2017 Case Western Reserve University Football
Game #8 – #17 CWRU (7-0, 6-0 PAC, 0-0 UAA) vs. Washington University (2-5, 0-1 UAA)
Saturday, October 28, 2017 · 12:00 p.m. ET · Cleveland, Ohio (DiSanto Field)
Live Stats: http://athletics.case.edu/sports/fball/2017-18/boxscores/20171028_swxk.xml
Click here for the complete game notes in .pdf format
17th-ranked Case Western Reserve University (7-0, 6-0 PAC, 0-0 UAA) will take a break from Presidents' Athletic Conference play this week, when the team returns home to DiSanto Field for a noon matchup against University Athletic Association rival Washington University (2-5, 0-1 UAA) in Cleveland, Ohio.
SCOUTING THE SPARTANS
Case Western Reserve has won its first seven games this season, including a perfect 6-0 record in PAC play and a 3-0 home ledger. The Spartans have averaged 44.0 points per game (first in the PAC, 11th in DIII) on 472.9 yards of offense (third in the PAC, 17th in DIII), including 301.9 passing yards (second in the PAC, 18th in DIII) and 171.0 rushing yards per game. The defense leads the PAC with just 13.9 points allowed (24th in DIII), 222.0 total yards (sixth in DIII), 102.4 rushing yards (41st in DIII) per game, and 119.6 passing yards allowed per contest (sixth in DIII). The Spartans average 32:04 time of possession per game, and have a +3 turnover margin.
Senior quarterback Rob Cuda has completed 62.3% of his passes and thrown for 21 touchdowns with just five interceptions, and is second in the PAC with 1,962 passing yards. He has also run for 216 yards and five touchdowns this season. 16 different Spartans have caught at least one pass this year, led junior wide receiver Justin Phan (36 catches, 398 yards, 5 TDs) and senior wide receiver Zak Hurd (22 catches, 567 yards, 2 TDs), who is fifth in Division III with 25.77 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 (14 catches, 260 yards, 1 TD). The CWRU ground game has been anchored by senior Jacob Burke, who has carried the ball 130 times for 581 yards and 11 touchdowns.
Senior linebacker Justin McMahon leads the team with 39 tackles, including 5.5 for a loss and two fumble recoveries, and senior linebacker Andrew Banathy has added 38 tackles and is second on the squad with 7.5 tackles for a loss and three 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, and senior defensive end Dan Techman has chipped in 36 tackles, including 5.5 for a loss and 2.5 sacks. Sophomore safety Patrick Crossey has a team-best four pass breakups and three interceptions, with senior linebacker Alex Habeeb, sophomore cornerbacks Kevin Chrissis and Luke Bedell, and freshman defensive back Nick Kadlecik all tallying one of the team's seven interceptions during the year.
Senior placekicker Ben Carniol has made three-of-five field goal tries and 39-of-41 extra point attempts. Freshman punter Quinn Saluan has punted 17 times for an average of 39.1 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 14 kick returns for an average of 23.1 yards.
SCOUTING THE BEARS
After winning the SAA and qualifying for the NCAA DIII Playoffs last year, the Bears have struggled as an independent team in 2017 against one of the toughest schedules in Division III, going 2-5 overall, including an 0-2 road mark. Washington's offense is averaging 25.1 points per game on 366.7 yards of offense, including 112.1 rushing yards and 254.6 passing yards. Defensively, the team has allowed 28.7 points per game on 421.0 yards (190.4 rushing yards and 230.6 passing yards). The Bears have a -10 turnover margin and their opponents have a 36:38 to 23:22 edge in time of possession this year.
Sophomore quarterback Johnny Davidson has 64.9% of his passes for 1,490 yards with 11 touchdowns and nine interceptions, while rushing for 217 yards and three scores. Sophomore running back John Fisher has 344 yards on the ground and a pair of scores. The team's top receivers include senior Marcus Ramspott (43 catches, 380 yards, 1 TD) and junior Jason Singer (22 catches, 331 yards, 4 TDs).
Sophomore linebacker Jarrod Huther leads the team with 62 tackles, including 6.5 for a loss and 3.0 sacks. Junior linebacker Jake Coon has added 52 tackles, while pacing the squad with a pair of interceptions. Senior defensive tackle Nick Leduc leads all Washington players with 8.5 tackles for a loss and five sacks during the campaign.
Senior Dan Kalvaitis has made three-of-six field goal tries and each of his 22 extra point attempts during the year, and Davidson has handled punting duties for the Bears as well, booting the ball 30 times for an average of 41.8 yards per punt. Senior Nate Lowis leads the team with 24.7 yards per kick return, and freshman Nick Cione has returned 11 punts for an average of 15.3 yards.
CWRU Head Coach Greg Debeljak has now moved within two wins of 100 for his career, and stands at 98-42 (.700) 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 85-25, (good for a .773 winning percentage), earning Debeljak and his assistants the UAA Coaching Staff of the Year award five times (2007-09, 2011, and 2016).
Washington is under the leadership of Larry Kindbom, a 1974 graduate of Kalamazoo College. Kindbom has compiled a 176-113 record during his 28 seasons with the Bears, and a 204-143-1 overall record during his 34 years as a head coach.
Washington leads the all-time series 20-11, with the Spartans holding a 6-11 record in games played against the Bears in Cleveland. However, the Spartans have held the edge of late, winning six of the last 10 meetings and each of the last two.
Case Western Reserve dominated last year's matchup, winning 56-38 over the Bears, behind 707 yards of total offense and 435 rushing yards, the second-highest single game total in program history. Rob Cuda set a program record with 191 rushing yards by a quarterback, while completing 20-of-33 passes for 272 yards and three touchdowns. Jacob Burke added 164 yards and three touchdowns on the ground, with senior Myles Anthony contributing a pair of rushing scores. Patrick Crossey had a team-high 10 tackles and Justin McMahon added nine in the game.
With Washington scheduled to join the College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin (CCIW) as a football affiliate member next season, precluding the team from continuing to compete in the UAA, Saturday's game will be the final scheduled matchup between the two teams, ending the series which dates back to the start of the UAA in 1985.
LAST TIME OUT
Case Western Reserve turned in a dominating defensive effort against Geneva's triple-option offense last Saturday, claiming a 45-7 win over the Golden Tornadoes. The CWRU defense held Division III's leader rusher entering the week to just 53 yards and forced six turnovers in the game, including a 68-yard fumble return for a touchdown by Justin McMahon. On offense, Rob Cuda and Jacob Burke each ran for a pair of touchdowns.
Washington is coming off a bye last week, but will carry the momentum of a 55-20 home win over Buena Vista into Saturday's matchup. Johnny Davidson threw for 173 yards and a pair of scores in the game, while running for 69 additional yards and another score, as the Bears outgained 175 to 38 on the ground. Defensively, Washington finished the game with 11 tackles for a loss, including four from Nick Leduc, who also registered a pair of sacks and forced a fumble during the contest.
IN THE POLLS
The Spartans held tight at 17th in the D3football.com Top-25, released on Sunday evening. The Spartans are one of two PAC teams ranked in the organization's latest poll, along with 16th-ranked Washington and Jefferson, while Carnegie Mellon received votes. CWRU was also ranked 17th in this week's AFCA Top-25.
HOME FIELD ADVANTAGE
The Spartans are 47-19 all-time in home games at DiSanto Field, which first opened during the 2005 season. Included in the overall record is a 17-5 mark at home since the start of the 2013 season, good for a .773 winning percentage. Case Western Reserve is 7-1 at home over the last two years, outscoring its last six opponents 312-140 at DiSanto Field.
AMONG THE UNDEFEATED
The Spartans are one of 14 undefeated teams left in Division III football, and one of two remaining in the PAC, along with Washington and Jefferson. Case Western Reserve currently holds a half-game lead over W&J in the PAC standings with a 6-0 conference record.
CWRU has won 13-straight games played during the month of October, dating back to the 2015 season. The Spartans are 3-0 so far in October this season after Saturday's win over Geneva, and will aim to close out the month with a perfect record for the third-straight year against the Bears on Saturday.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Case Western Reserve senior linebacker Justin McMahon was named both the PAC and the UAA Football Defensive Athlete of the Week, after his standout performance during the team's win at Geneva. In addition to leading the Spartans' strong defensive performance and his fumble return for a touchdown, McMahon also recorded a season-high 10 tackles (three solo) during the victory. The awards were the first weekly conference honors of his career. The team co-captain leads the Spartans with 39 total tackles this year.
SPREADING THE FIELD
Seventeen different Spartans have scored at least one of the team's 43 touchdowns this season, which including 21 passing touchdowns, 20 rushing and two defensive. Eleven different players have caught at least one touchdown pass this year, while five Spartans have ran for at least one score.
Rob Cuda became just the second quarterback in CWRU history to break 7,000 yards for his career, joining former Spartan Dan Whalen (2006-09), who finished her career with 9,724 yards… He is also 162 rushing yards away from become the eighth player in school history with over 2,000 career yards, and ranks fourth in school history with 25 career rushing touchdowns… Jacob Burke is ninth in school history with 1,738 career rushing yards and is third in school history with 28 career rushing touchdowns, including 27 over the last two seasons… His 5.5 career yards per carry are the most among CWRU players in program history… Burke's 11 rushing touchdowns this year are tied with former Spartan Corey Checkan's 2007 campaign for the fourth-most in a single season in program history… Justin Phan is two receptions away from 100 for his career... Zech Medved is 122 yards away from 1,000 for his career… Ben Carniol is second among kickers and sixth overall in school history with 182 career points… Patrick Crossey is six tackles away from 100 for his career… Cody Calhoun is five tackles away from 100 over his time as a Spartan, and his 24.4 average on kick returns over his career is the best in program history… Senior linebacker Zach Lyon is seven tackles from 100 for his career.