Football Wins Offensive Showdown Over Bethany

Football Wins Offensive Showdown Over Bethany

(PITTSBURGH, Pa.) – The Carnegie Mellon University football team hosted the Bison of Bethany College in a Presidents Athletic Conference (PAC) showdown on homecoming and came away with a 56-35 victory.  The Tartans move to 2-3 overall while evening their mark in PAC play at 2-2.  Bethany is now 2-4, 1-3.

Carnegie Mellon struck three plays into its first drive when senior quarterback Andrew Hearon (Tulsa, Okla./Metro Christian Academy) connected with sophomore wide receiver John Prather (Olney, Md./Our Lady Of Good Counsel) for a 31-yard touchdown.  Prather's diving grab made the score 7-0 following the converted point after.

Bethany answered on the following possession with a 31-yard touchdown strike of its own.  Lincon Reyes found Tyler Ambush to knot the score at 7-7 with 10:51 to play.

The Tartans scored twice before the first quarter came to a close.  The first on a 1-yard run by sophomore running back Sam Benger (Hingham, Mass.) and the second on another Hearon to Prather connection, this time a 44-yard catch and run, which left the score 21-7 with 4:28 to play.

The Bison added to the first quarter scoring when Reyes tossed his second touchdown.  The Bison signal caller found Eric Blinn from three yards out closing the quarter with the score 21-14 and 403 yards of total offense, 230 by the Tartans.  

On the first drive of the second quarter the duo of Hearon and Prather recorded third score of the contest.  The 8-yard strike capped off a nine-play 81-yard drive and made the score 28-14 with 12:33 to play in the half.

Hearon's fourth touchdown of the first half went to senior Max Reinertsen (Esko, Minn.).  The score was setup by a 23-yard interception return when junior Samer Abdelmoty (McLean, Va.) picked off Reyes two plays prior and returned it to the 3-yard line.  The touchdown gave the Tartans a 35-14 lead.  

In the closing seconds of the first half, Bethany cut into the Tartans lead.  Reyes capped off an eight-play, 76-yard drive with a 26-yard touchdown strike to Robert Seman leaving the score 35-21 at the half.

Benger made the score 42-21 with 3:02 to play in the third quarter on a 10-yard scamper.  The Bison wasted little time responding and marched 65 yards on five plays on the ensuing possession and cut into the deficit.  Reyes and Ambush struck for their second score on a 39-yard catch and run.

A 47-yard interception return by sophomore Drew Fitzmorris (Omaha, Neb./Westside) setup Benger's third touchdown run of the game. A play following the interception, Benger ran 30 yards to make the score 49-28.

The team's exchanged scores late in the fourth quarter with the Tartans score coming on a 5-yard run by junior running back Mike Minjock (Venetia, Pa./Peters Township) to end the scoring at 56-35.

The two teams combined for 1,065 total offensive yards and 180 plays.  The Tartans held a slight edge in total offense 533-532.  Carnegie Mellon's defense recorded five interceptions with Abdelmoty securing two.  The five interceptions is the most by a Tartans defense since 2005 when the Cardinal and Gray recorded seven at Colorado College.

Hearon ended the game completing 11-of-22 passes for 222 yards and a career-best four touchdowns.  His 222 yards now gives him 2,700 for his career and moves him into eighth all-time in career passing yards for a Tartan signal caller.  Prather finished with four receptions for 85 yards and a career-high three touchdowns.  Reinertsen ended the day with four receptions for 31 yards and a touchdown while senior wide out Graham Schilling (Export, Pa./Franklin Regional) caught two passes for 99 yards.

Benger led the ground attack with 201 yards rushing averaging 7.2 yards per carry.  He recorded career highs with 28 carries and three touchdowns.  It also marked his seventh 100-yard outing for his career and fourth this season.

Defensively, sophomore Stanley Bikulege (Greer, S.C./Saint Joseph's Catholic) led the charge for the Tartans tying a career-best with 12 tackles including a career-high eight solo stops. He also recorded his first career interception and had 1.5 tackles for a loss. Classmate Kyle Brittain (Largo, Fla./Clearwater Central Catholic) also tabbed a career-high 12 tackles including seven solo and Fitzmorris recorded his fourth double digit tackle contest of the season with 10 stops.

Reyes led the Bison with 368 yards passing on 24-of-53 attempts and four touchdowns.  Ambush finished with eight catches for 203 yards and two scores while Blinn tabbed 13 catches for 100 yards and one touchdown.

The Tartans head on the road Saturday, October 17 for a 1:30 p.m. kick at Grove City College.