2018 Case Western Reserve University Football
Game #8 – #22 CWRU (6-1, 5-1 PAC, 1-0 UAA) at Bethany College (3-4, 3-3 PAC)
Saturday, October 27, 2018 · 2:00 p.m. · Bethany, W. Va. (Bison Stadium)
Complete Game Notes (.PDF): https://athletics.case.edu/sports/fball/2018-19/files/fb_BET_game_notes18.pdf
Live Stats: https://portal.stretchinternet.com/bethanywv/
The 22nd-ranked Case Western Reserve University football team will play its final regular season road game of the 2018 season this weekend, when the team travels to Bethany, West Virginia on Saturday, October 27th for a 2:00 p.m. game against the Bethany College Bison.
SCOUTING THE SPARTANS
The Spartans will enter Saturday's contest on a two-game winning streak and with a 6-1 overall record, including a 3-1 record in road games. CWRU stands at 5-1 in the Presidents' Athletic Conference, and with a win on Saturday, could move into a tie for first place with Washington & Jefferson (which has a bye this week). The team is coming off a 27-14 win on the road over Geneva College last Saturday and has won 17 of its last 18 regular season games. Through their first seven games of the season, the Spartans have averaged 40.7 points per game on 497.1 yards of offense (156.4 rushing and 340.7 passing yards), while allowing 18.8 points per game on 305.9 total yards (108.1 rushing and 197.7 passing).
Freshman quarterback Drew Saxton has completed 67.0% of his passes for 2,177 yards and 26 touchdowns with just five interceptions. Junior Sam Jenkins has been the team's leading rusher with 353 yards and two scores on the ground, while also catching five passes for 218 yards and two additional touchdowns. Sophomore running back Zach Hall has added 288 rushing yards and three touchdowns. At wide receiver, sophomore Colt Morgan leads the team with 59 receptions for 864 yards and 16 touchdowns, senior wide receiver Justin Phan has collected 36 passes for 391 yards this year and senior wide receiver Luke DiFrancesco has secured 33 catches for 399 yards and five touchdowns. Defensively, junior linebacker Isaac Withrow and sophomore safety Joshua Smith each lead the team with 57 tackles apiece respectively, while junior safety and co-captain Patrick Crossey has 50 tackles and a team-high two interceptions and four pass breakups. Senior defensive end Cameron Brown has paced the squad with 11.0 sacks, 14.0 tackles for a loss, and four quarterback hurries in 2018. Freshman kicker Robertson Albrecht has accumulated 43 points, making all 37 of his 38 extra point attempts and both of his field goal tries.
CWRU is led by Head Coach Greg Debeljak, a 1988 graduate of John Carroll University, who in his 15th season at the team's helm. He currently holds a 108-44 career record, good for a .711 winning percentage, and has led the team to six UAA Championships, four NCAA playoff appearances, and its first PAC Championship in 2017. Debeljak was named the PAC Coach of the Year last season, while also securing the UAA Coaching Staff of the Year Award for the sixth time in 2017.
SCOUTING THE BISON
The Bison will enter the weekend with a 3-4 overall record, including a 3-3 mark in the PAC, but have lost three of their last four games, including a 17-14 setback at Carnegie Mellon last weekend. Bethany, which sits in a three-way tie for fifth place in the conference, is 2-2 in home games in 2018. The team has averaged 17.9 points per game on 305.3 yards of total offense (178.6 rushing and 126.7 passing), while allowing 19.9 points per contest on 302.3 yards of offense (110.7 rushing and 191.6 passing).
The Bison have been led by junior quarterback Carlin Bason, who has completed 56.9% of his passes for 666 yards with four touchdowns and six interceptions, while also leading the squad with 565 rushing yards and seven touchdowns on the ground. Junior running back Raekwon Wright has added 483 rushing yards and three touchdowns, and is the team's leading receiver with 20 catches for 137 yards and three TDs. Sophomore receiver Darius Taylor has contributed with 16 catches for 233 yards and a score. Defensively, senior linebacker Joseph Fiasco has paced the Bison with 58 tackles and three forced fumbles, and senior defensive end Nate Daniels leads the team with 5.5 sacks and 10.5 tackles for a loss. Sophomore safety Kiandre Murphy has two interceptions to lead all Bethany players this year.
The Bison are led by head coach Bill Garvey, who is a 1997 graduate of Iona. Now in his sixth season at the school, Garvey has a career record of 23-35.
Saturday's game will be the 19th all-time meeting between the Spartans and the Bison, with Bethany holding a 13-5 edge in the series. However, CWRU has won five of the last six matchups, including three straight and three-of-four since rejoining the PAC as a football affiliate member in 2014. The Spartans are 3-6 against the Bison all-time in games played at Bethany.
Last year in Cleveland, the Spartans defeated the Bison 33-3 on Homecoming Saturday. CWRU outgained Bethany 463-159 in the game, including 85 rushing yards for Jacob Burke, 299 passing yards and three touchdowns for Rob Cuda, and five receptions for 60 yards and a touchdown for Justin Phan.
IN THE POLLS
The Spartans held tight in this week's D3football.com Top-25, remaining at the 22nd spot in this week's poll for the second-straight week. Meanwhile, in this week's AFCA Top-25, Case Western Reserve climbed to spots to 20th in the rankings.
With Saturday's win over Geneva the Spartans moved to 234-233-4 all-time, marking the first time in the program's 48-year history that the team has registered an all-time record of above .500. Following the merger of the Case Institute of Technology and Western Reserve University, the Spartans opened their inaugural season in 1970 with a loss to Allegheny, finishing the year with a 2-5-1 record, and would not reach a .500 all-time record for 48 years (and 464 games), until the team's win over Westminster earlier this year.
Since becoming a football affiliate member of the Presidents' Athletic Conference in 2014, the Spartans have gone 29-9 in conference play, good for a .763 winning percentage. CWRU will enter today's game as winners of 20 of their last 22 league games.
CONVERTING THIRD DOWNS
The Spartans are fifth among all Division III teams this season with a 54.5% conversion rate on third downs this season, picking up first downs on 48 of their 88 attempts. CWRU converted eight-of-16 (50.0%) of its third down attempts against Geneva last Saturday night.
DOMINATING IN THE RED ZONE
Case Western Reserve has scored on 93.1% (27-of-29) of its trips into the red zone this season, and currently lead the PAC and rank seventh in Division III in red zone offense. The Spartans have converted 25 touchdowns and two field goals on their 29 red zone trips in 2018, reaching the end zone 11 times via the run and 14 via the pass.
ATHLETES OF THE WEEK
For the second-straight week, Cameron Brown was named both the PAC and the UAA Defensive Player of the Week, after finishing Saturday's game against Geneva with a career-high matching 10 tackles and two sacks. In addition, Drew Saxton was named the UAA Offensive Player of the Week, after throwing for three touchdowns and 232 yards.
Cameron Brown recorded two more sacks last weekend, giving him 11 for the season. He is currently second among all Division III players with 1.57 sacks per game this year, while his 2.0 tackles for a loss per game are 17th among Division III players this year. Brown is also just two sacks away from the program's single-season record of 13, set by former Spartans Derek Messmer in 1995. As a team, CWRU has 27 sacks this season, and is 10th among all Division III teams with 3.86 sacks per game.
The Spartans are seventh among all Division III teams with 340.7 yards per game through the air. The passing game has been anchored by Drew Saxton, who is ninth among Division III players in passing touchdowns and efficiency (178.0), fifth in passing touchdowns, eighth in passing yards per game, and 14th in completion percentage. He has already broken the record for passing yards in a season by a freshman (previous held by Nick Leskiewicz with 1,988 in 1994). Saxton has notched four 300 yards games this season, including a 414-yard game against Washington and Jefferson on October 6, the fifth 400 yard passing game in program history, the fourth-highest yardage total in a game all-time, and the second-best mark ever by a freshman (behind Leskiewicz's 431-yard effort against Denison in 1994). Saxton is on pace for 3,110 passing yards this season, which would be the third-highest total ever in program history, while his 26 passing touchdowns are the fifth-most ever by a Spartan player in a single season.
MORGAN'S STANDOUT SEASON
Colt Morgan has set a single-season program record with 16 touchdown receptions this season, passing the previous program-record mark of 13 by Bryan Erb in 2015. He is second among all NCAA Division III players in touchdown receptions this year, while ranking seventh with 8.4 receptions per game and ninth with 123.4 receiving yards per game. He will enter the eighth game of the season with the ninth-most receptions (59) and the seventh-most receiving yards (864) in program history.