Freshman QB Saxton Shines in #19 CWRU’s 49-23 Win at Grove City

Freshman QB Saxton Shines in #19 CWRU’s 49-23 Win at Grove City

Case Western Reserve University freshman quarterback Drew Saxton threw for 361 yards and five touchdowns in his just his second collegiate game, as the 19th-ranked Spartans began their Presidents' Athletic Conference title defense with a 49-23 win at Grove City College in Grove City, Pennsylvania on Saturday night.

The win was the 12th-consecutive regular season win for the Spartans, who improved to 2-0 on the season and to 1-0 in the PAC.  Grove City dropped to 1-2 on the year, and fell to 0-2 in the conference.

Saxton completed 24-of-34 pass attempts during the game and did not throw an interception, on his way to recording the first 300-yard game of his collegiate career.  While seven different receivers caught at least one pass from Saxton, sophomore wide receiver Colt Morgan was the primary beneficiary, catching six passes for 76 yards and matching former Spartan Jason Cellura's record of four receiving touchdowns in a game, originally set in 2002 against Kalamazoo.  Junior running back Sam Jenkins added two receptions for 124 yards and a touchdown, while carrying the ball eight times for 56 yards, and senior wide receiver Luke DiFrancesco secured seven receptions for 63 yards on Saturday.

Saxton started the game off hot, completing each of his first seven passes.  The two teams would each exchange drives that stalled on failed fourth down conversions to start the game, before the Spartans would get on the board on their second drive of the evening.  Saxton capped off the six play, 65 yard drive with an 18-yard touchdown pass to Morgan to put CWRU ahead 7-0.

After the CWRU defense forced a three-and-out, junior running back Sam Jenkins put the Spartans' back on the Wolverines' doorstep with a 53 yard catch and run, followed by runs of six and five yards.  On the next play, Saxton connected with Morgan again, with the receiver making an over-the-shoulder grab in the corner of the end zone for a five-yard score, extending the lead to 14-0.  Saxton and Jenkins hooked up again on the first play of the second quarter, this time on a 71-yard long pass to extend the lead to 21-0.

The Wolverines got on the board with 10:23 remaining in the first half, picking up a safety after a high snap on a CWRU punt went out the back of the Spartans' end zone, cutting the lead to 21-2.  Grove City added a touchdown with 38 second remaining in the half on an 18-yard touchdown pass from Randall Labrie to Cody Gustafson, trimming the Spartans' advantage to 21-9 heading into halftime.

Saxton completed 12 of his first 13 pass attempts in the game, and finished the first half 16-of-22 for 272 yard and three touchdowns.

Junior safety and team co-captain Patrick Crossey intercepted a pass to end Grove City's first drive of the second half, and the Spartans offense followed with a six-play, 53 yard drive, capped off by a five-yard pass from Saxton to Morgan to build the advantage to 35-9.  Later in the quarter, Saxton found Morgan for a touchdown again, this time on a slant from 28 yards out, to put CWRU ahead 42-9.

Grove City would score a pair of touchdowns in the fourth quarter to pull back within 19 points of the Spartans, but a late 26-yard scoring run by freshman Donald Day III, the first of his career, all but locked up the game for CWRU.

The Spartans finished the game with 524 yards of offense, including 151 on the ground and 373 through the air.  The CWRU defense limited the Wolverines to 387 total yards in the game.  Junior linebacker Isaac Withrow recorded a career-high 10 tackles in the game, including half a sack, while senior defensive end Cameron Brown finished the game with six tackles, one sack and two quarterback hurries.  Junior cornerback Luke Bedell added six tackles and a career-high four pass breakups.

Case Western Reserve will return home next Saturday, September 22nd, to host Thiel College at DiSanto Field in Cleveland, Ohio at 7:00 p.m.