Football hosts Homecoming game against Washington University

Junior cornerback Sam Thompson (No. 17) pulls down one of his two interceptions on a Dan Burkett pass to senior wide receiver Austin Morman. (credit: Alan Vangpat/ Senior Staff) Junior cornerback Sam Thompson (No. 17) pulls down one of his two interceptions on a Dan Burkett pass to senior wide receiver Austin Morman. (credit: Alan Vangpat/ Senior Staff)

On Saturday, the Tartans’ football team took on the Bears from Washington University in St. Louis. The Tartans lost for the second straight week, 14–7, in this UAA conference matchup.

“Defense holds strong while our offense struggles,” junior outside linebacker Owen Parker said after Saturday’s game.

The Tartans found the end zone halfway through the first quarter, putting the first points of the game on the board. Senior running back Chris Garcia ended a 10-play, 65-yard drive with a one-yard touchdown run. Sophomore quarterback Rob Kalkstein was a perfect five for five on the drive, throwing for 50 yards.

Despite the game’s unfavorable results, Kalkstein completed 71.4 percent of his passes and threw 171 yards. Four of those passes were to senior tight end Zach Gallup for 61 yards, a career high for Gallup.

A late first-half drive by the Bears knotted the game up at seven. After a nine-play, 80-yard drive, Wash. U. quarterback Dan Burkett found wide receiver Drew Sexton in the end zone on an 18-yard pass with 1:03 left in the half.

Early in the second half, Carnegie Mellon junior cornerback Sam Thompson ended a Bears drive with his first interception of the day on Burkett.
With the Tartans unable to capitalize on the interception and continuing to turn the ball over on downs, Burkett completed a 77-yard touchdown pass to senior receiver Easton Knott to put the Bears up 14–7.

The Tartans quickly gave up possession after that Bears touchdown. Kalkstein threw his only pick of the game to Bears first-year defensive back Ryan Bednar. That interception was Kalkstein’s first mistake of the game, ending a streak of 10 straight completed passes.

After the Kalkstein interception, Wash. U. coach Larry Kindborn called a reverse pass by backup quarterback Eric Daginella. But the play backfired on the Bears, as Thompson intercepted his UAA-leading fifth ball of the season, his second of the game.

Thompson’s five picks have him at all-time third place in Tartans franchise history in a single season. He is two away from the record set by Andy Helms in 1991.
Late in the fourth quarter, the Tartans’ defense made a huge stop and burned all three timeouts to get the back ball on their own nine-yard line with just 2:39 left to play.
Kalkstein led the Tartans 71 yards, completing four of six passes for 59 yards. But with just 18 seconds left in the ballgame, Kalkstein was sacked and the Bears held onto the 14–7 lead to win the game.

“It’s tough to play in a close game like that and know you’re one play away from the win,” junior safety Anthony Lorubbio said. “We played sound defensively, forcing a few key turnovers, but still came up just a bit short.”

Carnegie Mellon’s defense was stalwart in this game, holding the Bears to eight points and 32 yards under their season averages. On top of Thompson’s two interceptions, junior linebacker Nick Karabin led the Tartans with 12 tackles, breaking his single-game record of 11. Unfortunately, the Tartans’ stellar defense was all for naught, with their offense being held to a season low of 134 yards.

The Tartans look to end their two-game slide on Saturday at the University of Chicago in a conference matchup against the Maroons. The game starts at 1 p.m.