Tartans Win Thriller Over Grove City

Tartans Win Thriller Over Grove City

PITTSBURGH, Pa. – The Carnegie Mellon University football team opened its 2012 season with a thrilling 23-20 victory over Grove City College Saturday, September 1, on the turf at Gesling Stadium.  The win marks the Tartans' 14th straight season opening victory.    

Grove City struck first, as they put together a 12-play, 67-yard drive that eclipsed 4:41 off the clock.  Senior Shane Kaclik scored on a 2-yard run, but Tartan junior Ross Farquharson (Ellicott City, Md./McDonogh School) blocked the point after attempt making the score 6-0 in favor of the Wolverines.

After the teams exchanged turnovers, Carnegie Mellon grabbed a 7-6 lead on a 5-yard scamper by senior running back Jake Nardone (Beaver, Pa./Beaver Area) with 2:56 left in the first quarter.  Nardone's score came three plays following a 60-yard catch and run by the junior on 3rd and 12.  

The Tartans extended the lead when freshman place kicker Connor Young (Long Valley, N.J./West Morris Central) connected on a 43-yard field goal half way through the second quarter. The 43-yarder marked the longest by a Tartan since 2002.

In the closing minutes of the half, the lead changed hands twice.  Grove City's junior signal caller Brian Pell found junior wide out Anthony Ritchie on a fade in the corner of the end zone making the score 13-10.

The Wolverine defense held the Tartans to a three and out and forced a punt. Three plays later, senior cornerback Sam Thompson (Alcoa, Tenn.) intercepted Pell with 33 seconds on the clock, allowing the Tartans another chance before the end of the half.

On 3rd and 11 from their own 48-yard line, junior quarterback Rob Kalkstein (Monroeville, Pa./Gateway) stepped up in the pocket and found sophomore Timothy Swanson (Millburn, N.J.) for a 52-yard touchdown strike. Young pushed the point after attempt left leaving the Tartans ahead 16-13 at the break.

At the 5:50 mark in the third quarter, Pell and Ritchie found the end zone once again.  This time the junior duo scored on a 21-yard pass play.  With the converted point after the score was 20-16 Grove City.  

After a weather delay of over an hour the Tartans marched to the Grove City 13-yard line before getting stuffed on fourth down with one yard to go.

Three minutes later on Carnegie Mellon's next possession they reclaimed the lead and held it the rest of the way when Kalkstein threw his second touchdown pass of the game.  Kalkstein hooked up with junior wide receiver Tim Kikta (Pittsburgh, Pa./Upper St. Clair) for a 45-yard score giving the Tartans a 23-20 edge with 5:06 remaining in the game.

On Grove City's ensuing possession, senior Liam McGrath (Havertown, Pa./Haverford) intercepted Pell for the second time in the game to preserve the Tartan victory. McGrath finished with three solo tackles and two interceptions in the win.

Carnegie Mellon held the edge in total offense 373-305 as well as forcing three turnovers to the Wolverines two.  Kalkstein ended the day completing 8-of-16 for 192 yards and two scores.  Senior running back Jared Delello (Whitehouse Station, N.J./Hunterdon Central) led the Tartans with 71 yards rushing as the team ended with a total of 181.  Nardone rushed for 47 yards and a score while catching two passes for 63 yards.

Defensively, senior Alexander Lum (Whitehouse Station, N.J./Hunterdon Central) and junior safety Jack Butler (Kennesaw, Ga./North Cobb) led the way for the Tartans with 10 tackles each.

For Grove City, Pell was 21-of-39 for 188 yards with two touchdown tosses.  Ritchie led all receivers with seven catches for 82 yards and two scores while Kaclik ended with 65 yards rushing and a score.

 The Tartans will travel to Allegheny College Saturday, September 8 with kickoff slated for 3:30 p.m.