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Bikulege Scores Twice, as Tartans Lose PAC Opener to Grove City

Bikulege Scores Twice, as Tartans Lose PAC Opener to Grove City

(PITTSBURGH, Pa.) – The Carnegie Mellon University football team opened its 2021 spring season hosting the Wolverines of Grove City College on Thursday evening. The Tartans dropped a 24-14 contest in a Presidents' Athletic Conference (PAC) showdown on the turf at Gesling Stadium. The Wolverines are now 2-0, 1-0 in PAC play.

Carnegie Mellon was outgained 446-180, but held the edge forcing turnovers with three fumble recoveries while the Wolverines recorded one interception. Senior Luke Bikulege (Greer, S.C./St. Joseph's Catholic) ended the game with 58 yards rushing and two touchdowns on 16 carries. Senior quarterback JD Dayhuff (Westerville, Ohio/Olentangy Orange) passed for 139 yards on 8-of-19. Junior Kris Hughes (Springboro, Ohio/Springboro) led the Tartans receivers with three catches for 77 yards.

Senior Danny Zahniser (Downingtown, Pa./Downingtown East) led the Tartans defense with a career-high 15 tackles, six solo. Senior Mason Tolliver (Sylmar, Calif./Crespi) ended with nine tackles while freshman Tommy Coury (Phillipsburg N.J./Phillipsburg) tabbed eight solo tackles, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery in his collegiate debut.

Josh Ehst passed for 342 yards and a touchdown for the Wolverines. The junior signal caller also had two touchdowns on the ground. Cameron Drake led Grove City with 10 catches for 171 yards and the lone score threw the air for the visitors. Cody Gustafson ended with eight receptions for 127 yards.

Grove City started the scoring with a six-play, 62-yard drive when Ehst connected with Drake on a 23-yard touchdown. The extra point made the score 7-0 with 5:21 to play in the first quarter.

On the second play of the second quarter, the Tartans knotted the score at 7-7 with a 3-yard touchdown lunge by Bikulege. The score capped off a five-play, 31-yard drive following a stripped fumble at the Carnegie Mellon 3-yard line by Coury. He then returned the recovery 66 yards to the Wolverine 31-yard line.

On the last play of the first half Grove City made the score 14-7, as Ehst kept the snap and was pushed into the end zone from a yard out. The score completed an 80-yard, 17-play drive that consumed 7:41 and started after an interception by Jared Hurd in the Wolverines end zone that went for a touchback.

The Tartans wasted little time tying the score at 14-14. The opening drive of the second ended on a 13-yard scamper by Bikulege after he bounced a middle run outside and took it into the end zone. The play prior to the score, Dayhuff found Hughes on a 59-yard seam-pass.

Grove City answered with another long drive. The Wolverines marched 72 yards on 15 plays and took 7:24 off the clock which resulted in a second 1-yard touchdown score by Ehst.

Nick Marrow pushed Grove City's lead to 24-14 with 7:46 remaining in the contest when he booted a 30-yard field goal.

The Tartans return to the gridiron on Thursday, April 1 with a 7:00 p.m. kick against Waynesburg University at John F. Wiley Stadium in Waynesburg, Pennsylvania. The contest is a crossover battle and will not count towards the PAC standings.