Case Western Reserve Escapes with Last-Minute Win at Allegheny
MEADVILLE, Pa. – Hanging on to a 10-9 lead with just over one minute left in regulation, Allegheny fumbled deep in its own territory while trying to run out the clock. Case Western Reserve made the most of the late chance with a three-yard touchdown pass and two-point conversion en route to a 17-10 victory over the Gators in a nationally-televised broadcast on Saturday at Frank B. Fuhrer Field.
Allegheny (2-3) had a chance to steal a win over the Spartans (3-1) after Erik Olsen's attempted pass to Sean Lapcevic on fourth down fell incomplete. Brad Burkley was in on the coverage as the Gators' defense held as they had most of the afternoon. Taking over with 1:21 left on the clock, the Gators ran two plays up the middle while Case burned its two remaining timeouts. Another play would have caused the clock to sink well under a minute, and would have put the Spartans in a position to have to march the length of the field to secure the go-ahead score. Unfortunately, Case's Dan Calabrese delivered an outstanding stick on Brian Tamburlin as the tailback bounced to the outside while Cary Dieter picked up the loose ball and rumbled 10 yards to the Allegheny five-yard line. The quick turn of events stunned the Gator faithful, who braved a cold and rainy afternoon in the 2011 homecoming game.
The Blue and Gold trailed 3-0 at halftime, and spotted the Spartans a 9-0 lead following a 33-yard touchdown pass by Olsen to Brian Rice midway through the third quarter. The Gators defense, which had been opportunistic in previous games this season, once again sparked the team's resurgence as Travis Wilkins picked off Olsen on Case's next possession and returned the interception 29 yards to the Spartan one. On the next play, fullback Tim Werley punched in the score to slice into the deficit.
Allegheny's defense made a strong stand on the ensuing possession, before piecing together another scoring drive on its next opportunity. The key play of the drive occurred on a third-and-six from the Case 47-yard line as quarterback Jordan Fowler connected with Max Kauert on a play that was nearly intercepted by Jacob Adams. Threading the needle to Kauert, Allegheny's senior tight end covered 46 yards before being tackled one yard from the end zone. The Case Western Reserve front line, which was dominant throughout the day, held its ground, but Ryan Zipf converted a 20-yard field goal attempt to push the Gators in front, 10-9, with just over eight minutes left in the fourth quarter.
The Spartans held decisive advantages in nearly every statistical category, but the Gators defense thwarted five of Case's seven fourth-down attempts, while manufacturing five sacks and six pass break-ups. Doug Williams led the attack with a career-best 13 tackles, while Wilkins made 11 tackles in addition to the momentum-changing pick. Bill Devlin added 10 tackles, including a game-high nine solo stops.
Olsen finished 23-of-39 for 228 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Spartans. Five players caught at least three passes, while Kenny Riordan led the ground assault with 88 yards on 18 carries.