18th-Ranked Spartans to Host Waynesburg on Saturday Night

18th-Ranked Spartans to Host Waynesburg on Saturday Night

2017 Case Western Reserve University Football
Game #3 – #18 CWRU (2-0, 1-0 PAC, 0-0 UAA) vs. Waynesburg University (0-3, 0-1 PAC)
Saturday, September 23, 2017 · 7:00 p.m. ET · Cleveland, Ohio (DiSanto Field)

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Click here for the complete game notes in .pdf format


The 18th-ranked Case Western Reserve University Spartans will be back under the lights at DiSanto Field on Saturday, as the Spartans (2-0, 1-0 PAC, 0-0 UAA) play host to the Waynesburg University Yellow Jackets (0-3, 0-1 PAC) at 7:00 p.m. in Cleveland, Ohio for a Presidents' Athletic Conference contest.

Case Western Reserve, 2-0 overall with a 1-0 home ledger, has scored 38.0 points per game this year on 152.0 rushing yards and 285.0 passing yards per contest.  Defensively, the Spartans have allowed just 12.0 points per game on 84.5 rushing yards and 131.5 passing yards.  CWRU has a +2 turnover margin, and has a 33:13-26:47 edge in time of possession this year.

Senior quarterback Rob Cuda has completed 58.8% of his passes for 509 yards and five touchdowns with one interception, and added 126 rushing yards.  The team's leading rusher is senior running back Jacob Burke, who has 160 yards on the ground with five touchdowns.  Junior wide receiver Justin Phan has caught 19 passes for 156 yards and two scores, senior wide receiver Zak Hurd has added four receptions for 122 yards and a touchdown, and senior wide receiver Giuseppe Orsini has two receptions for 69 yards and a pair of scores.

Senior linebacker Justin McMahon leads the team with 14 tackles, including a sack and a fumble recovery, with sophomore safety Patrick Crossey adding 13 tackles and two pass breakups.  Junior defensive tackle Ian Henderson, senior cornerback Adrian Cannon, and sophomore defensive tackle Andrew Lease each have sacks this season as well, with Henderson forcing a pair of fumbles, while Crossey, sophomore cornerback Kevin Chrissis and sophomore cornerback Luke Bedell each have an interception to their name during the campaign.

Senior Ben Carniol has made 10 of his 11 extra point attempts this season, with freshman Quinn Saluan (41.1 yards per punt) and Jacob Burke (27.0 yards per punt) each seeing time at punter.  Justin Phan has returned four punts for an average of 15.8 yards, and senior Cody Calhoun has returned four kicks for an average of 27.2 yards.

The Yellow Jackets, who are 0-3 overall and 0-1 on the road, are averaging 9.0 points per game this season on 50.0 rushing yards and 127.3 passing yards per game.  The team has yielded 25.7 points per contest on 173.0 rushing yards and 151.7 passing yards per outing.  Waynesburg has a -2 turnover margin, and has held an edge in time of possession over their opponents, 30:40 to 29:20.

Quarterback Tyler Perone has completed 43.7% of his passes for 381 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions this season.  Jarves Crews has led the rushing attack with 107 yards and Chad Walker has paced the receiving corps with 15 receptions for 70 yards.

Defensively, middle linebacker Brent Blacharczyk leads the team with 30 tackles, including 3.5 for a loss and a pair of sacks.  Defensive end Drew Glotfelty has a team-best 2.5 sacks, cornerback Deondre' Marable has the Yellow Jackets' only interception, and Erick Ritz has a pair of forced fumbles.

On special teams, Garret Guthrie has made two-of-three field goal attempts and three-of-three extra point tries, while R.J. Leon is averaging 40.4 yards per punt.  Aaron Jenkins has returned seven kicks for an average of 18.7 yards, and Marable has averaged 4.3 yards on his seven punt returns.


Saturday's game will be the fourth all-time meeting between the Spartans and the Yellow Jackets, in a series that first began in 2014.  After Waynesburg won the first game, CWRU has taken the matchup each of the last two seasons.  The Spartans are also 1-0 all-time at home against Waynesburg.

Last year, CWRU triumphed 35-7 against Waynesburg on the road.  Jacob Burke led the way for CWRU with 163 rushing yards and a school-record tying four touchdowns, and Rob Cuda added 83 yards and a score on the ground, while completing 11-of-17 passes for 124 yards.  Defensively, the Spartans limited the Yellow Jackets to 303 total yards of offense, including just 57 rushing yards.

Case Western Reserve is coached by Greg Debeljak, a 1988 graduate of John Carroll University, who has a career record of 93-42 (.689) during his 14 seasons with the team. Debeljak has led the Spartans to five UAA Championships in the last 10 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 80-25 (.762), earning Debeljak and his assistants the UAA Coaching Staff of the Year award five times (2007-09, '11, '16).

The Yellow Jackets under the leadership of interim head coach Chris Smithley, a 2009 graduate of Waynesburg, who is in his first year at the helm of his alma mater after serving as the team's offensive coordinator last year.

The Spartans are coming off a 42-10 win at home against Grove City last Saturday.  The team rushed for 249 yards in the game, paced by 118 from Rob Cuda and 104 yards and four touchdowns on the ground from Jacob Burke.  Cuda also threw for 267 yards, including a pair of touchdown passes to Giuseppe Orsini.  Defensively, CWRU limited the Wolverines to just 238 yards in the game.

Waynesburg suffered 30-20 setback at home against Carnegie Mellon last weekend.  The game was tied 13-13 after three quarters, but the Tartans were able to pull away from the Yellow Jackets in the fourth period.  Waynesburg quarterback Tyler Perone completed 23-of-43 passed for 203 yards and a touchdown in the game.


Despite the dominating victory over Grove City last weekend, the Spartans dropped one spot in this week's D3football.com poll, from 17th to 18th.  The Spartans are one of two PAC teams currently featured in the poll, along with 17th-ranked Washington & Jefferson College.  CWRU was also ranked 21st in the first AFCA Coaches' Top-25 Poll, released earlier this week.

Jacob Burke
became the first player in program history to rush for four touchdowns in a game twice during the team's win over Grove City on Saturday.  Burke scored a touchdown in each quarter during the game, reaching the end zone on two one-yard runs, a four-yard run, and a 12-yard run.  It was the fifth time in program history that a player has run for four scores in a game.  He has run for 160 yards and five touchdowns through two games this season, and his 22 career rushing touchdowns rank as the fourth-most in program history, behind only Brandon McDowell (39), Corey Checkan (32) and Frank Peters (24).  Burke was later named the UAA Offensive Player of the Week following his performance.

CWRU junior defensive tackle Ian Henderson was named to the D3football.com Team of the Week, and was selected as the Presidents' Athletic Conference and University Athletic Association Defensive Player of the Week following his standout performance against Grove City last weekend.  Henderson led the team in tackles with eight (two solo, six assisted), while also recording a sack, 1.5 tackles for a loss and two forced fumbles.  He became the 14th player in program history and first interior defensive lineman to be named to the D3football.com Team of the Week, and the third CWRU player to be named the PAC's Defensive Player of the Week since the Spartans joined the conference as a football affiliate member prior to the 2014 campaign.

With Rob Cuda's 118-yard rushing effort on Saturday, he now ranks eighth all-time in program history in rushing yards with 1,748 over his career.  The 100-yard game on the ground was the first of the season for Cuda, and the seventh of his career as a Spartan.  He also ranks fourth in school history with 5,562 career passing yards, trailing only Dan Whalen (9,724), Eli Grant (6,792) and Nick Leskiewicz (5,815) in the CWRU record book.

The Spartans are 45-19 all-time in home games at DiSanto Field, which first opened during the 2005 season.  Included in the overall record is a 15-5 mark at home since the start of the 2013 season, good for a .750 winning percentage.  Case Western Reserve is 5-1 at home over the last two years, outscoring its last six opponents 223-116 at DiSanto Field.

Case Western Reserve is 25-3 in its last 28 night games dating back to the 2006 season, including a 7-0 record in night games over the last three seasons.  Saturday's game will be the second of three scheduled night games this season for the Spartans, with a 7:00 p.m. game on the road remaining against Geneva on October 21.  The Spartans topped Grove City under the lights at DiSanto Field last weekend.

The Spartans have not allowed their opponents to score in the second half of a game this season.  CWRU has outscored its two opponents 48-0 in the final 30 minutes so far during the campaign.