(CLEVELAND, Ohio) – The Carnegie Mellon University football team traveled to Presidents' Athletic Conference (PAC) and University Athletic Association (UAA) rival Case Western Reserve University for the 33rd Annual Academic Bowl on Saturday. The Tartans won a thrilling overtime contest over the 19th-ranked Spartans, 29-23, and the UAA championship. The Association title marks the 11th in program history. The contest counts towards both the PAC and UAA standings. Carnegie Mellon is now 5-4 overall and 4-4 in PAC play while the Spartans end their season with a record of 8-2, 7-2.
In overtime, Case Western Reserve was on offense first and an interception by junior Anthony Kennon (Lancaster, Mass./Nashoba Regional) in the end zone gave the Tartans a chance to win the game on the next drive. Carnegie Mellon then needed three touches in the overtime frame by junior Chris Haas (Coronado, Calif./Coronado) to secure the victory. The junior running back had two carries for eight yards each before taking it in from nine yards away for the touchdown and the Cardinal and Gray win.
Haas finished the game with a career-best 218 yards on 36 carries, for an average of 6.1 yards per carry, and two scores. Carnegie Mellon outgained Case Western Reserve 450-385. Senior quarterback Alex Cline (Dublin, Ohio/Dublin Jerome) completed 12-of-28 passes for 207 yards and two touchdowns. Senior wide receiver Karl Kumm (Brick, N.J./Brick Township) finished with his second career 100-yard receiving game, as he had five catches for 101 yards and two scores.
Defensively, Kennon ended with two interceptions and seven tackles, six solo. Junior Quinn Gaughan (Elmhurst, Ill./York Community) led the Tartans with nine tackles. Senior Quinn Zsido (New Windsor, N.Y./Cornwall Central) and freshman Nick Cizik (Portland, Ore./Sunset) both tallying eight.
Drew Saxton threw for 331 yards on 21-of-49 and a touchdown. Colt Morgan led the Spartans with nine catches for 128 yards and a score while Luke DiFrancesco had six receptions for 143 yards.
Two first quarter field goals by Case Western Reserve's Robertson Albrecht gave the home team a 6-0 lead. The first split the uprights from 21 yards away with the second coming from 31 yards out.
On the second play of the second quarter, Spartans defensive back Kevin Chrissis jumped in front of a Cline pass for an interception and then darted 43 yards for the score. Chrissis' score gave Case Western Reserve a 13-0 lead with 14:06 to play in the half.
With 4:37 to play in the half Carnegie Mellon pulled the score to 13-7 when Cline connected with Kumm on a 35-yard touchdown strike.
The Tartans defense forced the Spartans to turn the ball over on downs with 1:13 to play in the half which would lead to another score for the visitor's. Carnegie Mellon marched 58 yards on nine plays and the result was a career-long 45-yard field goal by freshman placekicker Brandon Nguyen (Maitland, Fla./Lake Highland Preparatory) to make the score 13-10 at the break. A 39-yard completion by junior wide receiver Jamie Greenwell (Celina, Texas/Mckinney Christian Academy) from Cline setup the Nguyen kick.
Case Western Reserve took the opening kickoff of the second and marched 69 yards on five plays to push the score to 20-10 when Saxton found Morgan on a 14-yard screen.
Carnegie Mellon answered with a 12-play, 88-yard drive that resulted in an 8-yard touchdown run by Haas. The point-after-attempt hit the top right goal post and bounced out which left the score 20-16 with five minutes to play in the third quarter.
With 8:22 to play in the fourth quarter, Carnegie Mellon took its first lead of the game when the duo of Cline and Kumm hooked up for a second touchdown strike. This time, the tandem connected on a 29-yard score which made the score 23-20 after a Nguyen point-after-attempt sailed through the uprights.
The Spartans wasted little time to knot the score at 23-23. On the ensuing possession, Albrecht's drained an 18-yard field goal which was his third of the game with 5:50 showing on the clock.
Carnegie Mellon will conclude its season on Saturday, November 17 when Geneva College travels to Pittsburgh for a 1:00 p.m. kick.