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Tartans Strong Second Half Start Doesn’t Hold at Westminster

Tartans Strong Second Half Start Doesn’t Hold at Westminster

(NEW WILMINGTON, Pa.) – The Carnegie Mellon University football team traveled to New Wilmington, Pennsylvania, Friday night for a Presidents' Athletic Conference (PAC) showdown against the Titans of Westminster College. The Tartans drop a 32-22 contest to move to 2-2, 1-2 while Westminster remains perfect at 4-0, 3-0.

Carnegie Mellon was outgained 470-300 while senior Luke Bikulege (Greer, S.C./St. Joseph's Catholic) led the Tartans with 77 yards rushing and a touchdown. The senior also added three receptions for 26 yards. Senior quarterback JD Dayhuff (Westerville, Ohio/Olentangy Orange) passed for 208 yards and a touchdown on 15-of-26. Junior Kris Hughes (Springboro, Ohio/Springboro) finished with five catches for 106 yards and a score.

Defensively, senior Mason Tolliver (Sylmar, Calif./Crespi) recorded a career-best 2.0 sacks for a loss of 20 yards and add six solo tackles. Freshman Bobby Coury (Phillipsburg N.J./Phillipsburg) led with eight tackles, six sole, while sophomore Aryan Hegde (Brambleton, Va./Rock Ridge) tabbed a career-best six tackles, five solo.

Cole Konieczka completed 19-of-30 for 344 yards and three touchdowns. Tylon Eilam and Ian Valente led the Titans receivers with 125 and 123 yards, respectively. Eilam had seven receptions and two scores while Valente had six catches and a score.

With 6:07 to play in the first quarter, Westminster took a 2-0 lead when Ian Barr and Brayden Thimons sacked Dayhuff in the end zone.

Following the safety, the Tartans defense held Westminster to a three-and-out which led the a 12-play, 55-yard drive the resulted in a 31-yard field goal by sophomore placekicker Hayden Hairston (Milton, Ga./Milton). Hairston's first career field goal gave Carnegie Mellon a 3-3 advantage on the first play of the second quarter.

On the ensuing possession, it took the Westminster six plays to regain the lead. Konieczka stepped up in the pocket, tucked the ball and ran 20 yards into the end zone. The Titans two-point conversion was stopped and left the score 8-3 with 12:38 showing on the clock in the second quarter.

Westminster pushed its lead to 15-3 before the first half came to a close. Konieczka and Eilam hooked up on a 44-yard touchdown strike.

On the opening drive of the second half, Carnegie Mellon marched 66 yards on 10 plays to cut the deficit to 15-9 after a 2-yard run by Dayhuff and a missed point-after. The score was setup following a fake field goal by the Tartans that saw senior Spencer Terling (Washington, Pa./Chartiers-Houston) take a flip by junior holder Josh Koscho (Sarasota, Fla./Cardinal Mooney) and then found junior Erik Pederson (Washington, D.C. / Sidwell Friends) for a 16-yard pass to the Westminster 2-yard line.

A junior Nick Cizik (Portland, Ore./Sunset) interception two plays into Westminster's next drive gave the Tartans the ball on the Titans 25-yard line. Seven plays later the score was knotted at 15-15 when Bikulege barreled into the end zone from 1-yard out on fourth down. The score stayed that way when the point-after was blocked by Westminster's Jarred Kohl.

With two minutes to play in the third quarter, the tandem of Konieczka and Eilam connected for their second score of the game. The 30-yard touchdown pass made the score 22-15. At the 11:45 mark of the fourth quarter, Westminster extended its lead to a two possession game when Dylan Kidder converted a 29-yard field goal.

A third touchdown pass from Konieczka pushed the Titans lead to 32-15. The signal caller found Valente on a 71-yard seem pass with nine minutes to play.

A Hughes 23-yard touchdown grab from Dayhuff with two minutes left in the game made the score 32-22.

The Tartans will now wait for their opponent in the PAC Crossover contest which will be played Friday, April 23. Details will be on the football schedule page when available. The crossover game will be played at the opposite site of the 2019 regular season game between the two schools.