(PITTSBURGH, Pa.) - The Carnegie Mellon University football team hosted Presidents' Athletic Conference (PAC) rival Case Western Reserve University in the 34th Annual Academic Bowl on Saturday. The Tartans defeated the 20th-ranked Spartans 24-21, as Case Western Reserve's Robertson Albrecht's 43-yard field goal attempt as time expired hit the crossbar and bounced out which led to the Tartans second straight Academic Bowl victory.
Case Western Reserve outgained the Tartans 399-147 in total offense, but the Spartans turned the ball over four times while the Tartans had zero mishaps. Junior quarterback JD Dayhuff (Westerville, Ohio/Olentangy Orange) threw for 114 yards and two touchdowns on 12-of-20. Junior Alec Oshita (Torrance, Calif./Mira Costa) led the Tartans with three receptions for 57 yards.
Sophomore Sean Knight (New Canaan, Conn./New Canaan) recorded two interceptions, while returning one 37 yards for his first career touchdown. Knight also recovered a fumble and tied a career-best with four solo tackles. Junior Mason Tolliver (Sylmar, Calif./Crespi) totaled a career-high 14 tackles and senior Quinn Gaughan (Elmhurst, Ill./York Community) ended with 10, six solo.
Drew Saxton threw for 291 yards and three touchdowns for the Spartans,but was intercepted three times. Colt Morgan led with 11 catches for 122 yards and a touchdown while Mario Robaina ended with eight receptions for 93 yards and a score. Zach Hall led all rushers with 104 yards on 20 carries.
Sophomore placekicker Brandon Nguyen (Maitland, Fla./Lake Highland Preparatory) started the scoring with a career-long 49-yard field goal, which capped off an 11-play 38-yard drive at the 5:25 mark of the first quarter.
On the Spartans next possession, Carnegie Mellon's defense held Case Western Reserve to a three-and-out and forced them to punt from their own end zone. Carnegie Mellon sophomore Ben Armbrester (Grand Rapids, Mich./Forest Hills Eastern) then returned a short Spartan punt 21 yards to the Case Western Reserve 10-yard line. Three plays later Dayhuff threw a backside tight end screen to freshman Quinn Murray (Pittsburgh, Pa./Upper Saint Clair), who took it in for an 11-yard touchdown. The score pushed the Tartans lead to 10-0 with 2:17 to play in the first quarter.
Case Western Reserve made the score 10-7 with 10 seconds to play in the first half when Saxton found Chase Witte for a 5-yard touchdown strike in the front of the end zone.
On the Spartans first possession of the second half, Saxton tossed his second touchdown of the afternoon. The sophomore found Morgan on a 32-yard strike in which the receiver stretched the ball over the front pylon to make the score 14-10 visitor's.
Carnegie Mellon regained the lead with 5:25 to play in the third when Dayhiuff found sophomore Ben Armbrester (Grand Rapids, Mich./Forest Hills Eastern) on a 13-yard touchdown to make the score 17-14.
On the Spartans first offensive play following the Dahuff's second touchdown pass, Knight intercepted Saxton and returned it 37 yards for a touchdown to make the score 24-14 with 4:38 showing on the clock in the third quarter.
With 3:35 to play in the fourth quarter, Case Western Reserve made the score 24-21 Saxton tossed his third touchdown of the game. This time, he found Robaina on a 17-yard pass.
Carnegie Mellon concludes its regular season with a 8-2 overall mark, including a 7-2 record in the PAC while Case Western Reserve ends its regular season at 9-1, 8-1.
Carnegie Mellon will learn if its season continues on Monday, November 18 when the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) announces its field at 12:00 p.m. for the 2019 ECAC Division III Football Bowl games.