Benger Runs for 175 Yards in Carnegie Mellon’s 17-16 Win Over Washington U.

Benger Runs for 175 Yards in Carnegie Mellon’s 17-16 Win Over Washington U.

(PITTSBURGH, Pa.) – With 11 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter, the Carnegie Mellon University football team scored on Zach Cree's (Vanderbilt, Pa./Connellsville Area) one-yard touchdown run to even the score against Washington University, 16-16. Sophomore placekicker Gabe Renna (Carlsbad, Calif./La Costa Canyon) knocked home the extra-point to propel the Tartans to a 17-16 victory over their UAA rival. Carnegie Mellon finishes the 2014 campaign with a 4-6 record and the Bears finish with the same mark.

The Bears struck first on Saturday, as a blocked field goal by Ryan Rees set Washington up at midfield. Nine plays later, Alex Hallwachs drilled a 36-yard field goal to give the visitors the early 3-0 lead with 10:28 to play in the first quarter.

Carnegie Mellon responded with a six-play, 44-yard drive that resulted in a one-yard touchdown plunge by Cree to take a 7-3 advantage.  The score was setup by a 32-yard scamper by junior quarterback Andrew Hearon (Tulsa, Okla./Metro Christian Academy) on the previous play.  

Hallwachs pulled the Bears to within a point as he converted his second field goal of the game.  His 41-yard boot made the score 7-6 with 14 minutes left in the first half.  Hallwachs added a third field goal of the half with 2:35 to play, making the score 9-7.  A 54-yard interception return by Dylan Petre deep in Washington's territory, led to Hallwachs' third field goal attempt.  

With three minutes left in the third quarter, the Bears extended their lead to 16-7 as JJ Tomlin found Max Elliott for a four-yard touchdown toss.  The score capped off a 10-play, 59-yard drive that took 3:35 of the clock.

Right before the end of the third quarter, Carnegie Mellon cut into Washington's lead with a 20-yard field goal off the foot of Renna to make the score 16-10 heading into the fourth.

The Tartans began their winning drive with 2:27 left to play in the contest.  The nine-play, 68-yard drive saw Hearon complete three passes for 37 yards while rushing for another 25 before Cree found the end zone from a yard away. Freshman running back Sam Benger (Hingham, Mass.), who finished the game with a career-high 175 yards rushing, accounted for the other five yards on the drive.

Carnegie Mellon outgained Washington 460-316 with 286 yards coming by way of the Tartans rushing attack.  The Cardinal and Gray controlled the clock, holding the ball for 35:27 to the Bears 24:33.  Benger's 175 yards marked the most by a Tartan since November, 5, 2011 when Patrick Blanks rushed for 171 yards in a Tartan victory over UAA foe Chicago.  Hearon was 23-of-39 for 177 yards and one interception.  The junior added a career-high 98 yards rushing on the ground.  

Junior Chris Herrera (Miami, Fla./Christopher Columbus) led the Tartan wide receivers with six catches for 71 yards, including a huge three-yard reception on third-and-three the play prior to Cree's winning score.  Senior Tim Swanson (Millburn, N.J.) finished his career with 1,465 yards receiving, ranking fourth all-time in school history, after recording five catches for 35 yards.  

Junior linebacker Nico Comsa (Connellsville, Pa.) and freshman safety Drew Fitzmorris (Omaha, Neb./Westside) led the Tartans' defense with 10 tackles each. Junior cornerback Vince Demarchi (Chesterland, Ohio / West Geauga) recorded his second interception of the season in the Tartans' victory.