Football drops 21–14 decision to Wittenberg

The Homecoming game at Gesling Stadium proved to be a disappointment for the Carnegie Mellon football team, as it fell 21–14 to the visiting Wittenberg University Tigers. The pace of the game resembled the changing weather conditions, but unfortunately, the sun did not shine for the Tartans in the end. Despite coming from behind to take a slight edge in the fourth quarter, Carnegie Mellon was unable to maintain it and was surpassed by a final Wittenberg touchdown with 3:46 to play. The loss moves the Tartans’ record to 4–3.

Carnegie Mellon fell behind in the first quarter when Wittenberg drove 79 yards on 13 plays, and rushed for a 7-yard touchdown. The early 7–0 advantage left 7:18 remaining on the clock in the first quarter. However, the Tartans rallied with a 1-yard touchdown from sophomore Anthony Ruzga. The drive went 11 plays and 69 yards and took 5:40. This marks the seventh straight game in which Ruzga has completed a touchdown for Carnegie Mellon.

Wittenberg took the lead from a 12-play, 58-yard drive to record a 4-yard touchdown just before the end of the first half. A missed field goal opportunity only put the Tigers up 13–6. The third quarter proved to be scoreless for both teams, and the fourth quarter determined the victor in Saturday’s game.

Carnegie Mellon equalized in the fourth quarter. and then converted a field goal. First-year Chris Garcia ran in an 18-yard touchdown and senior place kicker Colin Marks put away another field goal to put the Tartans up by one, 14–13, with 8:16 to play. Unfortunately, Carnegie Mellon could not maintain that lead to the end of regulation, as Wittenberg threw a second touchdown strike of the afternoon to put the Tigers up 21–14 with 3:46 left. That score would remain at the conclusion of the afternoon’s match-up, despite a final Carnegie Mellon effort with 38 seconds left when its 11-play drive ended with an incomplete pass.

Carnegie Mellon controlled the clock for 33:34 and rushed 200 yards for the sixth time this season. Ruzga led the Tartans’ offense with 101 yards rushing and one touchdown, marking the third time this season that he has surpassed the 100-yard barrier. Senior co-captain Jon Scholl led the Tartans defense with 14 tackles, eight of them solo, and senior Jake Cundiff recorded nine tackles and forced one fumble.

Carngegie Mellon begins University Athletic Association (UAA) play this weekend, when the team travels to St. Louis, Mo. to take on the Washington University Bears with kickoff at noon Central Time.