Spartans Close Out Regular Season with UAA Title, Possible NCAA Tourney Berth on the Line in Academic Bowl at CMU

More news about: Case Western Reserve

Case Western Reserve Spartans at Carnegie Mellon Tartans
Saturday, November 12, 2011 - 2:00 p.m.
Gesling Stadium - Pittsburgh, Pa.

(Dave Wilson, play-by-play; Ed Daugherty, color)
Pregame show begins at 1:45 p.m.


Download the complete Spartan Games Notes in .pdf format by clicking HERE.


The Case Western Reserve University football team closes out the 2011 regular season with the University Athletic Association Championship and a possible NCAA Playoff berth on the line versus rival Carnegie Mellon University (Pa.) in the 26th Annual Academic Bowl on Saturday, November 12 at Gesling Stadium in Pittsburgh. The Spartans (8-1, 2-0 UAA) have won seven-straight and have already clinched at least a share of the UAA Title with their 16-6 victory at Washington University-St. Louis. A win would give Case outright possession of a fourth UAA Title in five seasons. Carnegie Mellon, also in contention for a split UAA Championship, won the 500th game in program history by a score of 28-13 at the University of Chicago (Ill.) last Saturday.


The Spartans and Tartans have met annually since 1970, but the matchup wasn't designated as the "Academic Bowl" until 1986. Carnegie Mellon owns a 26-14 lead in the all-time series, but Case Western Reserve has won the last four meetings, including a 28-0 shutout at Case Field last season. CMU owns the longest win streak in the series, having won seven straight from 1975 to 1981. The Spartans won the first-ever meeting between the two by a score of 21-0 at home in 1970.


Since 1986, Case Western Reserve and Carnegie Mellon meet on the gridiron in the annual Academic Bowl. The game recognizes not only a football rivalry, but an academic rivalry between two of the nation's elite research and scholastic institutions. The winning team each season is presented with a trophy that bears the results of each Academic Bowl matchup.


Case Western Reserve is coached by Greg Debeljak, who is in his eighth season in 2011 with a 60-23 (.723) record. Debeljak led the Spartans to three consecutive undefeated (10-0) regular seasons from 2007-09 with back-to-back-to-back NCAA postseason appearances and UAA titles. Since the beginning of the 2007 season, Case Western Reserve has posted an outstanding overall record of 47-6, earning Debeljak and his staff the UAA Coaching Staff of the Year award for three straight seasons (2007-09). In addition, Case has been ranked in the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) Top 25 in each of the past four seasons (2007-10).

Carnegie Mellon is coached by Rich Lackner, a 1979 graduate of CMU. Now in his 26th season, Lackner has compiled an overall record of 175-84-2 with eight UAA Titles. He also has been tabbed UAA Coach of the Year on five separate occasions and was named the All-South Region Coach of the Year in 2006.


Case Western Reserve ended the 2010 regular season with a 28-0 shutout of Carnegie Mellon in the 25th Annual Academic Bowl on Saturday, November 13 at Case Field. Wide receiver Zach Homyk caught 13 passes for 160 yards and two touchdowns to set CWRU records for career receptions (211), single-season receiving yards (1,165) and receiving scores in a season. In addition, wide out Shaun Nicely recorded his 31st career receiving touchdown, tying the CWRU record, and quarterback Joey Baum completed 21-of-29 passes for 237 yards and three TDs. Defensively, current junior cornerback Cary Dieter (McKees Rocks, Pa./Montour) totaled a game-high 14 tackles, while current junior nose guard Michael Harris (Shaker Heights, Ohio/Shaker Heights) totaled 13 stops with a sack, a forced fumble, and a fumble recovery.


Through nine games, the Spartans average 22.1 points, 123.6 yards rushing, 175.9 yards passing and 299.5 total yards. Case opponents average 11.7 ppg, 79.7 yards rushing, 205.9 yards passing and 285.6 total yards per game. The Spartans have a +9 turnover margin after checking in at +11 last season.


Offensively, junior quarterback Erik Olson (Bethel Park, Pa./Bethel Park) has completed 141-of-239 passes (59.0%) for 1,442 yards with nine touchdowns and seven interceptions. Freshman running back Manny Sicre (Miami, Fla./Belen Jesuit Prep) has a team-high 562 yards on 137 carries (4.1 ypc) with four touchdowns. Sicre also has 25 receptions for 126 yards and a score. Sophomore running back Kenny Riordan (Spring Grove, Ill./Richmond-Burton) has 448 yards rushing on 104 carries (4.3 ypc). Senior wide receiver Bryan Metlesitz (North Royalton, Ohio/North Royalton) has team-highs of 50 receptions and 538 yards (10.8 ypc) to go along with three touchdowns. Freshman wide receiver Sean Lapcevic (Presto, Pa./Chartiers Valley) has 32 receptions for 371 yards with a TD (11.6 ypc).

Defensively, senior linebacker Jacob Adams (Cincinnati, Ohio/Princeton) leads the team with 85 tackles, including 8.5 for loss, with two sacks, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery, an interception return for a TD and a blocked field goal. Junior linebacker Ryan Ferguson (Wheaton, Ill./St. Francis) is second with 82 tackles to go along with 4.5 tackles for loss and both an interception and fumble recovery for a touchdown. Junior linebacker Kevin Nossem (Munster, Ind./Munster) has 62 tackles with four sacks, three interceptions, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery. Senior defensive tackle Dale English (Middleburg Heights, Ohio/Holy Name) has 49 stops with UAA-bests of 15 tackles for loss and 6.5 sacks. Junior safety Dan Calabrese (Concord, Ohio/Notre Dame-Cathedral Latin) has 40 stops with a team-high six interceptions, including two for touchdowns, and a forced fumble.


Through nine games, Carnegie Mellon averages 24.4 points, 253.3 yards rushing, 110.2 yards passing and 363.5 total yards per game. Tartan opponents average 18.4 points, 151.6 yards rushing, 195.4 yards passing and 347.0 total yards per game. The Tartans have a +5 turnover ratio.


Offensively, sophomore QB Rob Kalkstein has completed 74-of-136 passes for 957 yards, three TDs and five INTs. Junior RB Patrick Blanks has rushed for a team-high 892 yards on 122 attempts (7.3 ypc) with 12 TDs. Junior RB Jake Nardone has 631 yards rushing on 120 carries (5.3 ypc) with six TDs. Senior fullback Chris Garcia has 494 yards on the ground on 137 carries (3.6 ypc) with seven TDs. Junior WR Alexander Lum has team-highs of 21 receptions, 232 yards and two TDs. Defensively, junior OLB Nick Karabin has team-highs of 74 tackles and 10.5 TFL with an interception, three forced fumbles and a fumble recovery. Sophomore ILB Eric Rolfes has 49 tackles, including 3.5 for loss, and a forced fumble. Junior CB Sam Thompson has 32 tackles with a UAA-best seven INTs. Senior DL Andrew Medenbach has 32 tackles, including seven for loss, with a team-best four sacks along with two fumble recoveries.


The Spartans currently lead the UAA in total defense (285.6 ypg), rush defense (79.7 ypg), scoring defense (11.7 ppg) and turnovers forced (24). Nationally, Case ranks ninth in rush defense and 10th in scoring defense.


The Spartans are the No. 1 team in the nation in defensive red zone efficiency, holding opponents to a .45 scoring rate. Case opponents have just 10 scores (seven touchdowns) in 22 trips inside the 20.


Three-time All-UAA senior defensive tackle Dale English (Middleburg Heights, Ohio/Holy Name) has led the team in sacks and tackles for loss in each of the past two seasons. Through nine games in 2011, English has 49 tackles, including UAA-bests of 15 TFL and 6.5 sacks, with 10 quarterback hurries, a pass break-up, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. English now has 31 career sacks -- breaking the previous CWRU record of 30.5 set by Brian Calderone (2005-08).


Junior safety Dan Calabrese (Concord, Ohio/Notre Dame-Cathedral Latin), also the team's holder, has been an impact player for the Spartans this season. He has a 23-yard TD pass on a fake field goal, six interceptions with two returned for TDs, one punt return for a TD, and a forced fumble. Calabrese was named UAA Defensive Player of the Week for the second time this season following his two-INT performance at Washington-St. Louis.


Senior kicker Daniel Vasil (Erie, Pa./McDowell), the reigning UAA Special Teams Player of the Week, hit a career-high three field goals at Washington-St. Louis, including a personal-best of 43 yards as time expired in the first half. Over the past five games, Vasil is 10-for-13 in field goal attempts and 13-for-14 in extra point tries.


During its past 24 road games dating back to 2007, CWRU has compiled an overall record of 23-1. That runs includes a 20-17 overtime victory at CMU in 2007 and a 34-17 victory in 2009.