Spartans to Welcome Bethany to Cleveland for Homecoming

Spartans to Welcome Bethany to Cleveland for Homecoming

2017 Case Western Reserve University Football
Game #5 – #17 CWRU (4-0, 3-0 PAC, 0-0 UAA) vs. Bethany College (0-5, 0-2 PAC)
Saturday, October 7, 2017 · 1:00 p.m. ET · Cleveland, Ohio (DiSanto Field)

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Click here for the complete game notes in .pdf format

No. 17 Case Western Reserve University (4-0, 3-0 PAC, 0-0 UAA) will welcome Bethany College (0-5, 0-3 PAC) to DiSanto Field in Cleveland, Ohio for the Spartans' annual Homecoming Game on Saturday, October 7th.  Kickoff for the game is scheduled for 1:00 p.m.

Case Western Reserve has won its first four games this season and 13 of its last 14 games dating back to last season.  The Spartans are tied for the lead in the Presidents' Athletic Conference with a 3-0 league ledger, and have won both of their home games during the campaign.  CWRU is averaging a PAC-best 41.8 points per game (17th in Division III) on 477.5 yards of offense (26th in DIII), including 310.2 passing yards (25th in DIII) and 167.3 rushing yards.  Defensively, the team has allowed just 14.8 points per game (second in the PAC and 33rd in DIII) on 240.5 yards (17th in DIII and first in the PAC), including 168.8 passing yards and 71.8 rushing yards (15th in DIII, first in the PAC).  The Spartans hold a 32:18 to 27:42 edge in time of possession, and a neutral turnover margin.

Senior quarterback Rob Cuda has completed 61.3% of his passes this season for 1,180 yards and 12 touchdowns with just three interceptions, while rushing for another 122 yards and a score.  Senior running back Jacob Burke has 374 yards on the ground (4.5 per carry) and eight touchdowns.  Junior wide receiver Justin Phan has 27 receptions for 302 yards and three touchdowns, with senior wide receiver Zak Hurd adding 11 receptions for 353 yards a score, and senior running back Aaron Aguilar catching 10 passes for 131 yards and three TDs.

Senior linebacker Justin McMahon has a team-leading 21 tackles this season, with senior linebackers Alex Habeeb and Andrew Banathy and senior defensive end Dan Techman each adding 20 apiece.  Junior defensive tackle Ian Henderson leads the team with 5.0 tackles for a loss, both Techman and junior defensive end Cameron Brown have a team-leading 2.5 sacks, and sophomore defensive backs Patrick Crossey and Munyaradzi Mangwende each have three pass breakups.  Henderson leads the team with two fumbles forced this season, and Habeeb, Crossey, and sophomore cornerbacks Kevin Chrissis and Luke Bedell have all notched an interception.

On special teams, Phan has returned 11 punts for an average of 11.1 yards, and senior Cody Calhoun has eight kick returns for 23.2 yards per return.  Although the Spartans are yet to attempt a field goal this season, senior kicker Ben Carniol has made 21-of-22 extra point attempts, and freshman punter Quinn Saluan has averaged 38.8 yards on 13 punts, with seven inside the opponents' 20-yard line.

At 0-5 overall, Bethany is still looking for its first win of the season, and stands at 0-3 in PAC play and 0-2 in road contests.  The Bison have been outscored by an average of 36.6 to 13.4 this year, while suffering from a 27:13 to 32:47 deficit in time of possession and have a +1 turnover margin.  The offense is averaging 279.0 yards per game (148.0 passing and 131.0 rushing), while the defense has yielded 394.4 per contest (146.0 passing and 248.4 rushing).

Quarterback Chase Kinemond has completed 54.4% of his passes this season for 705 yards with two touchdowns and three interceptions, while rushing for another 223 yards and three touchdowns.  Raekwon Wright is the team's leading runner with 341 yards and a pair of scores, and has paced the team with 20 receptions on the year, going for 79 yards.  Shaq Ellis has caught 19 passes for 171 yards and two touchdowns, and Darius Taylor has 11 receptions for 106 yards.

Will Gatling leads the Bison with 50 total tackles this season, including 4.0 for a loss, a sack and an interception.  Khallid Pierce has paced the squad with 7.0 total tackles for a loss and 4.0 sacks, with Collin Johnston, Lee Sanders, and George Reid also tallying picks during the campaign.

Raekwon Wright returns both kicks and punts for the Bison, averaging 11.0 yards per punt return and 21.1 yards per kick return.  Kicker Chris Ray has gone 0-for-2 on field goal tries and 7-for-8 on extra point attempts, while Kinemond also punts for Bethany, averaging 40.2 yards per punt.

Case Western Reserve is coached by Greg Debeljak, a 1988 graduate of John Carroll University, who has a career record of 95-42 (.693) 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 82-25 (.766), earning Debeljak and his assistants the UAA Coaching Staff of the Year award five times (2007-09, '11, '16).

The Bison are under the leadership of fifth-year Head Coach Bill Garvey, a 1997 graduate of Iona.  During his time with the team, Bethany has tallied an 18-28 overall record.

Bethany leads the overall series between the two teams, which dates back to the 1970 season, 13-4.  However, all but three of the games were played prior to 1984, and the Spartans have won four of the last five meetings, including two-straight and two of three since rejoining the PAC as a football affiliate member.  CWRU is 1-7 all-time at home against the Bison.

Last year, the Spartans topped Bethany 37-14, as the Spartans outgained the Bison 515-147 overall, including a 327-70 yard edge on the ground.  Jacob Burke rushed for a career-high 193 yards with two touchdowns in the game, and Rob Cuda added 88 rushing yards and a pair of scores, while Justin Phan finished the game with seven receptions for 64 yards and a touchdown.  Defensively, Cameron Brown registered 10 tackles, including 2.5 for a loss and 0.5 a sack.

The Spartans are coming off a 35-14 win over St. Vincent College in Latrobe, Pennsylvania last Saturday.  Rob Cuda registered a career-high 357 passing yards and accounted for all five of the team's touchdowns (throwing one to each of four different receivers and rushing for a another), while Zak Hurd notched career highs with five receptions and 148 yards.  The CWRU defense held St. Vincent scoreless on 119 yards through three quarters, and to just 275 total yards in Saturday's game.

Bethany fell to Carnegie Mellon 45-14 at home last Saturday, falling behind 38-0 before getting on the board in the third quarter.  Chase Kinemond led the team with 81 rushing yards in the game, and Will Catling recorded seven tackles, including a sack and two total for a loss.

Homecoming has been a boost for the Spartans on the field in recent years, with the team winning its Homecoming game in eight of the last 10 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 seven of the eight victories over the last 10 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 48-21 win over Thiel last season.

The one close homecoming victory for CWRU in the last decade was a thrilling 24-23 win over Allegheny in 2010 that was decided by a blocked kick in overtime by former Spartan Jacob Adams.  The overtime victory extended the Spartans' stretch of consecutive regular season wins to 35, a streak that eventually reached 38 games, the longest in the program's history.

Adding to this year's Homecoming festivities for CWRU athletics will be the induction of six new members to the Spartan Club Hall of Fame, who will be recognized during halftime of the football game.  This year's inductees include football player and track and field athlete David Kallevig (CWRU '05), men's basketball player Carson Oren (CWRU '06), swimmer Meredith Stakem (CWRU '03), football and baseball player Edward Trebets (CWRU '93), track & field athlete Jack Larimer (WRU '63) and special category inductee Dr. Si Ostrach.  The six will join the 360 members previously enshrined, since the club's inception in 1975.


CWRU senior quarterback Rob Cuda and senior defensive end Dan Techman were named the UAA Offensive and Defensive Player of the Week, respectively, following the team's win over Saint Vincent.  It was the sixth UAA Athlete of the Week honor for Cuda, and the first for Techman.


The Spartans are 46-19 all-time in home games at DiSanto Field, which first opened during the 2005 season.  Included in the overall record is a 16-5 mark at home since the start of the 2013 season, good for a .762 winning percentage.  Case Western Reserve is 6-1 at home over the last two years, outscoring its last six opponents 279-137 at DiSanto Field.

The Spartans moved up to #17 in the Week 5 poll, after checking in at no. 18 in each of the previous two weeks.  CWRU joined 16th-ranked Washington and Jefferson as ranked PAC teams, while Carnegie Mellon received votes in this week's rankings.

Zak Hurd
is third among all NCAA Division III players with 32.09 yards per reception this season.  The senior has caught 11 passes for 353 yards and a touchdown this season, surpassing his career totals for all three categories entering the campaign.

The Spartans' third down defense has been among the best in Division III in 2017.  CWRU is holding its opposition to just a 20.0% third down conversion rate to lead all PAC squads and rank fifth overall among DIII teams.  The Spartans are also 16th in Division III and lead the PAC with just 50 first downs allowed during the year.

CWRU is the least penalized team in the PAC this season, averaging just 4.25 per game (12th in DIII) for 38.0 yards per game.

With his career day last Saturday, Rob Cuda became just the third quarterback in school history with over 6,000 career passing yards, joining former Spartans Dan Whalen (9,724 yards) and Eli Grant (6.792 yards).  He also surpassed Grant to move into second place in school history with 60 career passing TDs, while his 1,744 rushing yards are the eighth most ever by a Spartan, and his 21 career rushing TDs are the fifth most in program history, and tied with Whalen for the most ever by a CWRU quarterback.