Case Western Reserve University senior Cameron Brown tallied three sacks and a 15-yard pick-six in the second half alone, leading a strong defensive effort for the 22nd-ranked Spartans in a 34-3 win at Bethany College in Bethany, West Virginia on Saturday afternoon.
The Spartans improved to 7-1 overall and moved into a first-place tie with Washington and Jefferson in the Presidents' Athletic Conference with a 6-1 league record. Bethany dropped to 3-5 overall and to 3-4 in the PAC with the loss.
Brown's three sacks in the game give him 14.0 for the season, breaking the program's single-season record, which was previously held by Derek Messmer with 13.0 in 1995. He added an interception return for a touchdown, the first of his career, in the fourth quarter of the game, while finishing with four tackles (all solo), totaling 53 yards lost on the three sacks, forcing a fumble, and adding one quarterback hurry.
Freshman cornerback Colin Schuster added a pair of interceptions in the game, including one returned 51-yards for a touchdown in the fourth quarter of the game, and now has three picks on the year. Junior linebacker Isaac Withrow led the defense with 11 tackles (including two for a loss and a forced fumble) and sophomore linebacker Travis Johnston recorded nine tackles (with one for a loss), as the Spartans' defense limited the Bison to just 98 yards of total offense in the game.
Battling cold, wet and rainy conditions all day, the Spartans offense was able to notch 327 yards in the game, including 198 through the air and 129 on the ground. Freshman quarterback Drew Saxton completed 17-of-35 passes for 198 yards and two touchdowns (bringing his season total to 28), while sophomore running back Zach Hall led a well-rounded CWRU rushing attack with 41 yards on the ground.
The first have proved to be a defensive battle, with the Spartans heading to the locker room at halftime with a 10-3 lead. CWRU took the lead on a 24-yard field goal by freshman kicker Robertson Albrecht with 9:48 remaining in the first quarter, and extended their advantage to 10-0 on a 14-yard pass Saxton to senior wide receiver Luke DiFrancesco with 7:58 remaining in the first half. Bethany would get on the board with 1:59 remaining in the second quarter on a 38-yard field goal by Sean Cole.
Case Western Reserve outgained Bethany 218-56 in the opening period, with Saxton throwing for 146 yards and the touchdown. Playing for the first time in three weeks, senior wide receiver Justin Phan secured five catches for 71 yards.
CWRU added to its lead with a 17-yard touchdown pass from Saxton to senior wide receiver Joey Spitalli with 1:50 remaining in the third quarter, putting CWRU ahead 17-3. CWRU turned a Bison fumble into a 22-yard field goal, Albrecht's second of the game, with 13:04 remaining, before breaking the game open with the pick-sixes on back-to-back drives by Brown (with 3:22 to play) and Schuster (with 2:47 left).
The Spartans will return home to begin a two-game home stretch to conclude their 2018 regular season, starting with a matchup against Waynesburg University on Saturday, November 3rd at 2:00 p.m. in Cleveland, Ohio at DiSanto Field.