Football extends losing streak to three

The Carnegie Mellon football team went into Saturday’s game against the Randolph-Macon Yellow Jackets looking to end a two-game losing streak. Three Carnegie Mellon turnovers in the first half and time-consuming Yellow Jacket drives in the second half were the difference in the game, as Randolph-Macon sent the Tartans to their third straight loss by the score of 21–10.

“We moved the ball pretty well,” senior offensive tackle Andrew Althouse said. “We turned it over at bad times and that can’t happen. The effort was there but we just had some trouble finishing drives.”

The Tartans marched down the field on their opening possession only to have it abruptly end with a fumble at the Randolph-Macon 2-yard line. Near the end of the first quarter with the game still scoreless, the Tartans again coughed the ball up in Yellow Jacket territory. Randolph-Macon capitalized and got on the board early in the second quarter on a Zak Thornton touchdown run.

The Yellow Jackets took a 14–0 lead midway through the second quarter after yet another Tartan fumble in Randolph-Macon territory. Thornton ran the ball in from 11 yards out with 5:09 remaining in the first half.

The Tartans answered with a 12-play, 83-yard touchdown drive to cut the deficit in half. Senior fullback Travis Sivek capped off the drive with a 5-yard touchdown run to make it 14–7 with only 46 seconds left in the first half.

“On defense we came out well, but we struggled on a drive or two,” senior linebacker Jonathan Bodnar said. “Overall there weren’t too many mistakes. Some little things, but they got corrected real fast. We played pretty decent.”

The second half consisted of a handful of time-consuming drives. After each team punted to start the third quarter, Randolph-Macon took over at their 17-yard line at the 9:10 mark. They ran 14 plays and gained 68 yards, eating up over eight minutes of clock.

The Tartan defense stood tall and junior cornerback Steve McGovern came up with an interception deep in Tartan territory with 57 seconds left in the third quarter.
The Tartans moved down the field, using up almost six minutes of clock, before settling for a field goal. Tartan junior kicker Colin Marks made his first career field goal, connecting from 30 yards out.

The Yellow Jackets, clinging to a 14–10 lead, received the kickoff and put the game out of reach courtesy of a 16-play, 80-yard drive that took up almost eight minutes of the fourth quarter. Thornton collected his third touchdown run of the game, increasing the Yellow Jackets’ lead to 21–10 with just over two minutes to play.

“Randolph-Macon is an improved football team,” Althouse said. “They’re very good this year. They’re 5–1. They have a big offensive line. They’re a very good team and they deserved to win this game.”

“They’re good, similar to Hobart and some of the other teams we’ve faced,” Bodnar said. “They had a pretty strong running back.”

Randolph-Macon gained 377 yards of total offense compared to 285 yards by Carnegie Mellon. Sivek led the Tartans with 64 yards rushing.

Junior quarterback Doug Facemyer gained 54 yards on the ground and completed one pass for 33 yards. Thornton piled up a game-high 180 yards rushing and Randolph-Macon quarterback Brandon Braner completed 14 passes for 176 yards. Carnegie Mellon senior safety Jon Scholl racked up a game-high 16 tackles in the loss.
“Winning UAA is the complete focus of our season right now,” Althouse said. “Our goal all along has been to defend our UAA title. We just have to come to play for three straight weeks and hopefully we can win, starting with next week against Case Western.”

“Right now defending our UAA title is the most important thing on the agenda,” Bodnar said. “Ending up 7–3 with a UAA championship wouldn’t be too bad. It’s very important right now.”

Carnegie Mellon returns to action on Saturday when they open up the UAA schedule by hosting Case Western Reserve University at Gesling Stadium. The game is scheduled to start at noon.