#17 Spartans Aim to Keep Streak Intact at Geneva on Saturday

#17 Spartans Aim to Keep Streak Intact at Geneva on Saturday

2017 Case Western Reserve University Football
Game #7 – #17 CWRU (6-0, 5-0 PAC, 0-0 UAA) vs. Geneva College (3-3, 2-2 PAC)
Saturday, October 21, 2017 · 7:00 p.m. ET · Beaver Falls, Pa. (Reeves Field)

Live Stats:

Click here for the complete game notes in .pdf format

Case Western Reserve University will look for its seventh win in as many games this season, when the 17th-ranked Spartans (6-0, 5-0 PAC) travel to Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania on Saturday, October 21st to face Presidents' Athletic Conference opponent Geneva College.  Kickoff of Saturday's game is scheduled for 7:00 p.m.

Case Western Reserve has won its first six games this season, including a perfect 5-0 record in PAC play and a 3-0 road ledger.  The Spartans have averaged 43.8 points per game (first in the PAC, ninth in DIII) on 496.2 yards of offense (first in the PAC, ninth in DIII), including 326.7 passing yards (second in the PAC, 11th in DIII) and 169.5 rushing yards per game.  The defense leads the PAC with just 15.0 points allowed (32nd in DIII), 219.7 total yards (fifth in DIII), 82.8 rushing yards (21st in DIII) per game, and 136.8 passing yards allowed per contest (16th in DIII).  The Spartans average 33:01 time of possession per game, and have a -1 turnover margin.

Senior quarterback Rob Cuda has completed 62.2% of his passes and thrown for 20 touchdowns with just three interceptions, and leads the PAC with 1,822 passing yards.  He has also run for 156 yards and three touchdowns this season.  16 different Spartans have caught at least one pass this year, led junior wide receiver Justin Phan (32 catches, 362 yards, 4 TDs) and senior wide receiver Zak Hurd (21 catches, 562 yards, 2 TDs), who is fourth in Division III with 26.09 yards per catch.  Other leading targets for Cuda include senior running back Aaron Aguilar (13 catches, 161 yards, 4 TDs), sophomore tight end Adam Zybko (11 catches, 181 yards, 1 TD) and senior tight end Zech Medved (10 catches, 201 yards, 1 TD).  The CWRU ground game has been anchored by senior Jacob Burke, who has carried the ball 116 times for 514 yards and nine touchdowns.

Senior linebacker Andrew Banathy leads the team with 32 tackles and is second on the squad with 6.5 tackles for a loss and three sacks.  Senior linebacker Justin McMahon has contributed 29 tackles, with senior defensive end Dan Techman adding 26 tackles, including 4.5 for a loss and 2.5 sacks.  Junior defensive end Cameron Brown leads the squad with eight tackles for a loss, 3.5 sacks and two quarterback hurries, while junior defensive tackle Ian Henderson has forced three fumbles.  Sophomore safety Patrick Crossey has a team-best four pass breakups and two interceptions, with senior linebacker Alex Habeeb, and sophomore cornerbacks Kevin Chrissis and Luke Bedell all tallying one of the team's five interceptions during the year.

Senior placekicker Ben Carniol has made two-of-three field goal tries and 33-of-35 extra point attempts.  Freshman punter Quinn Saluan has punted 15 times for an average of 38.7 yards, including seven inside the 20 yard line.  Phan has returned 13 punts for an average of 12.1 yards, and senior safety Cody Calhoun has 13 kick returns for an average of 22.8 yards.

Geneva will enter Saturday's game with a 3-3 overall record, including a 2-2 PAC mark (good for fifth-place in the conference) and a 1-2 home record.  The Golden Tornadoes saw a two-game winning streak come to an end with a loss at Carnegie Mellon last week.  Geneva's run-heavy triple option offense has averaged 30.2 points per game, and leads the PAC and is third in all of Division III with 377.0 rushing yards per game, while adding 56.5 passing yards for 433.5 total yards per game.  Defensively, the Golden Tornadoes have yielded 25.0 points per game on 367.3 total yards (153.3 rushing and 214.0 passing).  The squad has averaged a PAC-best 34:47 time of possession per game (seventh in DIII) and has a -3 turnover margin.

The team's offense is centered on the running game of junior running back Trewon Marshall and senior quarterback Bryan Stafford.  Marshall leads all Division III players with 1,224 rushing yards and is fifth in DIII with 12 rushing TDs, while Stafford has added 524 yards on the ground and four scores.  Stafford has also completed 15-of-31 passes this year for 339 yards, six touchdowns and four interceptions, with junior running back Nick Monteleone, junior wide receiver Harrison Kozlow and senior running back Collin Kendrick all catching a pair of TDs.

Junior safety Joe Shively leads the team with 54 total tackles, two interceptions and two blocked kicks.  Senior defensive tackle Nick Fickes has 4.5 tackles for a loss to pace Geneva, with freshman defensive end Frankie Falcone notching a team-best 1.5 sacks.  Senior cornerback Jared Hogue has five pass breakups and an interception, and junior cornerback Zach Hall has broken up for passes, including a pick.

Senior Andrew Dowler has made two-of-four field goal tries and 19-of-22 extra point attempts, and Shively has punted 18 times for Geneva for an average of 33.6 yards.  Shively is also averaging 12.0 yards per punt return, while Monteleone has returned 14 kicks for an average of 22.6 yards.

CWRU Head Coach Greg Debeljak has now moved within three wins of 100 for his career, and stands at 97-42 (.698) during his 14 years with the program.  The 1998 graduate of John Carroll University 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 overall record of 84-25, (good for a .771 winning percentage), earning Debeljak and his assistants the UAA Coaching Staff of the Year award five times (2007-09, 2011, and 2016).

Geneva is under the leadership of long-time head coach Geno DeMarco, who has spent his entire 25-year career as a head coach at the helm of the Golden Tornadoes.  The 1986 graduate of West Virginia has a ledger of 144-122 over his career.

The Spartans are 4-1 all-time against the Golden Tornadoes, including a 3-0 record since rejoining the PAC as a football affiliate member.  CWRU is 1-1 all-time in games played in Beaver Falls.  Last year in Cleveland, the Spartans were able to pick up a 16-14 win over Geneva, with touchdowns from Jacob Burke on a two-yard run and Joey Spitalli on a seven-yard catch.  Rob Cuda added 117 rushing yards, while defensively, Justin McMahon finished the game with 11 tackles and Cameron Brown added 10 tackles, including two for a loss and a sack.

Case Western Reserve is coming off its best offensive performance of the year during a 63-28 win at Thiel College in Greenville, Pennsylvania last Saturday.  CWRU outgained the Tomcats 604 to 197 in the game, with Rob Cuda throwing for five touchdowns and rushing for a sixth in the win. 

Geneva suffered a 42-27 setback at Carnegie Mellon last Saturday, despite rushing for 482 yards in the game and controlling time of possession, 37:30 to 22:30.  Trewon Marshall finished the game with 215 yards on the ground, with Bryan Stafford adding 144 yards, and Harrison Kozlow caught a pair of touchdown passes.

Despite last weekend's dominating victory, the Spartans fell one spot in the D3football.com Top-25, dropping from 16th to 17th this week.  CWRU is one of two PAC teams currently ranked nationally, along with 15th-ranked Washington and Jefferson, which held tight in this week's rankings.

The Spartans are currently 5-0 in PAC games, and have a half-game lead over both Washington & Jefferson and Westminster, which each stand at 4-0.  CWRU and Washington and Jefferson are the only two remaining undefeated teams in the PAC, and two of just 17 undefeated teams left in all of Division III.

Rob Cuda
claimed the Offensive Player of the Week honor for both the PAC and the UAA last week, after completing 17-of-22 passes for 343 yards with six touchdowns (five passing, one rushing).  Cuda reached the impressive statistical marks without taking a snap in the second half of the game, guiding the team to the end zone in each of the six drives he captained under center.  This was his second UAA Athlete of the Week honor of the season, and his first PAC weekly award this year.

Cuda has thrown at least one touchdown pass to 11 different receivers this year, including four apiece to Justin Phan and Aaron Aguilar, three to Giuseppe Orsini, and two to Zak Hurd.  Cuda has thrown 20 total touchdowns this year to lead the PAC and rank 11th among all NCAA Division III quarterbacks.

Case Western Reserve has won its last 12 games played during the month of October, dating back to the 2015 season.  The Spartans are 2-0 this October, following their win last Saturday over Thiel.

The Spartans have won all three of their road games this season, and have won eight-straight road contests dating back to last year.  CWRU has outscored its opponents 341-137 in the eight games during the streak (42.6 to 17.1 per game), including a 132-56 margin this season.

Case Western Reserve is 26-3 in its last 29 night games dating back to the 2006 season, including an 8-0 record in night games over the last three seasons.  Saturday's game will be the final of three scheduled night games for the Spartans this season, after a 42-10 win over Grove City on September 16th and a 56-21 victory over Waynesburg on September 23rd.

The Spartans' defense is second among all NCAA Division III teams this season, holding opponents to just a 21.5% conversion rate on third down.  CWRU has allowed just 68 total first downs, the best in the PAC this season and fifth among all NCAA Division III squads.

Rob Cuda
passed Eli Grant for second-place in school history in career passing yards (6,875) after Saturday's game, and is second in school history with 68 passing touchdowns… Cuda is eighth in school history with 1,778 rushing yards and fifth with 23 rushing touchdowns… Jacob Burke is 10th in CWRU history with 1,671 rushing yards, and is third in school history with 26 rushing scores… Justin Phan is six receptions shy of 100 for his career and 17 receptions shy of moving into the top-10 in school history in the category… Phan is also second in school history with 602 punt return yards and fifth with a 10.4 average per return… Cody Calhoun is second in school history with 1,195 career kickoff return yards, and the program's all-time leader with 24.4 yards per return… Senior Ben Carniol is sixth in school history with 173 career points and second all-time among kickers in the category.