From Case Western Reserve University Athletics
Hometown kid and senior quarterback Erik Olson (Bethel Park, Pa./Bethel Park) threw for 271 yards and three touchdowns, including 136 yards and two scores to freshman wide receiver John Mangelluzzi (Gates Mill, Ohio/Mayfield), as the Case Western Reserve University football team won the 28th Annual Academic Bowl, 35-32, at rival Carnegie Mellon University on Saturday night at Gesling Stadium.
The Spartans (5-4, 2-1 UAA), who finish second in the University Athletic Association, extended the program's streak of winning seasons to seven. The Tartans (3-7, 0-3 UAA) end their season with five-straight losses.
In the series between the two rivals, Case has now won seven in a row.
Olson completed 13-of-21 passes with TD passes of 79 and 17 yards to Mangelluzzi as well as 32 to junior wide receiver Sean Lapcevic (Presto, Pa./Chartiers Valley). Mangelluzzi's career-high 136 yards and two scores came on just four receptions.
After falling behind 7-0 at the 11:33 mark of the first quarter, the Spartans scored 28 of the game's next 31 points to lead 28-10 with 9:19 left in the opening half. Carnegie Mellon rallied with TDs late in the first half and early in the second to pull to within 28-24 with 11:10 remaining in the third quarter. Olson then hit Mangelluzzi for the 79-yarder to create some breathing room, and the Spartans were able to withstand another late Tartan score that brought the final to 35-32.
Carnegie Mellon grabbed its early lead on its third play from scrimmage as senior quarterback Rob Kalkstein found receiver Tim Swanson wide open for a 72-yard touchdown pass. Gabe Renna's extra point made the score 7-0.
The next two possessions resulted in three-and outs and it looked as if the defensive trend would continue. However, on a 4th-and-11 punt play from the Tartan 46, Spartan junior running back Manny Sicre (Miami, Fla./ Belen Jesuit Preparatory) took a direct snap and pitched to senior quarterback Scott Mackie (Powell, Ohio/Liberty) who opened the play in the slot. Mackie looked back Sicre's way and hit the running back for a 29-yard pass to the CMU 17.
Three plays later, junior quarterback Billy Beecher (Palmyra, Pa./Palmyra Area) completed the drive with a two-yard scamper into the endzone. Freshman kicker Mitchell Hopkins (Powell, Ohio/Olentangy Orange) added the extra point to knot the game at 7-7 with 3:51 remaining in the first quarter.
A Tartan fumble on the ensuing kickoff gave the Spartans the ball at the CMU 32. One play later, Olson found Lapcevic on a 32-yard pass-and-catch for a score. The extra point by Hopkins gave the Spartans a 14-7 lead at 2:57 as only 18 seconds eclipsed between scores.
After a Tartan field goal brought the score to 14-10, the Spartans struck twice through the air, the first coming via Olson to Mangelluzzi for the 32-yarder. The second came when Beecher led a four-play, 63-yard drive that ended with a six-yard TD pass to Sicre. Hopkins' fourth PAT made the score 28-10 with 9:19 left before half.
Carnegie Mellon responded to the Spartan scoring barrage with a touchdown of its own when fullback Zachary Erra-Hernandez capped off an eight-play, 55-yard drive with a two-yard scoring run. Renna hit another PAT at 5:37, and the game would eventually go to halftime with Case ahead 28-17.
Early in the second half, Carnegie Mellon continued to close the gap. A 31-yard pass play from Kalkstein to Swanson aided a 78-yard drive that culminated in six points when the signal-caller hooked up with running back Gage Erdman for a 21-yard TD pass. The extra point narrowed the Spartan lead to four, 28-24.
After punts for both teams, the Spartans got the key score when Olson hit Mangelluzzi, who used a referee as a pick en route to the 79-yard touchdown catch. The play was a career best for each Spartan. A converted PAT gave the Spartans a 35-24 cushion.
Nearly 20 minutes of scoreless play ensued before Kalkstein led a late 11-play, 90-yard scoring drive that ended with a 10-yard pass to tight end Bryce Pascoe. A successful two-point conversion attempt from Kalkstein to Swanson brought the score to 35-32 with 2:31 to play.
Case was able to recover the Carnegie Mellon onside kick attempt, and a 15-yard run by sophomore running back Ricky Hanzlik (Mentor, Ohio/Mentor) on a crucial 3rd-and three play allowed the Spartans to run out the clock and seal the victory.
Defensively, sophomore linebacker Everett Dishong (Chagrin Falls, Ohio/Chagrin Falls) led the team in tackles with eight, while sophomore defensive end Justin Williams posted 1.5 sacks.
Kalkstein threw for a game-high 327 yards with three TDs for the Tartans. Senior defensive end Ryan Jok led the Carnegie Mellon defense with eight tackles and a sack.