(PITTSBURGH, Pa.) – The Carnegie Mellon University football team hosted the Westminster College in Presidents' Athletic Conference play on Saturday afternoon and handed the Titans a 20-14 defeat. The win moves Carnegie Mellon to 7-2 overall and 6-2 in PAC play while Westminster is now 6-3, 5-3.
The Tartans held Westminster to 72 yards rushing, marking the fourth time this season the Cardinal and Gray defense has held an opponent to under 100 yards on the ground. The Titans outgained the Tartans 297-288, but for the fifth time this season Carnegie Mellon has held an opposition under 300 yards of total offense, as it pushed its streak to 18 straight wins when doing so.
Senior Quinn Gaughan (Elmhurst, Ill./York Community) led the Tartans defense with 10 tackles, seven solo, as he added 1.5 tackles for a loss including a half sack.
Senior Chris Haas (Coronado, Calif./Coronado) headed a backfield for the Tartans that tabbed 192 yards on the ground. The senior finished with 18 carries for 71 yards and a touchdown. Junior Luke Bikulege (Greer, S.C./St. Joseph's Catholic) ran for 53 yards on seven carries for an average of 7.6 yards per touch and a touchdown while junior quarterback JD Dayhuff (Westerville, Ohio/Olentangy Orange) ended with 48 yards on the ground. Threw the air, Dayhuff completed 13-of-19 for 96 yards.
Cole Konieczka passed for 208 yards of 23-of-34 and two touchdowns. Connor Cox caught eight passes for 48 yards and had both of Konieczka's touchdown passes. Dwayne Brown ended with five receptions for 73 yards.
Bikulege started the scoring with a 44-yard touchdown run after breaking a tackle and then scampering 35 additional yards. The run capped off a five-play, 57-yard drive that took 1:32 off the clock and gave the Tartans a 7-0 lead with just under nine minutes to play in the first quarter.
With 21 seconds left in the first quarter Carnegie Mellon double its lead when Haas ran it in from three yards out. The score finished an 11-play, 73-yard drive that consumed 5:51 and gave the home team a 14-0 advantage.
Westminster cut the deficit to 14-7 in the closing minute of the first half when Konieczka connected with Cox on a 4-yard touchdown strike.
The Titans took the opening possession of the second half and marched 60 yards on six plays to knot the score at 14-14 when the tandem of Konieczka and Cox hooked up for their second touchdown of the game. This time the signal caller found cox in the back corner of the end zone for the 9-yard score.
Carnegie Mellon answered with a 10-play drive that resulted in a 38-yard field by sophomore placekicker Brandon Nguyen (Maitland, Fla./Lake Highland Preparatory) to make the score 17-14 with 6:32 left in the third quarter.
Another field goal by Nguyen with 7:39 to play in the game pushed the Tartans lead to 20-14. The sophomore's kick sailed through the uprights from 41 yards away.
With 1:35 left in the game, senior Thomas Polutchko (Southborough, Mass./Algonquin Regional) intercepted Konieczka and returned it 16 yards to midfield. The Tartans were then forced to punt after Westminster held them to a three-and-out, as the visitor's took over with 44 seconds to play on their own 17-yard line. The Tartans defense then allowed the Titans to only advance the ball to their own 36-yard line as time expired to secure the win.
Carnegie Mellon will conclude its regular season on Saturday, November 16. The Tartans will entertain Case Western Reserve University in the 34th Annual Academic Bowl at Gesling Stadium. Kick is set for 2:00 p.m.