No. 20/15 Spartans Look to Secure Outright PAC Title & NCAA Bid on Saturday against Waynesburg

CWRU linebacker Skyler Wadas urges on the crowd during the Spartans' game against Bethany

2019 Case Western Reserve University Football
Game #9 – #20/15 CWRU (8-0, 7-0 PAC) vs. Waynesburg University (1-7, 1-6 PAC)
Saturday, November 9, 2019 · 1:30 PM · Waynesburg, Pa. (John F. Wiley Stadium)

Complete game notes (.PDF format):
https://athletics.case.edu/sports/fball/2019-20/files/fb_WAY_game_notes19.pdf
Live stats: https://waynesburgsports.com/sidearmstats/football/summary
Video:
http://pacathletics.org/watch/default.aspx?Live=909&path=waynesburg

The Case Western Reserve University football team, ranked 20th in the latest D3football.com Top-25 and 15th in the AFCA rankings, will look to secure the first outright Presidents' Athletic Conference Championship in program history and the automatic bid to the NCAA playoffs associated with it with a win on Saturday, November 9th at Waynesburg University in Waynesburg, Pennsylvania.  Kickoff is scheduled for 1:30 p.m.

TALE OF THE TAPE
 

CWRU

 

WAYNESBURG

AVG

PAC

NCAA

 

NCAA

PAC

AVG

35.1

2nd

49th

Scoring Offense

209th

9th

15.4

15.1

2nd

27th

Scoring Defense

161st

6th

30.5

116.6

8th

168th

Rushing Offense

157th

7th

120.9

120.8

5th

83rd

Rushing Defense

239th

10th

275.3

275.4

2nd

38th

Passing Offense

222nd

8th

127.4

184.8

4th

65th

Passing Defense

2nd

1st

89.6

392.0

4th

85th

Total Offense

225th

9th

248.3

305.5

4th

56th

Total Defense

135th

7th

364.9

18.23

6th

143rd

KO Return Average

129th

5th

19.59

11.30

4th

57th

Punt Return Average

47th

2nd

11.70

29.10

7th

202nd

Punting Average

221st

9th

28.15

0.457

2nd

37th

3rd Down Conversion

133rd

6th

0.368

43.25

2nd

40th

Penalty Yards/ Game

48th

3rd

45.38

3.38

2nd

19th

Sacks/ Game

209th

9th

1.13

30:46

3rd

89th

Time of Possession

90th

4th

30:44

 

PAC CHAMPIONSHIP
With their win last Saturday, the Spartans took a two game lead in the conference standings with two contests remaining on each PAC team's schedule, securing at least a share of the 2019 conference title.  It marks the second PAC Championship in the program's history, with the other being a split title with Washington & Jefferson in 2017.  Case Western Reserve can secure the first outright PAC Championship in program history and receive the conference's automatic berth to the NCAA postseason with a win over Waynesburg on Saturday.

SCOUTING THE SPARTANS

Case Western Reserve will enter Saturday's game with an 8-0 overall record, including marks of 7-0 in PAC games and 3-0 in road contests this season.  The Spartans are coming off a 35-14 win over Bethany in their final home game of the year last weekend, sophomore quarterback Drew Saxton threw a pair of touchdowns, including one to sophomore wide receiver Colt Morgan, who caught eight passes for 102 yards in the game, and junior Travis Johnston ran for a pair of scores.

Saxton has completed 61.2% of his passes this season for 2,188 yards and 21 touchdowns with nine interceptions.  Morgan is the team's leading receiver with 57 catches for 795 yards and 12 touchdowns, while senior wide receiver Mario Robaina (43 receptions, 529 yards, 1 TD) and junior wide receiver Chase Witte (17 receptions, 356 yards, 4 TDs) have also been major targets for Saxton.  Junior Zach Hall has a team leading 472 rushing yards and two touchdowns, and sophomore running back Donald Day III has added 300 rushing yards and four touchdowns on the ground.

Senior safety Patrick Crossey has a team-leading 55 tackles (37 solo) with two interceptions in 2019, and Johnston has added 54 tackles with a team-high three fumble recoveries and two blocked kicks.  Keying the team's pass rush have been senior defensive end Cameron Brown with 9.5 sacks and 15.5 tackles for a loss, along with junior linebacker Joshua Smith, who has 7.5 sacks and 10.5 tackles for a loss.  Senior cornerbacks Kevin Chrissis and Luke Bedell have a team-leading three interceptions apiece.

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 118-45 career record with the squad, good for a .724 winning percentage.  The 1988 graduate of John Carroll University has helped lead the Spartans to six UAA Championships, four NCAA playoff appearances and two PAC Championships, including this year's title.  Debeljak was named the PAC Coach of the Year in 2017.

SCOUTING THE YELLOW JACKETS
Waynesburg will be coming off its bye week, and will be aiming to put an end to a three-game losing streak, including a 21-17 loss at home against Saint Vincent in their last game on October 26th.  The Yellow Jackets are 1-3 in home games this season, and their 1-6 conference ledger places them in ninth place in the current PAC standings.

Junior Mason Schrenker has completed 51.9% of his passes for 640 yards and four touchdowns with five interceptions.  Senior Nick Moretti is the team's top receiver with 27 catches for 344 yards and a touchdown, while first-year running back Justin Flack has carried the ball for 589 yards and three touchdowns.

Senior linebacker Tyler Smith leads the team with 79 total tackles (52 solo), 10.5 tackles for a loss and 2.0 sacks, and senior safety VaShon Graham has added 69 tackles, two interceptions and a team-leading three forced fumbles.  Senior cornerback Brennan Sefick has registered a team-high three interceptions and six pass breakups.

Waynesburg is coached by Chris Smithley, who is a 2009 graduate of the University.  He is now in his third year at the team's helm, and has registered an overall record of 7-21.

LAST MEETING/ SERIES HISTORY
Case Western Reserve defeated Waynesburg 41-17 last year in Cleveland.  Drew Saxton led the Spartans offense, registered 327 passing yards and throwing touchdown passes for five different receivers in the game.  Patrick Crossey had eight tackles and forced a fumble, as CWRU outgained Waynesburg 476-281 in the game.

The series between the two teams only dates back to the 2014 campaign, the first season that CWRU rejoined the PAC as a football affiliate member.  Waynesburg claimed a win in the first meeting, but the Spartans have won all four since, averaging 44.3 points per game during the winning streak against the Yellow Jackets.  CWRU is 1-1 in games played at Waynesburg, including a 35-7 win in their last road game against the Yellow Jackets in 2016.

IN THE POLLS
Case Western Reserve rose one spot in this week's D3football.com Top-25 from 21st to 20th, the team's highest ranking thus far in the 2019 campaign.  The Spartans also climbed two spots in this week's AFCA Top-25 from 17th to 15th, the highest they have been ranked in that poll during the campaign.  CWRU was also ranked fifth in the first NCAA South Region rankings, used to help determine at-large postseason bids and potential hosts for postseason games.

SENIOR CLASS SUCCESS
The 2019 CWRU senior football class has a chance to graduate as one of the most successful in the program's history.  Over the last four years, the team has amassed a 36-4 record, good for a .900 winning percentage and tied for the third-most wins by a single class in program history (three behind the program record of 39 set by the 2007-10 Spartans).  The team has also gone 29-3 in PAC games over the last four years, good for a .906 winning percentage, and has claimed two league titles.

UNDEFEATED SEASON
The Spartans are one of just 12 remaining NCAA Division III teams without a loss during the 2019 campaign.  With wins in their final two games, Case Western Reserve can record the sixth undefeated regular season in the program's history.  Previous undefeated seasons for the Spartans came in 1984, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2017.

PERFECT HOME RECORD
With last Saturday's win over Bethany, the Spartans ended their regular season with a 5-0 mark in home games.   It was the fifth time since DiSanto Field opened in 2005 that CWRU has gone undefeated on their home field during the regular season.  The Spartans now stand at 58-20 (.744 winning percentage) all-time at home.

ROAD WARRIORS
The Spartans will carry a five-game road winning streak into Saturday's game at Waynesburg, including a 3-0 mark on the road this season.  CWRU has won seven of their last eight road games, dating back to the start of the 2018 season.

RECORD SETTERS
Two CWRU players entered their names into the CWRU record books with their performances against Bethany last Saturday.  Cameron Brown registered one sack in the game, becoming the program's all-time leader with 33.5 for his career, breaking the program record of 33.0, held previously by former Spartan Dale English (2008-11).  Colt Morgan caught two touchdown passes in the game, and now has 31 for his career to match the career record also held by former Spartans David Kallevig (2001-04) and Shaun Nicely (2007-10).

SAXTON BREAKS 5,000 YARDS
With his 230-yard passing effort on Saturday against Bethany, Drew Saxton reached 5,221 yards for his career became the fifth player in program history to surpass 5,000 passing yards, joining Dan Whalen (9,724), Rob Cuda (7,883), Eli Grant (6,792) and Nick Leskiewicz (5,815).  Saxton is also fourth in program history with 55 career passing touchdowns, and is four away from matching Grant for the third-most ever by a Spartan quarterback.

PLAYERS IN THE TOP-25 NATIONAL STATISTICAL RANKINGS
Cameron Brown
leads all Division III players in forced fumbles per game (0.75), and is fifth in sacks per game (1.25) and eighth in tackles for a loss per game (2.0)… Travis Johnston is third in fumbles recovered (3) and 18th in blocked kicks (2)… Junior linebacker Brian Victor is 17th in forced fumbles per game (0.38)… Drew Saxton is 21st in passing touchdowns (21)… Junior linebacker Michael Amadio is eighth in punt return touchdowns (1)… Colt Morgan is ninth in receiving touchdowns (12) and 21st in receptions per game (7.1)… Joshua Smith is 13th in sacks per game (1.07).

APPROACHING MILESTONES
Zach Hall
is 89 rushing yards away from 1,000 for his career… Donald Day III is 41 rushing yards away from 500 for his career… Colt Morgan is 76 receiving yards away from 2,000 for his career… Morgan is also 14 points away from 200 for his career… Brian Victor is eight tackles shy of 100 for his career.