Case Western Reserve University senior running back Jacob Burke matched his own school record with four rushing touchdowns, senior quarterback Rob Cuda added his seventh-career 100-yard rushing effort, and senior wide receiver Giuseppe Orsini caught a pair of touchdown passes, as the 17th-ranked Spartans topped Grove City College 42-10 in the home-opening game under the lights at DiSanto Field in Cleveland, Ohio on Saturday night.
The Spartans improved to 2-0 on the season with the victory, including a 1-0 record in Presidents' Athletic Conference games. Grove City fell to 0-3 on the campaign with the loss, with a 0-1 PAC mark.
Burke carried the ball 24 times for 104 yards in the game. His four rushing touchdowns on Saturday marked the second time in his career he matched the program record, after running for four scores against Washington University (Mo.) last year. It is the fifth time overall in program history a CWRU player has run for four touchdowns in a game. Burke has run for 161 yards and five touchdowns through his first two games this season.
Cuda went 14-of-27 through the air for 267 yards and two touchdowns and added 118 yards on the ground. Eight different receivers caught at least one pass in the game for CWRU, including a team-best four for junior Justin Phan, while senior Zak Hurd finished with 82 receiving yards on a pair of long catches.
Defensively, the Spartans held their opponent scoreless in the second half for the second-straight game, limiting the Wolverines to just 102 second half yards of offense. The Spartans outgained Grove City overall by a 553-238 margin in the game. Juniors Ian Henderson and Cameron Brown each had eight tackles in the game to lead the CWRU defense, with Henderson adding a pair of forced fumbles and a sack.
The Spartans jumped out to the quick lead in the game, scoring on their first two drives of the contest. CWRU opened the game with a seven-play, 75 yard drive on their first possession of the game, scoring when Cuda found Orsini on a 39-yard pass for their first touchdown connection of the day. After forcing a three-and-out on the next Grove City possession, a 23-yard pass to senior receiver Luke DiFrancesco and a 31 yard pass to Phan setup a one-yard touchdown run for Burke with 6:15 to play in the quarter.
Grove City cut the lead in half with a touchdown on the first play of the second quarter, but Burke's second run into the end zone of the day, this time from four yards out, extended CWRU's lead back to 21-7 with 11:22 left in the half. The Spartans remained up by 14 until the closing seconds of the half, when Grove City cut the lead to 21-10 with a field goal to end the first 30 minutes of play.
The Spartans outgained Grove City 306-136 in the first half, including a 209-72 edge through the air.
Case Western Reserve would break the game open in the second half. Burke added his third score of the game with 10:09 to play in the third quarter, scoring on a 12-yard run. Cuda would hook up with Orsini for a second touchdown catch with 2:38 remaining in the third, this time from 30 yards out, extending the lead to 35-10 by the end of the third quarter.
Burke capped off the scoring on Saturday with a one-yard run early in the fourth quarter to match the program record, and put the game out of reach.
The Spartans continued to perform well defensively on third downs, allowing Grove City to complete just six-of-15 third-down conversions. CWRU opponents have converted just 22.2% of third down attempts this season.
The Spartans will be back at home next weekend, when the team plays host to Waynesburg University at 7:00 p.m. on Saturday, September 23rd.