receiving record, which he tied earlier this season against Grove City, eclipsing the 200-yard receiving mark for the second time in his career. Junior running back Jacob Burke added 76 rushing yards and a pair of touchdowns in the game.
Case Western Reserve scored on each of its first two drives on Saturday to jump out to a quick 13-0 lead over Thiel. The Spartans needed just two minutes and 17 seconds to drive 68 yards down the field for their first score of the game, as Cuda capped off the drive with a 10-yard touchdown run, his first of three on the day. After the defense forced a three-and-out on the first Thiel drive of the day, the Spartans needed just another minute and 49 seconds to go 58 yards for a touchdown, with Burke completing the drive with a two-yard scoring run. Thiel's Chris Rosales would connect on a 31-yard field goal with 1:43 remaining in the first, cutting the CWRU lead to 13-3 by the end of the quarter.
Cuda and Lynch added to the Spartans' advantage with a pair of big plays in the second quarter. On the first play of the Spartans second drive of the quarter, Cuda found Lynch open over the middle of the field, and the senior receiver took it 60 yards for the touchdown with 8:20 remaining in the half. The two hooked up again with 3:25 remaining in the half, with Lynch collecting a tipped pass and running it 72 yards for the score, marking the longest reception this season by a CWRU player. Thiel would score on a 48-yard touchdown pass from Ryan Radke to DeShawon Bracy, cutting the lead to 20-9 by halftime.
Cuda completed 14 of his 18 passes in the first half for 294 yards and two touchdowns, including five catches for 186 yards by Lynch during the first half alone.
Thiel cut the lead to 12 on a 15-yard touchdown pass from Radke to Jaquan Hicks with 8:49 remaining in the third, but the Spartans struck for three touchdowns in the final six minutes of the period to put the game out of reach for good. After the Thiel score, the Spartans drove 68 yards downfield, scoring on a one-yard run by Cuda, to push the lead to 34-15. On the next drive by the Tomcats, junior linebacker Chanan Demery forced a fumble that was recovered by junior defensive end Jason Lockamy, leading to a six-yard touchdown run by Burke with 2:28 remaining in the third. Thiel fumbled again on the next drive, this one forced by sophomore nose tackle William Graziani and recovered by sophomore defensive end Cameron Brown on the Thiel 13 yard line, setting up a four-yard run by Cuda, his third rushing touchdown of the game, pushing the lead to 48-15.
Thiel scored in the fourth on a 38-yard run by Radke, but the Spartans held onto the lead from there for the 27-point win.
Defensively, junior linebacker Justin McMahon finished with a game-high 11 tackles, with Demery adding 10. The Spartans outgained Thiel 534-380 in the game, including 340-169 edge in the passing game.
The Spartans have now scored at least 35 points in all six games this season, and over 40 points in four of their six contests. Cuda and Burke are tied for the team lead with 11 rushing touchdowns apiece rushing, with Cuda adding another 12 through the air. With his effort on the day, Lynch has now caught 46 passes for 783 yards and nine touchdowns this year, four shy of the school record of 13 set by Bryan Erb last season.
Case Western Reserve has now won eight of its last 10 Homecoming games at DiSanto Field.
The Spartans will be back at home next weekend, playing host to Geneva College at 6:00 p.m. on Saturday, October 22nd at DiSanto Field in Cleveland, Ohio.