Football: Tartans dominate St. Vincent in home opener

Credit: Marika Yang/Sports Editor Credit: Marika Yang/Sports Editor

The Carnegie Mellon University football team welcomed Saint Vincent College on Saturday, Sept. 22. The Tartans opened their home schedule with a 42–27 win over the Bearcats, moving to a 2-1 overall record on the season, and 1–1 in Presidents’ Athletic Conference (PAC) play.

The game began slowly, with the first points coming late in the first quarter. The Bearcats opened with the ball first, but their first drive ended with a sack by senior defensive end Long Tran and junior linebacker Darian Cohen. The next two drives were three-and-outs, but the Tartans found some rhythm in the following drive. The Tartans started the drive with great field position on the Bearcats 48-yard line and marched down the field. At 5:09, senior quarterback Alex Cline threw a 24-yard strike to senior half-back Karl Kumm in the back of the endzone for a touchdown. The Bearcats responded, however, making their way from their own 27-yard line to the Carnegie Mellon 26-yard line. After gaining 11 yards on 3rd down and 11, the Bearcats decided to go for it on fourth down. The gamble paid off, ending in a touchdown and an even score, 7–7.

In the second quarter, the Tartans picked up where they left off, with three consecutive completions from Cline to lead the home squad to the red zone. Cline threw a quick 8-yard dart to wide receiver Kris Hughes to retake the lead, 14–7. On the next drive, the Bearcats couldn’t put anything together against an aggressive Tartan defense. An 8-yard loss on a sack by Tran brought the Bearcats back to the Carnegie Mellon 35-yard line, away from field goal range on 3rd and 10. Following a punt and touchback, the Tartans extended the lead by two touchdowns when Cline found junior running back Will Richter for a 70-yard touchdown on the first play of the drive. In response, the Bearcats chewed up nearly six minutes of the clock on a 12-play, 71-yard drive that ended with a 15-yard touchdown, making the score 21–14, still in favor of the Tartans.

The Tartans jumped back to a 28–14 lead on the opening kickoff of the second half. Senior running back Rory Hubbard took the kickoff on the 5-yard line and ran down the sideline to the endzone for the second kickoff return for a touchdown of his career. Later in the third quarter, a Tartans drive stalled at the 28-yard line. Saint Vincent blocked the ensuing punt, scooped up the football at the 10-yard line, and ran it in for a special teams touchdown. With the score now 28–21, the teams went to work, but couldn’t find any momentum. Over the next five minutes, both teams had two three-and-outs. The Tartans again found success with a short field, beginning a drive on the Saint Vincent 48-yard line. A 17-yard pass from Cline to Richter set the Tartans up in the red zone, and Hubbard ran the ball in from six yards out for his second touchdown of the game.

Compared to the previous three quarters, the fourth quarter was a quieter affair. The 35–21 score didn’t change until 3:44 left in the game, when junior running back Chris Haas rushed through the left side of the field for a touchdown. The Bearcats fought back and played the football game until the final second, improving the score to 42–27 with another touchdown.

The Tartans finished the game with a balanced offensive attack, 207 yards through the air and 162 on the ground. The Bearcats threw for 339 yards, but couldn’t get their running game going, recording only 62 rushing yards for the game. The Tartans only held possession for 23 minutes of the game, but didn’t turn the ball over, while the Bearcats coughed it up three times. Cline went 15-for-27, 207 yards, and three touchdowns in the win. Hubbard led the team on the ground, with 81 yards, and recorded 228 all-purpose yards. Richter was the team’s top wideout, with 111 yards on four catches and 1 touchdown.

Next week, the Tartans will welcome the Grove City College Wolverines to Gesling Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 29. The game is set for 1 p.m.