#19 CWRU Football to Face Carnegie Mellon with PAC & UAA Championships at Stake

#19 CWRU Football to Face Carnegie Mellon with PAC & UAA Championships at Stake

2018 Case Western Reserve University Football

Game #10 – #19 CWRU (8-1, 7-1 PAC, 1-0 UAA) vs. Carnegie Mellon University (4-4, 3-4 PAC, 1-0 UAA)

Saturday, November 10, 2018 · 5:30 p.m. · Cleveland, Ohio (DiSanto Field)

Complete Game Notes (.PDF):
Live Stats:
https://case.edu/livestream/athletics/  · Andrew Luftglass (Play-by-play)


The Case Western Reserve University Spartans (8-1, 7-1 PAC, 1-0 UAA) will look to both secure a share of the Presidents' Athletic Conference Championship and win the University Athletic Association Title outright, when the team welcomes the Carnegie Mellon University Tartans (4-4, 3-4 PAC, 1-0 UAA) to DiSanto Field in Cleveland, Ohio on Saturday at 5:30 p.m.

Prior to the start of Saturday's game, the Spartans will recognize the team's 13 graduating players with a special 'Senior Day' ceremony.  With the leadership of this year's senior class, the Spartans have gone 35-6 overall over the past four seasons, including a 28-4 record in the PAC.  Case Western Reserve has been nationally ranked in each of the last four years, winning two UAA Championships and one PAC Title, while qualifying and reaching the second round of the NCAA Playoffs last year.  Senior players set to be honored on Saturday include Steven Bachie, Cameron Brown, Chaz Brown, Tyler Bushman, Luke DiFrancesco, Ian Henderson, Jason Lockamy, Giuseppe Orsini, Justin Phan, Joey Spitalli, David Traganza, Hunter Tulloch and JP Wassmann.

The Spartans can clinch at least a share of the 2018 Presidents' Athletic Conference Championship with a win over Carnegie Mellon on Saturday.  It would mark the second-straight PAC Title for the Spartans.  CWRU is currently tied with Washington & Jefferson for first-place in the league, and would split the title with the Presidents if both finish with the same record (Washington & Jefferson plays Waynesburg on the road on Saturday).  The Presidents currently hold the tiebreaker for the conference's automatic bid to the NCAA Playoffs with a head-to-head win over the Spartans earlier this year.

The winner of Saturday's game will secure the 2018 UAA Championship outright.  Both the Spartans and the Tartans stand at 1-0 in UAA play this year, after each team defeated the University of Rochester earlier in the campaign.  CWRU is aiming for its third-consecutive UAA Title, its second-straight outright championship, and its eighth UAA Championship overall.

Saturday will mark the 33rd playing of the Academic Bowl, the annual meeting between the Spartans and the Tartans.  Although the two teams have been playing each other since 1970, the game was not labeled as the 'Academic Bowl' until the 1986 meeting.

The Tartans hold a 17-15 edge in the Academic Bowl, although the Spartans have won nine of the last 11 meetings, and claimed a 21-14 win in the first-ever Academic Bowl in 1986.  CWRU also holds a 10-7 advantage in the games played in Cleveland.  Last year proved to be one of the more thrilling games in Academic Bowl history, with the Spartans pulling off a 41-34 win in overtime on a five-yard touchdown catch by Justin Phan and a defensive stop.  Phan also recovered a blocked punt late in the game and returned it for a touchdown, and finished the game with six catches for 101 yards and two touchdowns.

Carnegie Mellon holds a 28-19 edge overall in the series (including pre-Academic Bowl games), with 13 wins going to each side in the 26 games played in Cleveland over the years.

CWRU stands at 8-1 overall, including a 4-0 record at home this season, and has won four-straight games entering Saturday's affair.  The Spartans claimed a 41-17 win over Waynesburg University at DiSanto Field last weekend.  Through their first nine games of the season, the Spartans have averaged 40.0 points per game on 475.9 yards of offense (147.2 rushing and 328.7 passing yards), while allowing 16.9 points per game on 280.0 total yards (94.4 rushing and 185.6 passing).

Freshman quarterback Drew Saxton has completed 65.6% of his passes for 2,702 yards and 33 touchdowns with just seven interceptions.  Junior Sam Jenkins has been the team's leading rusher with 399 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 345 rushing yards and three touchdowns.  At wide receiver, sophomore Colt Morgan leads the team with 70 receptions for 966 yards and 17 touchdowns, senior wide receiver Justin Phan has collected 53 passes for 552 yards this year and senior wide receiver Luke DiFrancesco has secured 39 catches for 520 yards and seven touchdowns.  Defensively, junior linebacker Isaac Withrow and sophomore safety Joshua Smith lead the team with 77 and 69 tackles respectively, while junior safety and co-captain Patrick Crossey has 66 tackles, two interceptions and four pass breakups.  Senior defensive end Cameron Brown has paced the squad with 14.0 sacks, 17.0 tackles for a loss, and seven quarterback hurries in 2018.  Freshman cornerback Colin Schuster leads the team with three interceptions and has added five pass breakups during the year.  Freshman kicker Robertson Albrecht has accumulated 64 points, making 46 of his 47 extra point attempts and all six 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 110-44 career record, good for a .714 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.

Carnegie Mellon will enter Saturday's game with a 4-4 overall record, including marks of 3-4 in the PAC and 2-3 in road games.  The Tartans saw a two-game winning streak come to an end on the road last weekend with a 23-19 loss to Westminster.  The team has averaged 25.8 points per game this season on 379.2 yards per game (159.5 rushing and 219.8 passing), while allowing 21.1 points per game on 355.1 yards (158.9 rushing and 196.2 passing).

Senior quarterback Alex Cline has completed 60.2% of his passes this season for 1,718 yards and 12 touchdowns with 10 interceptions.  Senior running back Rory Hubbard leads the team's rushing attack with 537 yards and five touchdowns, with junior Chris Haas adding 330 yards and three touchdowns.  The Tartans' leading receivers have been senior Karl Kumm (33 receptions, 422 yards, four TDs) and junior Willie Richter (31 receptions, 457 yards, two TDs).  On defense, junior linebacker Quinn Gaughan has a team-high 53 tackles, while defensive ends Long Tran and Michael Lohmeier lead the team with 5.5 and 4.5 sacks, respectively.  Senior cornerback Ethan Anderson has a team-best three interceptions for Carnegie Mellon this season.

The Tartans are coached by Rich Lackner, who is now in his 33rd season with the team.  Lackner, a 1979 graduate of Carnegie Mellon, has a 214-118-2 overall record at the team's helm.

Case Western Reserve continued to climb in the D3football.com Top-25, checking in at 19th in this week's poll after coming in at 20th last week.  The Spartans have been ranked in all 10 polls conducted by D3football.com this season, and in 23-straight polls, dating back to the start of the 2017 campaign.  CWRU was also 19th in last week's AFCA Top-25.

The Spartans now stand at 236-233-4 all-time, with the team's win over Geneva three weeks ago marking the first time in the program's 48-year history that the team had 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 31-9 in conference play, good for a .775 winning percentage.  CWRU will enter today's game as winners of 22 of their last 24 league games.

The Spartans stand at 4-0 at home this season, and have won nine-straight games at DiSanto Field, dating back to the start of the 2017 campaign.  CWRU is 53-19 since the opening of DiSanto Field in 2005, good for a .736 winning percentage.

Case Western Reserve has scored on 94.7% (36-of-38) of its trips into the red zone this season, and currently leads the PAC and ranks fourth in Division III in red zone offense.  The Spartans have converted 30 touchdowns and six field goals on their 38 red zone trips in 2018, reaching the end zone 11 times via the run and 19 via the pass.  CWRU was a perfect five-for-five on red zone opportunities last Saturday, scoring three touchdowns and kicking a pair of field goals.

Freshman quarterback Drew Saxton will enter the final game of the regular season one passing touchdown away from the program's single-season record of 34, set by Dan Whalen in 2009.  Saxton's 33 passing touchdowns this season tie him with Eli Grant for the second-most ever by a Spartan quarterback, and rank him third in Division III this season.  He is also 10th among Division III players with 2,702 passing yards this year, the fourth-most in a single campaign in CWRU history, while his completion percentage of 65.6% is 17th among DIII players.

Sophomore wide receiver Colt Morgan continued his record-setting campaign, extending his school single-season record with his 17th touchdown catch of the year against Waynesburg on Saturday.  He is currently second among all Division III receivers in touchdown catches, while his 70 receptions tie him for the second-most ever by a Spartan receiver, and his 966 yards are the fifth-highest total all-time.  He will enter the final game of the season 199 yards shy of Zach Homyk's single-season program record, set in 2010.

Senior defensive end Cameron Brown is second among all NCAA Division III players this season with 1.56 sacks per game.  His 14.0 total sacks this season are a program record, passing the previous mark of 13.0 set by Derek Messmer in 1995, while his 23.0 career sacks are fifth all-time among Spartan players.

Senior wide receiver Justin Phan currently ranks third in school history with 177 career receptions, including 53 this season.  In addition, he will enter Saturday's game with 1,997 career receiving yards, and could become just the seventh receiver in program history to pass the 2,000-yard receiving mark for a career.

Saxton was selected as both the UAA and PAC Offensive Player of the Week, after completing 27-of-37 passes (73.0%) for 327 yards with just one interception, while throwing touchdown passes to five different receivers in the game against Waynesburg.  Junior Patrick Crossey, the UAA Defensive Player of the Week, notched eight tackles (three solo) and forced a fumble in the win, while helping the Spartans hold the Yellow Jackets to 281 yards of total offense, including just 76 rushing yards.  Freshman kicker Robertson Albrecht was named the PAC Special Team Athlete of the Week for the second-straight week, after accounting for 11-points, including a two-for-two effort on field goals with a career-long 37-yard make.