(PITTSBURGH, Pa.) – The Carnegie Mellon University football team hosted Allegheny College Saturday, September 14, and pulled away in the second half courtesy of three rushing touchdowns for the 26-7 victory. The win evens the Tartans record to 1-1 as the Gators drop to 0-2.
The Tartans had a chance to get on the scoreboard at the end of the first quarter, but senior quarterback Rob Kalkstein's (Monroeville, Pa./Gateway) pass was intercepted by Jake Szoszorek at the goal line. Carnegie Mellon defense forced the Gators to punt on the ensuing possession setting the stage for the first score of the contest.
Carnegie Mellon started on its own 49-yard line and eight plays later, senior running back Zachary Erra-Hernandez (Las Cruces, N.M./Onate) plunged over the line for a 1-yard score. Sophomore place kicker Connor Young's (Long Valley, N.J./West Morris Central) point after attempt sailed through the uprights giving Carnegie Mellon a 7-0 lead with 7:56 left in the half.
The score remained 7-0 until the last play of the half when Jon Nigro launched a Hail Mary to the end zone and Andrew Niklaus came down with the ball for the Gators. The extra point knotted the score at 7-7 at the break.
On the Tartans first drive of the second half, sophomore running back Troy Witt (Cranberry Twp., Pa./Seneca Valley) capped off a 14-play, 74-yard drive with a 13-yard touchdown run. The point after sailed left of the post after a bad snap making the score 13-7.
Witt added his second rushing score of the game with 9:27 remaining. This time, the sophomore scored on an 8-yard scamper finishing off a nine-play, 82-yard drive. With the missed extra point the score was 19-7.
Before the end of the contest, sophomore running back Max Reinertsen (Esko, Minn.) scored his first collegiate touchdown to seal the win for the Tartans. The sophomore scored on a 13-yard run pushing the Tartan lead to 26-7.
Carnegie Mellon totaled 410 yards of offense with 222 yards coming by the ground attack while Allegheny recorded 266 total yards. Witt led the Tartans with a career-high 103 yards on 16 carries and two scores. Erra-Hernandez ended the game with 89 yards rushing on 19 carries and a score.
Senior linebacker Akwasi Brefo (Lawrenceville, Ga./Central Gwinette) headed the Tartan defense with nine tackles, six solo, and a sack. Senior inside linebacker Eric Rolfes (Cincinnati, Ohio/Madeira) tallied seven tackles in the win with senior safety Jack Butler (Kennesaw, Ga./North Cobb) totaling six along with two pass breakups and an interception.
Nigro ended the game with 137 yards passing on 12-of-25. Niklaus was his top target catching eight passes for 113 yards and a score. Trevor Colvin led the Gators defense with nine tackles.
The Tartans will travel to our nation's capital Friday, September 20 to play Catholic University at 7:00 p.m.