(PITTSBURGH, Pa.) – The Carnegie Mellon University football team hosted Thomas More College on Saturday in a Presidents' Athletic Conference (PAC) showdown and forced four turnovers to walk away with a 37-17 win. Carnegie Mellon remains unbeaten at 4-0 and 2-0 in PAC play while Thomas More is now 1-3, 0-2. The 4-0 start for the Tartans is the best since 2012 when the team started with the identical mark.
Junior quarterback Alex Cline (Dublin, Ohio/Dublin Jerome) finished the day with four touchdowns. He passed for three and ran for another in the win. Cline completed 16-of-20 passes for 177 yards while he totaled 90 yards rushing on seven carries. Senior wide receiver John Prather (Olney, Md./Our Lady Of Good Counsel) recorded his seventh career 100-yard game and second this year with five receptions for 114 yards and a touchdown to lead the Tartans. Prather became the school's all-time career receptions leader and has 152 for his career. He passed Brian Carlock's (1970-73) mark of 148.
Senior Tommy Mansfield (Westerville, Ohio/Westerville Central) hauled in six catches for 45 yards while senior running back Sam Benger (Hingham, Mass.) carried the ball 12 times for 51 yards and a touchdown. Benger also added two catches for 11 yards and a score.
Thomas More gained 463 yards of offense to Carnegie Mellon's 362. The Saints rushing attack was led by Hjavie Pitts, who entered the game as the fourth leading rusher in Division III. The Tartans held Pitts to 88 yards on 18 carries while Luke Zajac rushed nine times for 56 yards.
Senior Stanley Bikulege (Greer, S.C./Saint Joseph's Catholic) recorded 10 tackles, four solo to lead the Cardinal and Gray defense. Senior linebacker Quentin Wolfe (Round Rock, Texas/Stony Point) ended with eight tackles while junior cornerback Ethan Anderson (McMurray, Pa./Peters Township) tabbed six, five solo, while recovering a fumble and adding two pass breakups.
On the first play from scrimmage, Carnegie Mellon's junior Julian Nelson (Washington, D.C./Archbishop Carroll) forced a fumble that was recovered by senior teammate Sean Graff (Oswego, Ill.) on the Thomas More 27-yard line. Two plays later, Cline found sophomore wide receiver Jamie Greenwell (Celina, Texas/Mckinney Christian Academy) on a 10-yard touchdown strike to give the Tartans the early 7-0 lead.
A 53-yard punt return by sophomore Willie Richter (Leander, Texas/Cedar Park) setup the Tartans second score of the game. On the first play following the return, Benger plunged into the end zone from a yard away untouched to make the score 14-0 at the 5:33 mark of the first quarter.
Carnegie Mellon struck again before the end of the first quarter to push the lead to 21-0. Cline tossed his second first quarter touchdown when he found Prather on a 5-yard score. With 1:26 to play in the half, Thomas More got on the scoreboard with a field goal by Cole Mathias. The 20-yard boot cut the score to 21-3 at the half.
Less than two minutes into the second half, Cline extended the Tartans lead to 28-3 with his third touchdown of the game. This time, Cline scrambled before he dashed 56 yards for the score. On the Cardinal and Gray's next possession, Cline struck again, as he found Benger for an 11-yard swing pass. The extra-point sailed wide right and the score stood at 34-3. The seven-play drive stayed alive following a fake punt that went for 31 yards on a run by freshman Kerry Tomasetti (Landenberg, Pa./Kennett).
Thomas More made the score 34-10 when Brenan Kuntz hooked up with Daylin Garland II on a 43-yard touchdown with five minutes to play in the third quarter. The Tartans answered with a nine-play, 65-yard drive that ended with a 42-yard field goal by senior Tyler Kohman (Pataskala, Ohio/Columbus Academy) as the third quarter came to a close.
The Saints added a late touchdown when Justin Post found Will Thompson for a 20-yard touchdown pass. The score closed the scoring on the afternoon
Carnegie Mellon will look to start the season with five straight wins since 2006 when the Tartans travel to Bethany College on Saturday, September 30. Kick is set for 2:00 p.m.