Football Drops Overtime Heartbreaker to Washington U.

Football Drops Overtime Heartbreaker to Washington U.

(PITTSBURGH, Pa.) – The Carnegie Mellon University football team opened its 2016 season with a 41-34 overtime setback to the Bears of Washington University in St. Louis on Saturday, September 3 on the turf at Gesling Stadium in University Athletic Association (UAA) play. Junior running back Sam Benger (Hingham, Mass.) led the Tartans with 251 yards and three touchdowns, as he moved in to second place on the school's all-time rushing list with 2,913 yards for his career.

Carnegie Mellon's senior placekicker Gabe Renna (Carlsbad, Calif./La Costa Canyon) put the Tartans on top 34-26 with 3:35 to play in the game with a 22-yard field goal. Washington then marched 70 yards on 13 plays which resulted in a touchdown strike by J.J. Tomlin to Kevin Hammarlund from 19 yards away with 12 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter. The touchdown made the score 34-32 before Tomlin found Matt Page in the middle of the end zone to convert the 2-point try to send the contest to overtime knotted at 34-34.

Washington began overtime on offense and on third-and-14 from the 29-yard line Tomlin hooked up with Page for what proved to be the winning touchdown. The point-after-attempt was good and the Bears led 41-34. On what ended up being the final play of overtime, the Tartans were faced with a fourth-and-two from the Bears 3-yard line. Benger got the handoff, but the junior back was stopped short of the first down marker.

The Tartans took a 21-0 lead at the end of the first quarter, as Benger scored twice and tallied 69 yards. His second score came four plays after an interception by junior linebacker Sean Graff (Oswego, Ill.) got the ball back for the Tartans. Benger's scores were sandwiched with a 29-yard touchdown strike from junior quarterback Bryan Jangro (Jessup, Md./Mount Saint Joseph) to junior wide receiver John Prather (Olney, Md./Our Lady Of Good Counsel).

The visitors got on the board on their first possession of the second quarter when Dan Kalvaitis converted a 21-yard field goal to make the score 21-3 with 12 minutes to play in the half. Three-and-a-half minutes later the Bears made the score 21-10 on a Tomlin to Hammarlund 40-yard connection. Kalvaitis added a 20-yard field goal in the closing minutes of the first half to make the score 21-13 at the break.

On the second play of the second half, Logan Bash broke free for a 78-yard touchdown run and pulled the Bears to within a point at 21-20. Renna pushed the Tartans lead to 24-20 with a 26-yard field goal midway through the third quarter before Tomlin and Page gave the Bears a 26-24 advantage on a 21-yard touchdown before the third came to a halt.

Benger added his third touchdown of the afternoon at the 11:31 mark of the fourth quarter on a 2-yard run. A roughing the punter penalty kept the drive going which resulted in the Tartans reclaiming the lead.  

Carnegie Mellon totaled 573 yards of offense with 320 coming on the ground while Washington finished with 511 yards. Jangro threw for a career-best 253 yards completing 14-of-27 with a touchdown. Prather finished with a career-high 153 yards on seven receptions and a score. It marked his second career 100-yard game.

Sophomore Ethan Anderson (McMurray, Pa./Peters Township) posted a career-best 10 tackles to lead the Tartans. Senior defensive lineman Brian Khoury (Davenport, Iowa/Bettendorf) recorded four tackles for a loss of 25 yards including two sacks. The two sacks give him 19 for his career and move him into third on the school's all-time list. Senior safety Malcolm Guya (Whitehall Pa.) recorded two interceptions in the loss and tabbed six tackles, five solo.

Tomlin completed 35-of-61 for 371 yards and four touchdowns. Page led the Bears' receivers with 150 yards on eight catches and two touchdowns while Hammarlund recorded 10 receptions for 119 yards and two scores.   

The Tartans are idle next week and return to the gridiron on Saturday, September 17 when the Yellow Jackets of Waynesburg University travel to Pittsburgh. Kickoff is set for 1:00 p.m. on the turf of Gesling Stadium.