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Alex Cline Throws Four Touchdowns in Tartans' 35-23 Win Over Westminster

Alex Cline Throws Four Touchdowns in Tartans' 35-23 Win Over Westminster

From Carnegie Mellon University Athletics

The Carnegie Mellon University football team hosted Westminster College and defeated the Titans, 35-23, Saturday, October 29 during the university's Homecoming Weekend. The Presidents' Athletic Conference (PAC) win moves the Tartans' record to 5-3 overall and 5-2 in PAC play while Westminster drops its second contest of the year and is now 6-2, 4-2.

Carnegie Mellon outgained Westminster 389-329, as sophomore quarterback Alex Cline (Dublin, Ohio/Dublin Jerome) tossed a career-best four touchdown passed in the win for the Tartans. Cline finished the game completing 20-of-36 passes for 216 yards. Junior Tommy Mansfield (Westerville, Ohio/Westerville Central) turned in a career-day with nine receptions for 125 yards and one touchdown. Classmate wide receiver John Prather (Olney, Md./Our Lady Of Good Counsel) ended the day with two touchdown receptions among six total catches for 53 yards. Junior running back Sam Benger (Hingham, Mass.) accounted for Cline's other touchdown strike as he caught four balls for 24 yards in the game. The junior back also recorded his 20th career 100-yard rushing performance, with 145 yards and a score on the ground to end with 169 all-purpose yards.

In the win, senior placekicker Gabe Renna (Carlsbad, Calif./La Costa Canyon) became the school's all-time leader in point-after-attempts. Renna converted all five of his attempts and now has converted 99 PATs for his career.

Senior defensive lineman Brian Khoury (Davenport, Iowa/Bettendorf) earned 2.5 sacks which accounted for a total loss of 16 yards and ended the day with six tackles. Senior Samer Abdelmoty (McLean, Va.) led the team with seven tackles including six solo. Carnegie Mellon recorded two interceptions with senior Aaryn Watson (Centennial, Colo./Grandview) and junior Jacob Johnson (Terre Haute, Ind./Terre Haute South Vigo) each having one.

Titans' backup quarterback Joseph Salmen completed 10-of-16 for 123 yards and a touchdown for the visitors. The junior rushed for 42 yards and added a score on the ground. Dominique McKinley rushed for 46 yards on 13 carries and a touchdown to lead Westminster on the ground while adding two catches for 31 yards and a score. Bryson Paulinellie caught seven passes for 87 yards.

Each team scored on their second possession of the game with Westminster capping off a nine-play, 43-yard drive with a 31-yard field goal off the foot of Justin Dahl. The Tartans then put together a nine-play drive of their own and Benger finished the series with a 6-yard touchdown reception from Cline on a swing pass.

McKinley added a 4-yard touchdown run before the close of the first quarter to put the Titans ahead 10-7 at the end of the first quarter.

Two second quarter Cline touchdown passes gave the Cardinal and Gray a 21-10 advantage at the break. The sophomore's first score was a 4-yard strike to Prather before a 41-yard catch-and-run to Mansfield.

Westminster scored on its first possession of the second half to cut into the lead on a 36-yard scamper by Salmen. The extra-point hit off the goalpost and bounced out following a 15-yard penalty. The Tartans responded on their next turn with the ball as Cline capped off an 11-play, 54-yard drive when he found Prather in the back corner of the end zone to push the lead to 28-16 with 5:30 to play in the third quarter.
    
With nine minutes remaining in the game, Benger broke free for a 53-yard score to make the score 35-16. Westminster struck fast, as Salem connected with McKinley for a 26-yard score, but that was as close as the Titans got.