Case Western Reserve University sophomore quarterback Drew Saxton and junior wide receiver Colt Morgan picked up right where they left off last season, connecting for three touchdowns, and the Spartans' defense kept the University of Rochester out of the end zone in a 37-6 triumph over the Yellowjackets in the teams' season-opening non-conference game on Saturday evening at Fauver Stadium in Rochester, New York.
Saxton completed 17-of-30 passes overall (56.7%) for 209 yards and three touchdowns, including nine passes for 146 yards and three touchdowns to Morgan, a preseason All-America selection. It was the fifth time over their careers that the two have connected for over 100 yards in a game, in addition to being the fifth time the two have hooked up for multiple touchdowns in a game.
The three receiving touchdowns in the game for Morgan raised his career total to 22, moving him into a tie with former Spartan Will Bryant (1994-98) for the fifth-most in program history. Saxton now has 37 career passing touchdowns, pushing him past former Spartan Erik Olson for the fifth-most ever by a CWRU player.
The Spartans, now 1-0 on the season, outgained 0-1 Rochester 315-287 in the game, including a 200-116 edge in the opening half of the game.
The Spartans wasted little time taking a lead in Saturday's contest. The team went 70 yards on eight plays on its opening drive, and junior Mason Gee-Montgomery punched the ball in from one yard out on a direct snap, helping CWRU to a 7-0 lead by the 10:06 mark. The Spartans' defense forced a three-and-out on the Yellowjackets' first drive of the game, and junior linebacker Travis Johnston blocked the resulting punt, which was recovered by junior linebacker Michael Amadio and returned 12 yards for a touchdown, extending the CWRU lead to 14-0 with 8:42 left in the first quarter.
Later in the opening quarter, Saxton found Morgan with a nine-yard touchdown strike, putting the Spartans ahead 21-0 with 3:29 left in the first. The duo would hook up again, this time for a 19-yard scoring pass on a fourth-and-five play with 4:11 left in the second quarter, giving CWRU a 28-0 advantage. The CWRU defense maintained its first-half shutout with a goal line stand at the end of the half, stuffing the Rochester run on four-straight plays after a first-and-goal from the two yard line, as the Spartans carried the 28-point lead into halftime.
The two teams exchanged field goals in the third quarter, with sophomore Robertson Albrecht's 25-yard kick with 3:23 remaining in the period putting the Spartans back ahead by 28, 31-3. After a second Rochester field goal made the score 31-6 in the fourth quarter, CWRU responded with a 12-play, 70-yard drive, culminating in the third touchdown pass of the day from Saxton to Morgan, this time from six-yards out with 7:43 left to play in the contest. Rochester made one last drive with time waning in the game, but an interception by sophomore cornerback Colin Schuster at the Spartans' three yard line stalled the scoring attempt, and allowed CWRU to end the game with one victory-formation snap.
Junior Zach Hall led the Spartans ground attack with 49 rushing yards on seven carries, and sophomore Donald Day III added 31 yards on 10 carries. Defensively for the Spartans, senior linebacker Isaac Withrow paced the team with 12 tackles, while senior safety Patrick Crossey and Johnston contributed 10 apiece.
The victory marked the Spartans' fourth-straight win to open a season, and the 16th win in their last 17 season-opening games.
Case Western Reserve will be on its bye next weekend, before returning to action with its home opener against Grove City College at 7:00 p.m. on Saturday, September 21st at DiSanto Field in Cleveland, Ohio.