CWRU Football to Face Hot Grove City Squad in Home Opener

CWRU Football to Face Hot Grove City Squad in Home Opener

2019 Case Western Reserve University Football
Game #2 – CWRU (1-0, 0-0 PAC) vs. Grove City College (2-0, 1-0 PAC)
Saturday, September 21, 2019 · 7:00 PM  · Cleveland, Ohio (DiSanto Field)

Complete game notes (.PDF format): https://athletics.case.edu/sports/fball/2019-20/files/fb_GRO_game_notes19.pdf
Live stats: https://athletics.case.edu/sports/fball/2019-20/boxscores/20190921_fkfc.xml
Video: https://case.edu/livestream/athletics/
Andrew Luftglass (Play-by-play) & Steven Bachie (Color Commentary)

The Case Western Reserve University football team will face an early season test on Saturday evening, when the Spartans open their 2019 home schedule against Grove City College in a Presidents' Athletic Conference matchup at DiSanto Field in Cleveland, Ohio.

HALFTIME KICKING CONTEST
Saturday's game will feature the annual CWRU football kicking contest, as one lucky student will be chosen at random to kick a 35-yard field goal for a chance to win a new 40-inch television.  For more information, go to https://athletics.case.edu/sports/fball/2019-20/releases/20190917j93sca.

SCOUTING THE SPARTANS
Case Western Reserve will be coming off its early bye week, and will enter Saturday's game with an overall record of 1-0, following its season-opening 37-6 win at the University of Rochester on September 7.  The Spartans registered 315 yards of total offense in the game, including 209 through the air and 106 on the ground.  Sophomore quarterback Drew Saxton completed 17-of-30 passes for 209 yards and three touchdowns, with nine completions for 146 yards and three touchdowns to junior wide receiver Colt Morgan, and five passes for 49 yards to senior wide receiver Mario Robaina.  Junior running back Zach Hall led the team with 49 rushing yards.

On the defensive front, the Spartans allowed just 287 yards to the Yellowjackets, yielding just 163 passing yards and 124 rushing yards.  Leading tacklers for the Spartans included senior linebacker Isaac Withrow with 12, and senior safety Patrick Crossey with 10, while junior linebacker Travis Johnston had nine tackles, including a sack, and blocked a punt in the game.  Sophomore cornerback Colin Schuster recorded his first interception of the season in the fourth quarter of the game.

The Spartans are under the leadership of Head Coach Greg Debeljak, who is in his 16th season with the team.  He ranks as the winningest coach in the program's history, tallying a 111-45 career record with the squad, good for a .712 winning percentage.  The 1988 graduate of John Carroll University has helped lead the Spartans to six UAA Championships, four NCAA playoff appearances and the 2017 PAC Championship.  Debeljak was named the PAC Coach of the Year in 2017, while leading the UAA Coaching Staff of the Year six times, most recently in 2017.

SCOUTING THE WOLVERINES
Grove City will come to Cleveland riding the most successful stretch the program has had in nearly a century.  The Wolverines have opened their campaign with a 2-0 record, and their nine-straight wins dating back to last season mark the team's longest winning streak since a 15-game stretch of victories in 1927.  The team is 1-0 in the PAC following its 26-15 win at home against Bethany last Saturday, and is 1-0 on the road this year.

The Grove City offense is off to a quick start to the year, averaging 37.5 points per game on 497.0 yards per contest.  The team's rushing attack, which averages 280.0 yards per game, is led by senior running back Wesley Schools, who has rushed for 349 yards and four touchdowns this year.  Sophomore quarterback Josh Ehst has completed 25-of-41 passes for 434 yards and four touchdowns with one interception, including 12 passes for 229 yards and two touchdowns to junior wide receiver Cameron Drake and eight passes for 186 yards and two touchdowns to junior wide receiver Cody Gustafson.

The Wolverines are allowing 21.5 points per game on 382.0 yards per contest, including 236.0 passing and 146.0 rushing.  Senior linebacker Luke Salerno leads the team with 22 tackles and has forced a fumble, freshman linebacker Ryan Flemming has paced the squad with 1.5 sacks, and both junior safety Patrick Mark and senior safety Cameron Good have intercepted a pass this year.

Grove City is under the leadership of Andrew DiDonato, who is in his fourth season at the team's helm.  The 2010 Grove City graduate has led his alma mater to a 14-19 record during his time with the team, including a 12-4 mark over the Wolverines' last 16 games.

SERIES HISTORY/ LAST MEETING
Saturday's game will be the fifth meeting all time between the two teams, and the fourth since CWRU rejoined the PAC as a football affiliate member in 2014.  The Spartans are 3-1 all-time against Grove City, with all three victories coming in the last three years.  CWRU is 1-0 all-time against the Wolverines at DiSanto Field.

Last year at Grove City, the Spartans picked up a 49-23 win over the Wolverines.  Drew Saxton completed 24-of-34 passes in the game for 361 yards and five touchdowns with no interceptions, including six passes for 76 yards and a school-record matching four touchdowns to Colt Morgan.  Defensively, Isaac Withrow led the team with 10 tackles, including half-a-sack, and Patrick Crossey tallied an interception in the contest.  The Spartans ranked up 524 yards of total offense in the victory.

RECEIVING VOTES
The Spartans continued to receive votes in the latest D3football.com Top-25.  In the latest edition of the poll, released on Sunday night, CWRU received 30 votes, gaining four votes from the previous week.

PAC SUCCESS
Case Western Reserve is starting its sixth season as a football affiliate member of the Presidents' Athletic Conference.  CWRU has gone 31-10 in its first five years in the conference, good for a .756 winning percentage in the league.  The Spartans have won at least seven games in the PAC each of the last three years, finishing no lower than second-place in the standings during the stretch.

PICKED SECOND IN THE PAC
The Spartans were picked to finish second in the PAC this season, according to the preseason poll of the league's coaches, sports information directors and local media, conducted at the PAC Football Media Day on August 6th.  This was the second-straight season that the Spartans have been picked to finish second in the PAC, matching their highest finish in the conference's preseason poll.  Washington & Jefferson was picked to finish first in the PAC this year.

HOME OPENERS
The Spartans are 13-2 in home-opening games under Head Coach Greg Debeljak, including a 38-10 win over Rochester last season.  Case Western Reserve has won its last five home-opening games by a combined score of 204-51.  This will be the second time that CWRU has hosted Grove City for its home opener, with CWRU notching a 42-10 win over the Wolverines in its 2017 home-opening contest.

NIGHT SUCCESS
Case Western Reserve is 33-4 in its last 37 night games dating back to the 2006 season, including a 15-1 record in night games over the last four seasons.  Saturday's game will be the second of four scheduled night games this season for the Spartans, each which will come in the team's first four games.

MORGAN CLIMBS ON ALL-TIME CHARTS
With his three touchdown receptions against Rochester in the Spartans' season-opening game, D3football.com Preseason All-America Third Team selection Colt Morgan has now caught 22 touchdown passes over his career.  He is now tied with former Spartan Will Bryant (1994-98) for the fifth-most receiving touchdowns over a career, and is one shy of matching Mike Imburgia (1985-88) for fourth-place.  Morgan tallied his fifth career multiple touchdown game and his fifth game of 100 or more receiving yards in the win over Rochester.  He moved within five receptions of reaching the century mark for his career.

ALBRECHT STAYS PERFECT ON FIELD GOALS
Sophomore kicker Roberston Albrecht, the 2018 UAA Special Teams Player of the Year as a freshman, connected on all four of his extra point attempts and a 25-yard field goal against the Yellowjackets.  He improved to 10-for-10 in field goal tries over his career, and is now 52-of-53 on extra point tries.  Albrecht has accounted for 82 points during the first 11 games of his career, ranking him seventh among kickers in program history.

SAXTON INCREASES TD TOTAL
Drew Saxton's
three touchdown passes against Rochester increased his career total to 37 through his first 11 college games, already the fifth-most over a career by a player in program history and seven shy of matching Nick Leskiewicz (1994-97) for fourth in team history.  His 3,242 career passing yards are the 10th-most ever by a Spartan player, and the 2018 PAC Rookie of the Year is 142 yards away from matching Tom Kauffman (1997-00) for the ninth-most in program history.

BROWN CHASING SACK RECORD
Senior defensive end Cameron Brown registered half-a-sack during the team's opener against Rochester, increasing his career total to 24.5.  He will enter Saturday's game four sacks away from Rich Zdrojewski (1991-93) for the third-most in program history, and needs 8.5 more sacks to match Dale English's (2008-11) program record.  Brown was selected to the AFCA All-America Second Team and was named the PAC Defensive Player of the Year in 2018, after setting a program record and ranking second in Division III with 15 sacks.