(NEW WILMINGTON, Pa.) – The Carnegie Mellon University football team traveled to Westminster College on Saturday and a 27-yard touchdown run by Titans Shamon Walker with 13 seconds to play gave the home team a 23-19 Presidents' Athletic Conference (PAC) victory. Carnegie Mellon is now 4-4 overall and 3-4 in PAC play, as Westminster moves to 6-3 and 6-2 in the PAC.
Westminster held a 328-289 advantage in total offense. Senior quarterback Alex Cline (Dublin, Ohio/Dublin Jerome) ended the game with 180 yards passing and a touchdown. Junior Willie Richter (Leander, Texas/Cedar Park) led the Tartans with six catches for 41 yards while junior Jamie Greenwell (Celina, Texas/Mckinney Christian Academy) had two receptions for 48 yards. Junior Chris Haas (Coronado, Calif./Coronado) led the Tartans rushing attack with a career-high 75 yards on 20 carries.
Defensively, the Tartans totaled five sacks and three interceptions on the afternoon. Junior Michael Lohmeier (Clarendon Hills, Ill./Hinsdale Central) recorded 2.0 sacks for a loss of 14 yards while senior Long Tran (Harrisburg, Pa./Susquehanna Township) had 1.5 sacks for a loss of 13 yards and totaled 2.5 tackles for loss of 17 yards.
Walker and Augustus Mecastro combined to throw for 238 yards and a score. Bryson Paulinelliehad six catches for 122 yards and a touchdown to lead the Titans receivers. Walker rushed for 61 yards on 14 carries with the game winning touchdown.
On the first play of the game, Mecastro found Paulinellie on a 75-yard catch-and-run down the sideline for a Titan touchdown. The point-after-attempt was blocked by sophomore Skyler Blacker (Lake Bluff, Ill./Libertyville) to leave the score 6-0.
Carnegie Mellon cut the deficit in half with a 38-yard field goal by freshman placekicker Brandon Nguyen (Maitland, Fla./Lake Highland Preparatory) with 5:34 to play in the first quarter. Nguyen's kick, which made the score 6-3, capped off a 15-play drive that was started by an interception by senior Ethan Anderson (McMurray, Pa./Peters Township).
Westminster pushed the lead back to six at 9-3 with a 33-yard field goal by John Cybak on the Titans next possession.
With 13:24 to play in the first half, junior Thomas Polutchko (Southborough, Mass./Algonquin Regional) gave the Tartans a 10-9 lead with a 35-yard interception return for a touchdown. It marked Polutchko's second straight game with a pick-six.
The Titans responded with an interception return for a score of their own. Vincent Giles sprinted 92 yards for the home team touchdown to give Westminster the lead back at 16-10 five minutes into play of the second quarter.
Westminster's attempt to extend its lead to two scores before the end of the half was halted with another blocked kick by Blacker. This time, the sophomore blocked a 44-yard field goal attempt by the Titans.
Nguyen once again cut the Tartans deficit to three points with a 21-yard field at the 6:09 mark of the third quarter to make the score 16-13.
The Titans continued to hold a three-point lead until the final minute of play when the lead changed hands twice. With 55 seconds on the clock, Cline connected with freshman Kris Hughes (Springboro, Ohio/Springboro) in the back corner of the end zone. The point after was blocked which left the score 19-16 Carnegie Mellon before Walker scored the winning touchdown 42 seconds later that capped off a six-play, 59-yard drive.
The Tartans will be back on the gridiron on Saturday, November 10 in the 33rd Academic Bowl against Case Western Reserve University. Kick is set for 2:00 p.m. in Cleveland, Ohio.