Out with a Beng: Benger rushes for 175 in season finale

Junior quarterback Andrew Hearon winds up to pass the ball. (credit: Staff Photographer) Junior quarterback Andrew Hearon winds up to pass the ball. (credit: Staff Photographer) Junior wide receiver Chris Herrera escapes a would be tackler. (credit: Staff Photographer) Junior wide receiver Chris Herrera escapes a would be tackler. (credit: Staff Photographer)

In the final game of the season, the Carnegie Mellon football team faced off against Washington University in front of the home crowd. With the seniors playing their final game, the team was determined to end its season on a positive, and it paid off; a late touchdown gave the Tartans the victory, 17–16.

Things weren’t always looking up for the Tartans, after their opening possession ended with a blocked field goal attempt by first-year placekicker Tyler Kohman. The turnover led to Washington getting the ball at mid-field and an early 3–0 lead for the visitors.

Trying to keep the momentum going, the Bears attempted a surprise onside kick, but got a little too antsy and touched the ball early, leading to great field position for the Tartans to respond. After a few short plays to slowly move the chains, junior quarterback Andrew Hearon escaped the pocket and ran to the one-yard line before getting shoved out of bounds. Sophomore goal line back Zach Cree was able to finish the job as he punched it in for the score, giving Carnegie Mellon the 7–3 led after a Kohman extra point.

On the ensuing Washington drive, the Tartans forced a fourth down and presumably a punt, but instead saw a poorly executed fake that ended up with an easy interception by senior wide receiver Shae Sealey. The Tartan offense tried to take advantage of the stop, starting with a 40-yard run by first-year running back Sam Benger, who ended up with a career high 175 yards in the game. After slowly moving the ball into the redzone, a sack on third down, and a completed pass for lost yards on fourth caused Carnegie Mellon to give up the ball.

The Bears took possession and proceeded to drive down the field for another field goal. The next possession for the Tartans saw a little trickery backfire, as Cree attempted a pass after lining up in the backfield, but had it intercepted. The next two drives ended in a punt for Washington and a Hearon interception for the Tartans before the Bears were able to drive down and make their third field goal of the game to take the lead 9–7, which is how the teams went into half after a missed Kohman 42-yard field goal attempt.

At the start of the third quarter, neither team could move the ball very effectively, resulting in several punts before the Bears started driving with a little over half the quarter already gone, ending with their first touchdown of the game, pushing their lead to 16–7. The Tartans quickly responded with a field goal on the next drive off the leg of sophomore kicker Gabe Renna. As Washington drove to start the fourth quarter, it looked like they were headed for another score when junior cornerback Vince Demarchi made a clutch interception at his own three-yard line to keep Washington off the board.

The next drive for each team ended in a punt, resulting in Carnegie Mellon getting the ball back with 2:27 left, down 16–10. Hearon proceeded to run the two-minute drill he had been practicing all season, calmly walking the ball down the field with a series of short throws and timely scrambles to set up the Tartans at the one-yard line with 11 seconds to go when Cree rushed in for his second touchdown of the game. The ensuing Renna extra point gave the Tartans the 17–16 victory. The last second victory gave Carnegie Mellon a 4–6 record for their 2014 campaign.