Football Lands 17 on All-PAC Team; Lackner Named PAC Coach of the Year
(GREENVILLE, Pa.) – The Carnegie Mellon University football team had 17 players receive All-Presidents' Athletic Conference (PAC) distinction, announced by the conference office following voting by the league coaches on Tuesday. The Tartans place seven on the first team, five on the second team and four were named honorable mention with one honored to the sportsmanship team. In addition, 36-year head coach Rich Lackner was named PAC Coach of the Year.
Lackner coached the Tartans to an 8-2 overall record and an 8-1 mark in league play. The Tartans captured a share of this year's PAC title and the league's automatic qualifying bid to the NCAA Division III Championship. It is the Tartans' eighth PAC title and first since 1989. Carnegie Mellon will be making its seventh all-time appearance in the Division III Championship Saturday afternoon at top-ranked North Central College. Lackner owns a career record of 234-125-2 and is tied for the third-most victories among active Division III coaches.
Four of the first team honorees are on the defensive side of the ball with the other three on offense. Senior defensive back Sean Knight (New Canaan, Conn./New Canaan), junior defensive lineman Ben Coyne (McDonald, Pa./South Fayette) and sophomore linebackers Robert Coury (Phillipsburg N.J./Phillipsburg) and Thomas Coury (Phillipsburg N.J./Phillipsburg) were honored on defense. The four were joined on the first team by senior offensive lineman Sean Pogorelc (Centreville, Va./Chantilly), junior tight end Quinn Murray (Pittsburgh, Pa./Upper Saint Clair) and sophomore Tre Vasiliadis (Great Falls, Va./Langley) on offense.
Three additional Tartan defenders were honored on the second team in senior defensive lineman Noah Castor (Ewing, N.J./Ewing), junior defensive back Aryan Hegde (Brambleton, Va./Rock Ridge) and sophomore defensive lineman Thor Truelson (Fort Worth, Texas/Trinity Valley). The lone offensive and special team players on the second team were junior lineman Dan Belardi (Scranton, Pa./Scranton Prep) and junior punter Casey Jaeb (San Jose, Calif./Bellarmine Prep).
The Tartans led the PAC in scoring defense and ranked fifth in the nation allowing 8.7 points per game. The Cardinal and Gray also led the league and was 18th nationally in total defense giving up 246.7 yards per contest. Carnegie Mellon also forced a league best 31 turnovers.
Knight ended the regular season tied for the PAC lead wit five interceptions. The senior has 34 total tackles, 29 solo, and ranks sixth on the team in tackle. Earlier this season, Knight recorded his third career multi-interception game in a win over Waynesburg. He has 14 INTs for his career, ranking tied for second in program history and needs one more to move into a tie for first. Hegde is the Tartans third leading tackler with 46, 28 solo, and has two interceptions. The junior also has recorded a forced fumble and has three passes defended.
Robert Coury leads the team in tackles (82) and tackles for a loss (10.0) while ranking second with 4.5 sacks. His 82 tackles rank third in the PAC while ranking in the top 10 in tackles for a loss and sacks. He has six passes defended, forced and recovered a fumble this season. Thomas Coury ranks second on the team with 59 tackles. He ended the regular season with two interceptions, six passes defended, two forced fumbles and a blocked punt that he returned for a touchdown in the Tartans' 27-11 over then 22nd-ranked Washington & Jefferson. Thomas Coury also recorded another Tartan blocked punt for a touchdown at Bethany.
Coyne, Castor and Truelson along with the Coury brothers played a part in the Tartans rush defense that ranked second in the PAC allowing 69.2 yards per game and held eight opponents under 100 yards on the ground and six under 50 yards rushing. Coyne leads the team with 6.5 sacks and ranks fifth in the PAC. Castor has 3.5 sacks, 5.5 tackles for a loss and 20 total tackles while Truelson has tabbed 7.0 tackles for a loss, 2.0 sacks and 28 tackles. He also has forced two fumbles, blocked a kick and recorded a safety.
Vasiliadis leads the PAC with 1,120 rushing yards and 112.0 rushing yards per game which ranks 19th and 23rd in Division III. His 16 rushing touchdowns and 102 points score rank second in the league and 13th nationally. He became the fifth player in Carnegie Mellon history to reach the 1,000-yard plateau and ninth overall in a single-season. In the Tartans win at Geneva, he rushed for a career-best 268 yards, which ranks second most in a single-game for a Tartan. Murray, Pogorlec and Belardi all played a huge factor in the blocking upfront. The three paved the way for Vasiliadis and the Tartans, who were third in the PAC in rushing offense with 170.4 yards per game. Murray also has two receptions for 41 yards.
Jaeb ranks second in the PAC averaging 36.2 yards per punt on 45 punts with a career-long of 60. The junior landed 15 of his punts inside the opponent's 20-yard line while six have been fair caught.
The Tartans Honorable Mention Honorees:
The Tartans Sportsmanship Honoree:
Senior defensive lineman Rocky Chirieleison