Carnegie Mellon Hosts Case Western Reserve in 26th Annual Academic Bowl

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Game Notes - pdf

PITTSBURGH, Pa. - The Carnegie Mellon University football team returns home for its final game of the season Saturday.  The Tartans take on Case Western Reserve University in 26th Annual Academic Bowl in the final University Athletic Association (UAA) matchup.  Kickoff is set for 2:00 p.m. with festivities honoring the senior class beforehand.

The Spartans, sitting at 8-1 (2-0), come into Gesling Stadium with a seven game winning streak and a potential NCAA Playoff berth riding on a victory over Carnegie Mellon (5-4, 1-1).

Saturday marks the 26th consecutive meeting between the two schools in the Academic Bowl.  Since the inception of the Academic Bowl series, Carnegie Mellon is 15-10.  Case has held the recent edge winning the last four meeting with the Tartans including last year's 28-0 victory at Case Field. They also have been the most successful program in the UAA in the past five years.  A win over Carnegie Mellon would give Case its fourth UAA title in the past five seasons.

The Tartans will look to play spoiler to the Spartans' playoff chances and try to send their seniors out with a victory in their last game.  Carnegie Mellon's seniors can capture a split UAA Championship with a victory over Case.  This potential championship would be the first for the Tartan senior class.

The key factor in the game will be the talented rushing attack of Carnegie Mellon against Case's stout rushing defense.  Head coach Rich Lackner's Tartans come into their final contest with the 17th best rushing attack in the nation averaging 253.3 yards per game.

Junior running back Patrick Blanks was named UAA Athlete of the Week for his 171 yard, three touchdown performance in the Carnegie Mellon victory over Chicago.  Blanks sits 108 yards below the 1,000-yard milestone.  If he achieves the landmark, he will become the fourth player to do so. It will mark the sixth time this has occurred, as Travis Sivek and Robert Gimson rushed for 1,000 yards in back-to-back seasons in 2006 and 2007.  The other player was Scott Barnyak in 1990.

A big day for Blanks and the rest of the Tartans' running backs won't come easy against Case and its ninth-ranked rush defense in the nation.  The Spartans have allowed an average of 79.7 yards per game to their opponents on the ground.

Lackner talked about picking up the victory in Chicago and the keys to defeating a talented Case team on Senior Day.

Listen to the full interview with Coach Lackner.