Benger Sets School Record in Setback to #14 Washington & Jefferson

Benger Sets School Record in Setback to #14 Washington & Jefferson

(PITTSBURGH, Pa.) – Sophomore running back Sam Benger (Hingham, Mass.) set a Carnegie Mellon University school record for most yards rushed in a single-game in a 38-14 setback to No. 14 Washington & Jefferson College on Saturday, September 19.  The sophomore back rushed for 303 yards on 21 carries and two touchdowns, as the Tartans fall to 0-2 on the season and 0-1 in Presidents' Athletic Conference play while the Presidents remain unbeaten at 3-0, 1-0.

Carnegie Mellon opened the scoring on its second possession of the game when Benger broke loose to the outside for a 51-yard touchdown scamper.  The extra point gave the Tartans an early 7-0 lead with just under 11 minutes to play in the first quarter.  

W&J answered with two scores before the end of the quarter to make the score 14-7 after 15 minutes of play.  The first came on a 5-yard touchdown strike by Pete Coughlin to Daniel Lis before Coughlin tossed his second score of the afternoon on the last play of the stanza.   This time the junior found Jesse Zubik on a 75-yard catch and run.

The visitors grabbed a 21-7 lead midway through the second quarter when Coughlin connected with Eric Scott from 15 yards out.  The Tartans answered quickly.  On the first play of the ensuing possession, Benger broke free for an 85-yard scamper to close the scoring to 21-14 with 7:01 to play in the half.

The Presidents added a field goal in the closing minutes of the half to go into the break leading 24-14.  W&J continued to hold the momentum in the second half and held the Tartans scoreless.  The Presidents scored twice in the second half, the first on a 37-yard run by Ryan Riffling in the third quarter.  Coughlin then tossed his fourth touchdown of the game and second to Scott midway through the fourth quarter to finish the scoring.

The Tartans totaled 399 yards of total offense to the Presidents' 594, but Carnegie Mellon held the edge on the ground 341-268 thanks to Benger's career day.  It was the most yards Carnegie Mellon gained on the ground since 2011, when the Tartans rushed for 322 in a win over Ohio Wesleyan. Benger's 303 yards topped Mike Monsilovich's mark of 207 against Alfred on September 29, 1998.  Benger at the half had 220 yards on 13 carries.      

Defensively, the Tartans had five players with double-digit tackles.  Sophomores Drew Fitzmorris (Omaha, Neb./Westside) and Stanley Bikulege (Greer, S.C./Saint Joseph's Catholic) each tabbed 12 total.  It was a career-best for Bikulege. Senior Ryan Aitken (Alexandria, Va./West Potomac) along with juniors Samer Abdelmoty (McLean, Va.) and Brian Khoury (Davenport, Iowa/Bettendorf) each had 11 tackles.  It was also a career-high for Khoury and tied a career-best for Abdelmoty.

Coughlin threw for 309 yards on 27-of-40 and four touchdowns.  Scott led the Presidents with nine receptions for 97 yards and two scores while Zubik recorded 122 yards receiving and grabbed five receptions.  Ruffing finished the day with a career-high 231 yards rushing on 38 carries and one touchdown.  Lucas Parrish led W&J with 10 tackles.

Carnegie Mellon will travel to Geneva on Saturday, September 26.  Kick is set for 3:00 p.m.