Quick Start Leads #17 Spartans to 45-28 UAA Win over Wash U.

Quick Start Leads #17 Spartans to 45-28 UAA Win over Wash U.

The 17th-ranked Case Western Reserve University Spartans jumped out to a 21-0 lead after one quarter and never looked back, en route to a 45-28 win over University Athletic Association opponent Washington University (Mo.) on Saturday afternoon in Cleveland, Ohio.

The Spartans remained undefeated on the season with a perfect 8-0 record.  The win also put CWRU in a tie for first place in the UAA with Carnegie Mellon, and eliminated Washington from contention for the conference championship.  CWRU will meet Carnegie Mellon on November 11th in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, with the winner claiming the UAA Title outright.  Washington dropped to 2-6 overall and finished their UAA schedule with a 0-2 record.

Case Western Reserve forced five fumbles without committing one during the game, and dominated time of possession on Saturday, controlling the ball for nearly 41 minutes of game time.  The Spartans outgained the Bears 263-81 on the ground and 463-369 overall, including 167 rushing yards and two touchdowns for senior running back Jacob Burke.  Senior quarterback Rob Cuda completed 15-of-24 passes for 200 yards, with touchdowns to senior running back Aaron Aguilar, senior tight end Zech Medved and senior wide receiver Zak Hurd.

Senior safety Cody Calhoun led the team with 10 tackles, including one for a loss, a fumble recovery and an interception.  Senior cornerback Adrian Cannon and freshman defensive back Nicholas Kadlecik each added interceptions, with senior linebackers Andrew Banathy and Justin McMahon each forcing a fumble.

Cannon's pick came on the first play of scrimmage on the day, giving the Spartans possession on the Bears' 32-yard line, and eventually setting up a three-yard pass from Cuda for Aguilar for his team-leading fifth touchdown reception of the year.  Burke would add a pair of touchdowns in the first quarter, scoring from nine yards out on the team's second drive of the day, and from 10 yards out on the third drive, giving CWRU a 21-0 lead heading into the second quarter.

Washington would get on the board with a 44-yard touchdown drive with 10:09 remaining in the second quarter, cutting the lead to 21-7, but a field goal by senior Ben Carniol extended the Spartans' advantage back to 24-7 with 4:37 left in the half.  The score remained 24-7 into the break.

The Spartans drove 69 yards on 10 plays to begin the third quarter, scoring on a 20-yard pass from Cuda to Hurd.  It was the third receiving touchdown of the year for Hurd, pushing the lead to 31-7.  After a Washington touchdown with 7:07 remaining in the quarter, a quick six-play, 65 yard drive led to a 15-yard pass from Cuda to Medved to give CWRU a 38-14.  With just seven seconds remaining in the third quarter, sophomore running back Sam Jenkins reached the end zone from six yards out for his second score of the year to put CWRU ahead 45-14 heading into the fourth quarter.

Washington would strike for two late touchdowns in the fourth quarter, but the Spartans would run out the clock for their eighth-straight victory.

With Washington joining the CCIW as a football affiliate member next year, Saturday's game marked their final UAA game, and the final game of the series between the two teams, dating back to the conference's founding in 1985.  The win was CWRU's third-straight against the Bears, and their seventh in the last 11 meetings.

The Spartans will return to Presidents' Athletic Conference play next weekend, with a key league matchup against Westminster College at DiSanto Field on Saturday, November 4 at 1:00 p.m.  The game will also be 'Senior Day' for Case Western Reserve, with the team's senior players being recognized prior to the start of the game.