Defense Powers Spartans to 37-6 Win over Thiel

Defense Powers Spartans to 37-6 Win over Thiel

The Case Western Reserve University defense applied constant pressure on Saturday night, sacking the Thiel College quarterback ten times and forcing three turnovers, leading the Spartans to a 37-6 win over the Tomcats at Alumni Stadium in Greenville, Pennsylvania on Saturday night.

With the win, Case Western Reserve improved to 3-0 on the season and 2-0 in Presidents' Athletic Conference play.  Thiel dropped to 0-4 on the campaign, including a 0-3 mark in the conference.

Senior defensive end Cameron Brown finished the game with 3.5 sacks, just a sack shy of his own program record set against Saint Vincent College last season.  Brown totaled a team-high eight tackles in the game, including 5.5 for a loss, and forced and recovered a fumble in the second quarter.  Junior linebacker Joshua Smith added three sacks and six tackles, senior linebacker Isaac Withrow notched four tackles for a loss and eight total tackles, and senior defensive lineman Andrew Lease finished the game with four tackles and two sacks, including a safety in the fourth quarter.

In addition, senior cornerback Luke Bedell picked off a pair of passes in the fourth quarter, and now has a team-high three this season.  CWRU outgained Thiel 449 to 140 in the game, including a 179 to -41 edge on the ground.

Offensively, quarterback Drew Saxton completed 23-of-42 passes for 270 yards and three touchdowns with a pair of interceptions.  He completed nine passes for 116 yards and two touchdowns to junior wide receiver Colt Morgan, marking the sixth 100-yard receiving game of his career and his second of the season.  Morgan also moved into sole possession of fourth place in program history with 24 career touchdown receptions.

The Spartans ran for 179 yards in the game, including 11 carries for 78 yards and a score by junior running back Zach Hall, and six carries for 58 yards by freshman running back Jack McCrae.

The Spartans moved quickly on their opening drive, going 92 yards downfield on 10 plays, including five carries for 57 yards for Hall, who put CWRU on the board with a 12-yard scoring run with 8:26 to play in the period.  Morgan would catch a pair of touchdowns in the second quarter, making a two-yard grab in the end zone to put CWRU ahead 14-0 with 12:54 to play, and a 23-yard catch with 6:43 to play in the half to give the Spartans a 21-0 advantage that they would carry into the break.

The Spartans would finish the opening half with a 258-45 edge in total yards, outgaining the Tomcats 105 to -10 on the ground and 153-55 through the air.

Junior running back Brett Carney caught a nine-yard touchdown pass with 6:15 to play in the third quarter, the first touchdown of his career, to extend CWRU's lead to 28-0.  Thiel got on the board late in the third quarter with a 24-yard touchdown pass, but the resulting extra point was blocked by freshman defensive back Gabe Doree. A safety on a sack by Lease with 6:54 to play in the game put CWRU in front 30-0, and McCrae carried the ball six times for 58 yards on the drive after the free kick, capped off by his first career touchdown on a six-yard run with 3:34 to play in the game.  An interception by Bedell on Thiel's final drive of the game allowed the Spartans to run the clock out for the win.

After Saturday's performance, Brown has totaled 4.0 sacks this season and 28 for his career.  He is now tied with former Spartans Rich Zdrojewski (1991-93) for third in program history in career sacks, and moved within five sacks of the program's record, currently held by Dale English (2008-11).

The Spartans will return to DiSanto field next weekend, starting a key two-game stretch at home against a pair of top teams in the PAC.  Case Western Reserve will begin the two-week test against Westminster College on Saturday, October 5th, with kickoff scheduled for 7:00 p.m.