Case Western Reserve University freshman quarterback Drew Saxton threw touchdowns to five different receivers, becoming just the third player in program history with over 30 passing touchdowns in a single season, as the 20th-ranked Spartans secured their fourth-straight victory with a 41-17 win over Waynesburg University on Saturday afternoon at DiSanto Field in Cleveland, Ohio.
The Spartans improved to 8-1 overall remained in a tie for first-place in the Presidents' Athletic Conference with 19th-ranked Washington and Jefferson College with a 7-1 league record. Waynesburg dropped to 4-5 overall and to 4-4 in the PAC with the loss.
Saxton completed 27-of-37 passes in the game for 327 yards, his fifth 300 yard passing game of the year, while throwing for five touchdowns with just one interception. He now has 33 touchdowns on the season, tying him with former Spartan Eli Grant (2002) for the second most in program history, and is now one shy of Dan Whalen's single-season record of 34 (set in 2009). His 2,702 passing yards this year mark the fourth-most in a single season in program history.
Senior wide receiver Justin Phan caught 12 passes for 90 yards and a touchdown, moving into third place in school history with 177 career receptions, and senior wide receiver Joey Spitalli added seven receptions for 90 yards and a score. Sophomore wide receiver Colt Morgan secured seven catches of his own, including one for a touchdown, and his 78 yards moved him within 34 yards of 1,000 for the year.
The two teams exchanged field goals in the first quarter, with Waynesburg getting on the board with 9:56 remaining in the opening quarter on a 33-yard kick by Garret Guthrie, and the Spartans responding with 5:56 remaining in the period on a 32-yard field goal by freshman Robertson Albrecht. Case Western Reserve took its first lead of the game on a 17-yard touchdown pass from Saxton to Spitalli with 14:21 to play in the second quarter, the receiver's fourth touchdown catch of the year, putting CWRU ahead 10-3. However, two drives later the Yellow Jackets took advantage of a Spartan fumble at their own two yard line, running the ball in three plays later to even the score.
With the score still knotted at 10-10 and time ticking down in the opening half, the Spartans received the ball off a Waynesburg punt at their own 18 yard line with 2:10 remaining. Saxton would go on to complete all six of his passes on the ensuing drive and add a 14-yard run for a first down, and needed just 1:24 to score on a nine-yard pass to Phan, giving CWRU a 17-10 heading into the halftime break.
The Spartans received the ball to start the second half, and immediately were able to extend their lead on the opening drive of the half on a 26-yard pass from Saxton to sophomore running back Kyle Turcovsky, marking both the first catch and touchdown of his career, with 10:51 to go in the third quarter. A 51-yard catch and run from Saxton to DiFrancesco put the Spartans ahead 31-10 with 7:42 to play in the third. Morgan added a two-yard touchdown catch, his program-record extending 17th of the year, with 13:15 remaining in the game to give Spartans a 38-10 lead, and a career-long 37-yard field goal by Albrecht extended the lead to 41-10 with 8:30 remaining.
Waynesburg added a late touchdown on an 18-yard pass from Tyler Perone to Dorian Hardy, cutting the Spartans' lead to 41-17 with 7:19 remaining, but that would be as close as the Spartans would allow the Yellow Jackets to get.
CWRU finished the game with a 476-281 edge in total yards of offense. Junior linebacker Isaac Withrow led the defense with nine tackles (four solo), with junior safety Patrick Crossey adding eight tackles (three solo) and a forced fumble.
The Spartans will conclude their 2018 regular season next weekend, when the team welcomes PAC and UAA rival Carnegie Mellon University to DiSanto Field for the 33rd-Annual Academic Bowl, with a win assuring the Spartans a title in each league. In addition, the contest will also mark 'Senior Day' for the Spartans, as the team will honor its 13 graduating players prior to the start of the game.
While a win next Saturday in the Academic Bowl would guarantee the Spartans at least a share of the 2018 PAC Championship, CWRU would also need a loss by Washington and Jefferson against Waynesburg to secure the league's automatic bid to the NCAA Playoffs.