Football to Host Westminster in Key Early-Season Showdown

Football to Host Westminster in Key Early-Season Showdown

2019 Case Western Reserve University Football
Game #4 – CWRU (3-0, 2-0 PAC) vs. Westminster College (4-0, 3-0 PAC)
Saturday, October 5, 2019 · 7:00 PM · Cleveland, Ohio (DiSanto Field)

Complete game notes (.PDF format): https://athletics.case.edu/sports/fball/2019-20/files/fb_WES_game_notes19.pdf
Live stats: https://athletics.case.edu/sports/fball/2019-20/boxscores/20191005_ggul.xml
Video: https://case.edu/livestream/athletics/
Brendan Gulick (play-by-play) & Andrew Rossman (color commentary)

The Case Western Reserve University football team will play host to Westminster College at DiSanto Field in Cleveland, Ohio on Saturday, October 5th at 7:00 p.m., beginning a key two-week stretch of home games for the Spartans that could have long term effects on their chances at the Presidents' Athletic Conference Championship and their hopes for a playoff bid.

TALE OF THE TAPE

 

CWRU

 

Westminster

AVG

PAC

NCAA

 

NCAA

PAC

AVG

42.0

2nd

20th

Scoring Offense

7th

1st

49.5

8.7

1st

4th

Scoring Defense

28th

4th

12.8

151.3

5th

107th

Rushing Offense

43rd

2nd

205.0

68.0

3rd

30th

Rushing Defense

133rd

5th

140.3

230.3

2nd

93rd

Passing Offense

106th

3rd

221.8

169.0

4th

62nd

Passing Defense

14th

1st

132.8

381.7

2nd

92nd

Total Offense

46th

1st

426.8

237.0

2nd

19th

Total Defense

39th

4th

273.0

22.71

2nd

57th

KO Return Average

85th

5th

21.09

10.83

4th

71st

Punt Return Average

11th

2nd

19.67

36.4

1st

35th

Punting Average

39th

2nd

35.63

0.541

1st

10th

3rd Down Conversion

108th

5th

0.385

38.33

1st

25th

Penalty Yards/ Game

124th

7th

60.0

4.0

2nd

16th

Sacks/ Game

150th

5th

1.5

32:08

2nd

58th

Time of Possession

220th

9th

26:14


SCOUTING THE SPARTANS
Case Western Reserve will enter Saturday's affair with a 3-0 overall record, including marks of 2-0 in the PAC and 1-0 in home games this season.  The Spartans are coming off a 37-6 win over Thiel on Saturday, during which the team outgained the Tomcats by a margin of 449 yards to 140 yards, including a 179 to -41 edge in rushing yards.

Sophomore quarterback Drew Saxton has completed 60.6% of his passes for 691 yards and seven touchdowns with three interceptions.  Junior wide receiver Colt Morgan has caught 22 passes for 317 yards and five touchdowns, while senior wide receiver Mario Robaina has added 14 catches for 148 yards.  Junior running back Zach Hall leads the rushing attack with 32 carries for 193 yards and two touchdowns, with sophomore running back Donald Day III added 30 carries for 133 yards and two touchdowns.

Senior linebacker Isaac Withrow has paced the squad with 26 tackles (eight solo), including 4.0 for a loss.  Senior defensive end Cameron Brown has a team-high 4.0 sacks and 5.5 tackles for a loss, with junior linebacker Joshua Smith adding three sacks and senior defensive lineman Andrew Lease contributing 2.5.  Senior cornerback Luke Bedell has recorded three of the team's five interceptions this season.

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 113-45 career record with the squad, good for a .715 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.

SCOUTING THE TITANS
Along with the Spartans, Westminster is one of just three remaining undefeated teams in the PAC, entering Saturday's game with a 4-0 overall record, including a 3-0 mark in the league.  The Titans are coming off a 45-9 win at Bethany on Saturday night, as the Westminster defense held the Bison to just 54 passing yards in the contest.  Sophomore quarterback Cole Konieczka completed 19-of-27 passes for 259 yards and a touchdown in the game, while senior running back Tyler Greene ran for 63 yards and a pair of touchdowns.

Konieczka has completed 60.9% of his passes this season for 801 yards with 10 touchdowns and one interception.  His leading receiver is senior Connor Cox with 20 catches for 344 yards and four touchdowns, while senior Dwayne Brown has added 12 catches for 211 yards and a pair of scored.  In the ground game, junior running back Keano Grice has carried the ball 30 times for 280 yards and four touchdowns, senior running back Bryce Hill has 40 carries for 268 yards and a score, and Greene has ran the ball 39 times for 232 yards and six touchdowns.

Senior linebacker Paul Gonzalez has a team-high 23 tackles and a pair of quarterback hurries this year, and sophomore strong safety Bryce Thomas has added 22 tackles, including three for a loss.  Freshman defensive tackle Drew Manning has a team-leading three sacks for the campaign.  Sophomore cornerback Vincent Giles leads the team with three interceptions.

Westminster is coached by Scott Benzel, a 1997 graduate of Mercyhurst.  He is now in his sixth season with the team, during which he has notched a 39-18 overall record, good for a .684 winning percentage.

LAST MEETING/ SERIES HISTORY
The Spartans are 3-0 all-time against Westminster, in a series that began in 2016, two years after the Spartans rejoined the Presidents' Athletic Conference as a football affiliate member.  Included in the matchup history is a 41-10 win in 2017, the only game in the series played in Cleveland so far.

Last year in New Wilmington, Pennsylvania, the Spartans picked up a 35-14 win over the Titans.  Drew Saxton completed 25-of-34 passes for 330 yards and four touchdowns in the game, including two passes for 81 yards and a touchdown to senior running back Sam Jenkins, and seven passes for 70 yards and a touchdown to Colt Morgan.  Jenkins also ran for 56 yards in the game.  Defensively, senior safety Patrick Crossey paced the squad with 15 total tackles and an interception, while junior linebacker Travis Johnston finished the game with 13 tackles and a forced fumble.  CWRU outgained Westminster 460-to-304 in the game, including a 330-to-176 edge in passing yards.

IN THE POLLS
Case Western Reserve held tight in this week's AFCA Top-25, checking in at 25th in the weekly poll.  The Spartans also continued to receive votes in the D3football.com Top-25, released on Sunday night.

WEEKLY AWARD WINNERS
Following their outstanding performances in the team's win over Thiel, two members of the CWRU defensive line received weekly awards.  Senior Andrew Lease was named the defensive tackle on the D3football.com Team of the Week, after picking up a pair of sacks, including a safety in the fourth quarter.  Meanwhile, Cameron Brown was named both the PAC and UAA Defensive Player of the Week after racking up 3.5 sacks and 5.5 tackles for a loss in the win.

DEFENSIVE SUCCESS
The Spartans have held their opponents to 14 or fewer points through each of the first three games of the season.  Case Western Reserve has allowed just three touchdowns this season, two through the air and one on the ground.  In addition, the Spartans are yielding just 237.0 yards of total offense per game, including 68.0 rushing yards per contest.  The defense has been particularly strong in the first half of games this season, allowing just seven total points through the first 30 minutes of games in 2019.

HIGH SCORERS
Case Western Reserve has scored at least 37 points per game in each of their first three games, including a 52-point outburst against Grove City on September 21st.  Eleven different players have accounted for the Spartans' 17 touchdowns this season.

SACK ATTACK
Case Western Reserve's defense was dominant against Thiel last Saturday, totaling 10 sacks and 17 tackles for a loss in the game.  Cameron Brown led the team with 3.5 sacks and 5.5 tackles for a loss, while Joshua Smith added 3.0 sacks.  Also recording multiple-sack efforts in the game on Saturday were Andrew Lease, who finished the contest with two sacks (including a safety) and junior defensive lineman Dylan Zegers, who registered 1.5 sacks.

NIGHT SUCCESS

Case Western Reserve is 35-4 in its last 39 night games dating back to the 2006 season, including a 17-1 record in night games over the last four seasons.  Saturday's game will be the final of four scheduled night games this season to start the campaign.

BLOCKING KICKS
The Spartans have blocked at least one kick in each of the team's first three games of the year.  In the opening contest of the season against Rochester, junior linebacker Travis Johnston blocked a punt that was returned for a touchdown by junior linebacker Michael Amadio.  Against Grove City, Joshua Smith blocked a punt that setup a score on the next play.  Last Saturday against Thiel, first-year defensive back Gabe Doree blocked an extra point.

ALBRECHT ADDS TO POINT TOTAL
Sophomore kicker Roberston Albrecht, went five-for-five on extra point tries in the 37-6 win over Thiel, improving to 64-for-65 on extra point attempts (98.5%) over his career.  He is 11-for-12 (91.7%) in field goal tries over his career, and has accounted for 97 points during the first 13 games of his career, ranking him seventh among kickers in program history.

SAXTON INCREASES TD TOTAL
Drew Saxton's
three touchdown passes this year have increased his career total to 41 through his first 13 college games, already the fifth-most over a career by a player in program history and three shy of matching Nick Leskiewicz (1994-97) for fourth in team history.  His 3,724 career passing yards are the ninth-most ever by a Spartan player, and the 2018 PAC Rookie of the Year is one yards away from matching Paul Washlock (1987-89) for the eighth-most in program history.

MORGAN CLIMBS ON ALL-TIME CHARTS
With his two touchdown receptions against Thiel on Saturday, D3football.com Preseason All-America Third Team selection Colt Morgan has now caught 24 touchdown passes over his career.  He is now fourth in program history in career touchdown receptions, and is three away from matching Zach Homyk for third in program history, and seven away from the program record of 31 touchdown receptions, currently held by both David Kallevig (2001-04) and Shaun Nicely (2007-10).  Morgan caught nine total passes against Thiel last week to surpass the century mark for his career.