#21/17 Spartans Aim to Clinch Share of PAC Title during ‘Senior Day’ Saturday against Bethany

#21/17 Spartans Aim to Clinch Share of PAC Title during ‘Senior Day’ Saturday against Bethany

2019 Case Western Reserve University Football
Game #8 – #21/17 CWRU (7-0, 6-0 PAC) vs. Bethany College (3-4, 3-3 PAC)
Saturday, November 2, 2019 · 2:00 PM · Cleveland, Ohio (DiSanto Field)

Complete game notes (.PDF format):
https://athletics.case.edu/sports/fball/2019-20/files/fb_BET_game_notes19.pdf
Live stats: https://athletics.case.edu/sports/fball/2019-20/boxscores/20191102_ro0j.xml
Video:
https://case.edu/livestream/athletics/
Andrew Luftglass (play-by-play), Andrew Rossman (color commentary)

The no. 21/17 Case Western Reserve University Spartans (7-0, 6-0 PAC) will play their final home game of the 2019 regular season on Saturday, November 2nd, as they look to lock up at least a share of the Presidents' Athletic Conference Championship against Bethany College (3-4, 3-3 PAC).  Saturday's game, which is slated for a 2:00 p.m. kickoff, will also mark 'Senior Day' for CWRU, as the team will honor its graduating class with a special ceremony prior to the start of the game.

TALE OF THE TAPE

CWRU

 

Bethany

AVG

PAC

NCAA

 

NCAA

PAC

AVG

35.1

2nd

45th

Scoring Offense

171st

8th

20.9

15.3

2nd

29th

Scoring Defense

172nd

7th

31.4

122.6

7th

151st

Rushing Offense

92nd

4th

161.9

116.0

3rd

78th

Rushing Defense

217th

8th

220.7

281.9

2nd

34th

Passing Offense

189th

6th

163.1

187.9

4th

74th

Passing Defense

80th

5th

192.4

404.4

4th

75th

Total Offense

165th

7th

325.0

303.9

4th

54th

Total Defense

190th

9th

413.1

17.79

7th

156th

KO Return Average

78th

4th

20.88

10.14

4th

77th

Punt Return Average

159th

7th

6.20

28.56

9th

213th

Punting Average

200th

8th

29.08

0.473

1st

30th

3rd Down Conversion

121st

5th

0.383

37.00

1st

15th

Penalty Yards/ Game

217th

10th

79.86

3.71

2nd

13th

Sacks/ Game

86th

4th

2.29

30:40

4th

92nd

Time of Possession

204th

8th

27:46

 

SENIOR DAY
Case Western Reserve will be recognizing the 17 graduating members of the team – defensive back Luke Bedell, defensive end Cameron Brown, defensive back Kevin Chrissis, offensive lineman Derek Clontz, quarterback/ wide receiver Ryan Coolidge, defensive back Patrick Crossey, defensive lineman Reed Gershenson, running back Sam Jenkins, defensive lineman Andrew Lease, defensive back Munyaradzi Mangwende, tight end Austin Navarrette, defensive lineman Adam Poltrack, wide receiver Mario Robaina, offensive lineman Josh Schlichting, offensive lineman Thomas Strayer, linebacker Isaac Withrow and tight end Adam Zybko – prior to the start of Saturday's game.

Together, the senior class has amassed a 35-4 record, good for a .897 winning percentage and the fourth-most wins by a single class in program history (four behind the program record of 39 set by the 2007-10 Spartans).  The team has also gone 28-3 in PAC games over the last four years, good for a .903 winning percentage, claiming the conference title in 2017, and is in position to clinch their second title with a win on Saturday.

SCOUTING THE SPARTANS

Case Western Reserve is one of just 16 remaining undefeated NCAA Division III teams this season, and will enter the game on Saturday with an overall record of 7-0, including a 6-0 mark in Presidents' Athletic Conference games.  Included in their overall record is a 4-0 mark in home contests this season.  The Spartans are coming off a 30-23 win at home against Geneva last Saturday, as sophomore quarterback Drew Saxton threw touchdown passes to three different receivers, including junior Colt Morgan, who caught 10 passes for 111 yards.  Junior linebacker Joshua Smith led the defense with a career-high 14 tackles against Geneva, while also intercepting a pass and forcing a fumble.

Saxton has completed 62.1% of his passes, while throwing for 19 touchdowns and seven interceptions, and is just 42 yards away from his second-straight 2000-yard passing season.  Morgan leads the receiving corps with 49 catches for 693 yards and 10 touchdowns, Mario Robaina has added 37 catches for 437 yards and a score, and junior Chase Witte has grabbed 15 passes for 333 yards and four scores.  Junior Zach Hall (447 yards, 2 TDs) and sophomore Donald Day III (290 yards, 4 TDs) have been the Spartans' leading rushers in 2019.

Patrick Crossey has led CWRU's defense this year with 51 tackles, while junior linebacker Travis Johnston has added 47 tackles for the year.  Cameron Brown has a team-leading 8.5 sacks and 13.5 tackles for a loss, and Smith has contributed 7.5 sacks and 10.5 tackles for a loss.  Kevin Chrissis and Luke Bedell have each paced the team with three interceptions apiece this year.

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 117-45 career record with the squad, good for a .722 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 BISON
Bethany stands at 3-4 overall on the year, including a 3-3 record in PAC games, good for sixth place in the league.  The team has also notched a 1-3 record on the road this season.  The team is coming off its bye week, but has won back-to-back games, including a 23-19 win at home against Carnegie Mellon on October 19.  In the game, senior wide receiver Hunter Klein caught six passes for 120 yards and three TDs, and senior defensive end Chas Blango registered six tackles, 3.5 sacks, 4.5 tackles for a loss, two forced fumbles and an interception.

Senior Carlin Bason has thrown for 661 yards and two touchdowns with four interceptions, while completing 44.5% of his passes, and has run for a team-leading 618 yards and four scores.  Sophomore Dom Salinetro has also seen considerable time at quarterback, completing 54.0% of his passes for 481 yards with seven TDs and four interceptions.  Senior running back Raekwon Wright has added 267 rushing yards and three touchdowns, with senior Greg Avent chipping in 254 yards on the ground and a pair of scores.  Klein has led the team's receiving corps with 27 catches for 477 yards and five TDs.

Sophomore safety Kiandre Murphy has a team-best 49 tackles, and senior linebacker Mike Berry has registered 43 stops on the year.  Blango has paced the team with 6.5 sacks and 9.0 total tackles for a loss with three forced fumbles, while junior defensive end Bryce Rohrbaugh will enter Saturday's game with 5.5 sacks and 7.5 tackles for a loss.  Freshman cornerback Dadrick Vickers leads the team with three interceptions in 2019.

The Bison are led by Head Coach Bill Garvey, a 1997 graduate of Iona.  Now in his seventh season with the team, Garvey has notched a 28-40 overall record.

LAST MEETING/ SERIES HISTORY

The Spartans topped Bethany 34-3 in Bethany, West Virginia last year, behind a dominating effort from the defense.  CWRU held the Bison to just 98 total yards of offense in the game, as Cameron Brown totaled three sacks (breaking the school's single-season record in the process) and returned an interception for a touchdown, while sophomore cornerback Colin Schuster picked off a pair of passes, returning one 51 yards for a touchdown of his own.

Case Western Reserve is 4-1 against Bethany since rejoining the PAC as a football affiliate member in 2014.  Last year's victory at Bethany was the Spartans' fourth-straight win against the Bison and their sixth in the last seven meetings, raising the team's record to 6-13 in the all-time series.  CWRU is 2-7 all-time against Bethany at home.

RACE FOR THE PAC CHAMPIONSHIP
Case Western Reserve can claim at least a share of the 2019 PAC Championship with a win over Bethany on Saturday.  The victory would give the Spartans' a two-game lead over the rest of the field with just two games remaining on the regular season schedule.  With two wins in their remaining three games, the Spartans can secure sole possession of the PAC Title and the automatic bid to the NCAA Playoffs associated with it.

Case Western Reserve is looking to win the PAC Championship for the second time in the last three years, and claim the first outright title in program history.

IN THE POLLS
The Spartans held their position in this week's D3football.com Top-25, and are now ranked 21st in Division III, the team's highest ranking of the season.  Case Western Reserve also held its spot in this week's AFCA Top-25, where it was ranked 17th.

HOME SWEET HOME
The Spartans will enter Saturday's game with a 4-0 record in home games this season, and are 21-3 at DiSanto Field over their last 24 home games, dating back to the start of the 2015 season.  Case Western Reserve holds a 57-20 record all-time at DiSanto Field (good for a .740 winning percentage), and have already secured their seventh-consecutive winning season on their home turf.

OFFENSIVE LINE
The Case Western Reserve offensive line has ranked among the best in Division III in terms of protecting the quarterback in 2019.  The Spartans have allowed just nine sacks through seven games this season, and the team's 1.29 sacks allowed per contest are the 53rd-fewest among Division III teams.

LIMITING THE PENALTIES
CWRU has been the least penalized team in the PAC this season.  The Spartans are currently 15th in Division III with 37.0 penalty yards per game and 26th with 4.57 penalties per game.

A QUARTERBACK'S NIGHTMARE
Case Western Reserve ranks among the top teams in Division III in both sacks and interceptions.  The Spartans have averaged 3.71 sacks per game, the 13th-best mark in Division III and the second-best in the PAC.  Cameron Brown is currently third among Division III players with 1.29 sacks per game, while Joshua Smith is fifth with 1.25 sacks per contest.  Meanwhile, the team has picked off 13 passes, the 12th-most in Division III and second in the PAC.  Kevin Chrissis leads the PAC and is 30th in Division III with 0.5 interceptions per game.

BROWN LOOKS TO SET SACK RECORD
Cameron Brown
will aim to set the program's career sack record against Bethany on Saturday.  He currently sits just half-a-sack away from matching the program record of 33.0 sacks, currently held by fomer Spartan Dale English (2008-11).  Brown has also forced five fumbles this season, and leads all NCAA Division III players with 0.71 forced fumbles per game.

MORGAN NEARS RECEIVING TD RECORD
Colt Morgan
is now just a pair of touchdown catches away from matching the program record for career receiving touchdowns of 31, which is currently held by former Spartans David Kallevig (2001-04) and Shaun Nicely (2007-10).  Morgan has caught 49 passes for 693 yards this season, and his 10 receiving touchdowns rank 18th among Division III players and lead the PAC.  He is also currently seventh in program history with 1,822 yards and is 178 yards away from becoming the eighth player in program history with over 2,000 career receiving yards.  Morgan was named the UAA Athlete of the Week, following his 10-catch 111-yard performance against Geneva last week.

SAXTON APPROACHES 5,000 YARDS
Drew Saxton
will enter Saturday's game just nine yards away from becoming the fifth Spartan quarterback ever to reach the 5,000 yard mark for a career.  He needs 824 more yards to pass former Spartan Nick Leskiewicz for the fourth-most passing yards in program history.  In addition, his 53 career passing touchdowns rank as the fourth-most ever by a Spartan quarterback, and are just six away from matching Eli Grant (2000-03) for third in program history.

WITTE FINDING THE ENDZONE
Chase Witte
has emerged as one of the Spartans' top receiving threats, recording a touchdown catch in each of the last three games.  In addition, he has had at least one catch of 29 or more yards in each of CWRU's last four games, and in five of their last six contests.  Witte has already recorded career highs in receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns.