WASHINGTON, Pa. -- The Washington & Jefferson football team earned its 700th all-time win in program history with a 48-30 win against Carnegie Mellon at Cameron Stadium.
W&J is just the 25th program in all NCAA divisions and only the third NCAA Division III school to reach 700 wins (Mount Union and Wittenberg are the others).
The Presidents opened up the game with a 15-play, 75-yard drive that was capped with a three-yard touchdown pass from sophomore Pete Coughlin to senior Max Creighan on fourth down.
On the ensuing CMU drive, the Presidents forced a three-and-out and started their second drive at their own 13-yard line. The first play from scrimmage was a 17-yard run by junior Ryan Ruffing that was followed up by a 70-yard touchdown from Coughlin to Creighan for the second time in under three minutes to put W&J ahead, 14-0, with 8:14 left in the first quarter.
The Tartans put together a scoring drive and the end of the first quarter saw the Presidents, who never trailed, lead 14-7. Early in the second quarter, Coughlin threw his third touchdown pass of the day, this time hooking up with freshman Jesse Zubik who went in from eight yards out for his first career touchdown catch.
CMU responded with a lengthy return setting them up with good field position that led to an eight-play, 39-yard touchdown drive cutting the margin to 21-14. A six-yard pass to Creighan for his third touchdown of the day, however, capped a 12-play, 67-yard drive and pushed the lead back to 14 points, 28-14, which would be the spread at halftime.
The two teams who had not played each other since 1989, traded three-and-outs to open the second half, but Carnegie Mellon's second drive ended with a fumble by quarterback Andrew Hearon that was recovered at the CMU 44-yard line by sophomore Justin Bauer and converted into seven points four plays later on a 32-yard touchdown run by Ruffing, his 10th of the season. Later in the quarter, Ruffing would add a four-yard scoring scamper for his second touchdown of the game and push the Presidents ahead 42-14.
The first drive of the fourth quarter saw the Tartans score and then recover an on-side kick, but W&J stopped a fourth-down pass attempt and inherited the ball at its own 38-yard line. Ruffing spouted off a 38-yard run to start the drive and the second play was a 24-yard touchdown pass from Coughlin to junior Daniel Lis.The extra-point attempt by sophomore Blake Davis was blocked and returned for two points by CMU's Tim Swanson, 48-23.
A Carnegie Mellon score with just over nine minutes remaining cut W&J's lead to 48-30 which stood up as the final.
Coughlin established a host of new career bests, completing 26-of-38 passes for 333 yards and five touchdowns. Zubik was his favorite target on the afternoon, hauling in 12 passes for 91 yards and a touchdown, while Lis caught seven balls for 105 yards and Creighan made three receptions (all touchdowns) for 79 yards. Ruffing ran for 193 yards on 25 carries and went into the end zone twice.
Defensively, senior Jared Pratt had a game-high 14 tackles, including 0.5 tackle for loss. Sophomore Ryan Torrance was also in double figures with 11 stops, with 1.5 TFL and 1.0 sack. Junior Bryce Merrill added six tackles, a sack, a fumble recovery and an interception.
W&J improved to 3-0 on the season and opens up Presidents' Athletic Conference play with a 1-0 record. CMU drops to 0-2 overall and 0-2 in the league.
The Presidents will be idle during the upcoming week before hosting Thomas More at Cameron Stadium on Saturday, Oct. 4, with kick-off scheduled for 7 p.m.