From Carnegie Mellon University Athletics
On a chilly Saturday afternoon a school record was broken,
as the Carnegie Mellon University Tartans (2-2, 2-2) defeated the
Westminster College Titans (0-5, 0-3), 27-24, in Presidents'
Athletic Association (PAC) play. Freshman
placekicker Tyler Kohman (Pataskala,
Ohio/Columbus Academy) connected on a 50-yard field goal that
bounced off the crossbar to lift the Tartans to victory.
Carnegie Mellon's stellar defense carried over to this week as an early interception by junior Nico Comsa (Connellsville, Pa/ Connellsville Area) resulted in an early touchdown with 10:47 left in the first quarter. The score remained 7-0 until one minute left in the half, when the Titans got on board with a 25-yard field goal from Justin Dahl.
The Titans took the lead with 10:44 left in the third quarter as Paul Columbo connected with Taran Sifontes-Lavine on a 51-yard catch and run. However, the Titan's extra point sailed left and kept the score 9-7.
The Tartans capitalized on a 68-yard quick-kick punt return by freshmen Drew Fitzmorris (Omaha, Neb./Westside) that set Carnegie Mellon up on the Westminster 20-yard line. Eight plays later the Tartans settled for 20-yard field by Kohman to regain the lead 10-9.
With just less than four minutes to play in the third quarter, the Titans retook the lead with a touchdown by John Jones. The visitors went for two and converted the two-point attempt as Columbo found Khurazze Williams with a dump pass down the middle.
On the ensuing kickoff, freshman Sam Benger (Hingham, Mass./Hingham) had a 53-yard return that led to a five-yard rushing touchdown by sophomore Zach Cree (Vanderbilt, Pa./Connellsville Area). Cree's score knotted the game at 17-17 as the third quarter came to a close.
With 5:24 remaining in the contest, Columbo tossed his third touchdown of the afternoon as he found Xavier Eubanks from 19 yards out giving the visitor's a 24-17 lead.
The Tartans tied the score at 24-24 with 43 seconds left in the fourth quarter when junior Andrew Hearon (Tulsa, Okla./Metro Christian Academy) found senior Hayden Cardiff (Thibodaux, La/Savannah Christian Prep (Nicholls State)) in the corner of the end zone on a 10-yard scoring play.
Westminster's attempt to march down field in the closing minute was stopped when Tartan juniorRyan Aitken (Alexandria, Va./West Potomac) intercepted the ball with 27 seconds left in the game setting the Tartans up on their own 47-yard line. After four plays and 20 yards, including a 15-yard personal foul penalty by the Westminster on the last play of regulation that allowed for an untimed down, Kohman's school-record kick hit the crossbar and bounced over for the Tartan victory.
For the second straight game, Carnegie Mellon won the turnover battle, forcing three takeaways to the Titans' two. Cree ended the game tying a career-high with 67 yards rushing and one touchdown. Fitzmorris, along with Comsa, led the Cardinal and Gray defense with 10 tackles apiece. Fitzmorris recorded his first career sack for a loss of eight yards while Comsa added a half sack and tallied two pass breakups including his interception return for a touchdown. Aitken also finished with an interception and two pass breakups while recording nine tackles including tying a career-best six solo.
Columbo ended the game passing for 238 yards and three touchdowns. Williams led the Titans with four receptions for 60 yards and added a two-point conversion in the setback. Dominique McKinley led the rushing attack for Westminster with 120 yards on 30 carries.