(ST. LOUIS, Mo.) – The Carnegie Mellon University football team opened its 2017 campaign with a 28-7 road victory over Washington University in St. Louis on Saturday, September 2. The win snaps the Tartans four-game losing streak in season openers and also marks the fourth win by a WashU opponent in the last five years at Francis Field.
Tartan senior wide receiver John Prather (Olney, Md./Our Lady Of Good Counsel) ended the game with 146 yards on eight catches and a touchdown. He became the school's all-time leading receiver, as he now has 2,191 yards for his career. The senior surpassed Brian Carlock's mark of 2,156 career yards receiving from 1970-73.
On the Tartans' opening possession of the season, senior running back Sam Benger (Hingham, Mass.) capped off a nine-play, 90-yard drive with a 4-yard touchdown run to make the score 7-0 at the midway point of the first quarter. During the drive, junior quarterback Alex Cline (Dublin, Ohio/Dublin Jerome) completed 5-of-5 passes for 82 yards with three going to Prather for 66 yards.
On the second play of the second quarter, Cline gave the Tartans a 14-0 lead with a 1-yard quarterback keeper. In the closing minute of the first half, Cline connected with Prather on a 12-yard touchdown strike to extend the Cardinal and Gray's lead to 21-0 heading into halftime.
At the 12-minute mark of the third quarter, the Tartans pushed the lead to 28-0 on a 10-yard interception return for a touchdown by senior Stanley Bikulege (Greer, S.C./Saint Joseph's Catholic).
The Bears got on the scoreboard with nine minutes to play in the game when David Nees ran for a 6-yard touchdown to make the score 28-7.
The Tartans finished the game with 430 yards of total offense with 277 coming by way of the passing game. Carnegie Mellon's defense held WashU to 98 yards rushing and 211 yards of total offense in the win. Cline finished the day completing 20-of-33 for 274 yards and a touchdown while tossing two interceptions. Junior Rory Hubbard (Rolling Hills Estates, Calif./Palos Verdes Peninsula) led the Tartans ground attack with 55 yards on eight carries.
Bikulege and junior cornerback Ethan Anderson (McMurray, Pa./Peters Township) led the defense with 11 tackles each. The 11 tackles by Anderson marked a career-high.
Carnegie Mellon will begin its home slate on Saturday, September 9 when they entertain the Yellowjackets of the University of Rochester. Kick at Gesling Stadium is set for 1:00 p.m.