WASHINGTON – For the third straight week the CUA football team completed a wild comeback, defeating Carnegie Mellon 29-28 in dramatic fashion in front of a raucous crowd at Cardinal Stadium. Jeff Frusciante hauled in the go-ahead touchdown with 2:41 to play to put the Cardinals (3-0) up one, but the Tartans (1-2) had one final chance to try and win before a last-second field goal attempt was off the mark.
CUA's 3-0 start is its first since 2008 when the Cardinals also began the season 3-0.
The Cardinals trailed 28-13 with 4:46 to play in the third quarter but outscored Carnegie Mellon 16-0 for the remainder of the game to earn their third consecutive come-from-behind win.
CMU picked off a CUA pass and returned it 71 yards late in the third quarter to put the Cardinals in a 28-13 hole, but Brian Gongaware booted his third field goal of the evening, a 33-yarder with 38 seconds on the clock, to bring CUA within 12 entering the fourth.
In the final quarter Mike Pitsenberger blasted through the line of scrimmage for a two-yard touchdown with 10:20 to play, to make it a 28-23 game and CUA had new life.
The Cardinals then forced the Tartans to turn the ball over on downs, setting CUA up at its own 37-yard line with 6:27 remaining. The ensuing CUA drive lasted 14 plays and 63 yards in a span of 3:50, culminating with Greg Cordivari's six-yard strike to Frusciante to put the Cardinals on top, 29-28. CUA attempted a two-point conversion but was unsuccessful keeping the margin at one.
The Tartans then took over with 2:37 on the clock with a chance to win it. CMU drove into Cardinals territory and on 2nd and 17, Rob Kalkstein hit Chris Garcia for a 31-yard gain down to the CUA 16-yard line.
Soon after, Carnegie Mellon faced a fourth down and after a CUA timeout, the Tartans looked to win it on a field goal. Kevin Donohue's attempt was off the mark though and CUA's sideline exploded in celebration following yet another last-minute win.
Cordivari completed 32 of 54 passes for 358 yards and two scores, while Pitsenberger rushed for 98 yards on 28 carries. Andrew Ouellette was the Cardinals leading receiver with eight receptions for 108 yards, while Pitsenberger hauled in seven passes and Tanner Keefe caught five.
James Fucill made a team-high 10 stops and forced a fumble, while Conor Stueckler totaled eight tackles and recovered a fumble.
Kalkstein threw for 59 yards for the visitors, while Jake Nardone rushed for 83 yards and Garcia totaled 81. Dan Behmke made a team-high 10 stops for the Tartans and Phil Nicolaides totaled eight.
CUA is off next week before returning to action on Saturday, October 1 when the Cardinals open their 2011 ODAC schedule at Hampden-Sydney. Kick-off is set for 1 p.m.