(PITTSBURGH, Pa.) – The Carnegie Mellon University football team hosted the Golden Tornadoes of Geneva College on Saturday and junior quarterback Alex Cline (Dublin, Ohio/Dublin Jerome) threw for a career-high 324 yards in a 42-27 win in the Presidents' Athletic Conference (PAC) game. Carnegie Mellon is now 6-1 overall and 4-1 in PAC play while Geneva evens its record at 3-3 and 2-2.
Cline also tossed three touchdowns on the afternoon with two going to senior Tommy Mansfield (Westerville, Ohio/Westerville Central). Mansfield ended the game with 108 yards on six catches and two scores. Senior wide receiver John Prather (Olney, Md./Our Lady Of Good Counsel) recorded his fourth straight game with 100 yards receiving with 123 yards on five receptions. It marked the second time in school history that two Tartan receivers recorded 100 yards in a game. The other time was in 1993 when Aaron Neal recorded 141 yards and Jarrod Siket totaled 135 at Rochester.
Senior running back Sam Benger (Hingham, Mass.) led the Tartans rushing attack with 86 yards on 16 carries and two scores. Geneva outgained Carnegie Mellon 541-475 in total offense with the Golden Tornadoes recording 482 yards rushing.
Trewon Marshall led Geneva with 215 yards on 32 carries and one touchdown. Bryan Stafford ended the game with 144 yards and a touchdown on 22 carries.
Senior safety Drew Fitzmorris (Omaha, Neb./Westside) tied a school record with 22 tackles to lead the Tartan defense. Fitzmorris tied Aaron Lewis' mark set in 2005.
Benger gave the Tartans a 7-0 lead with 8:18 to play in the first quarter. The senior back capped off a seven-play, 55-yard drive with a 12-yard touchdown run up the middle.
Sophomore cornerback Anthony Kennon's (Lancaster, Mass./Nashoba Regional) first career interception setup the Tartans' second score of the game. Six plays and 82 yards later Carnegie Mellon led 14-0 following an 8-yard touchdown strike from Cline to Mansfield.
On Geneva's first play on the ensuing possession, Marshall broke loose for a 77-yard touchdown run to make the score 14-7.
Carnegie Mellon immediately answered on its first play of the next possession with another Cline touchdown strike. This time the signal caller found junior h-back Karl-Mark Kumm (Brick, N.J./Brick Township) for a 61-yard catch-and-run.
The home team pushed its lead to 28-7 with Benger's second touchdown run of the afternoon with 8:29 to play in the half. Benger's 1-yard score capped a seven-play drive that started at the Carnegie Mellon 14-yard line following a fumble recovery by sophomore safety Parker Mellott (Ijamsville, Md./Urbana) which was forced by senior linebacker Sean Graff (Oswego, Ill.).
Before the end of the half, Geneva cut the score in half when Stafford connected with Harrison Kozlow on a 33-yard touchdown pass and the score was 28-14 Tartans at the break.
With 2:42 to play in the third quarter, Cline tossed his third touchdown of the game and second to Mansfield, an 11-yard strike, to extend the Tartans' lead back to 21 at 35-14. On the Golden Tornadoes next possession, Stafford and Kozlow hooked up for their second score of the day. The 26-yard touchdown pass left the score 35-21.
On the ensuing kickoff, junior Rory Hubbard (Rolling Hills Estates, Calif./Palos Verdes Peninsula) broke three tackles and sprinted up the sideline for a 92-yard touchdown return. It marked the Tartans first kickoff return for a score since the 2015 season when Chris Herrera returned a kick 88 yards against Bridgewater State in the ECAC Legacy Bowl.
Stafford accounted for his third score of the game with six minutes to play when he rushed 12 yards for a touchdown. The run made the score 42-27 following the missed point-after-attempt.
Carnegie Mellon will play back-to-back road contests with the first coming at Thiel College on Saturday, October 21. Kick is set for 7:00 p.m. in Greenville, Pennsylvania.