BY John Bernstein
In their 2010 season opener against the Yellowjackets, the Case Western Reserve University Spartans found themselves down 10-7 with 46 seconds left in regulation. It would take a small miracle to turn the game around.
A small miracle is just what the Spartans got, however, as the visitors stormed 82 yards down Fauver Stadium’s turf and, to the chagrin of the home crowd, scored the game-winning touchdown on a 17-yard reception by Zach Homyk.
One year later (this past Saturday, to be exact), the teams met again. The Spartans had some well-deserved swagger when they flooded onto Case Field. Their pride off the field failed to translate throughout the game, however, as the Yellowjackets suppressed a historically high-powered Case offense and took home the win, 17-7.
An eye for an eye may make the whole world blind, but on this particular night, revenge could not have been sweeter.
After racking up a superb 229 yards rushing last week in a win over John Caroll University, the Spartans couldn’t even begin to penetrate the iron wall that was the UR defense, finishing the game with a jaw-dropping negative one yards rushing. And thanks to two fourth-quarter interceptions on the part of junior linebacker Brendan Pidgeon, Case was only marginally more potent in the air.
The Yellowjackets, by contrast, were a picture of offensive efficiency. Graduate student running back Clarence Onyiriuka started things off for the yellow and blue, breaking through the Spartans’ red-zone defensive line on a two-yard carry to score the touchdown with six minutes remaining in the second quarter. Onyiriuka finished the game with 64 yards rushing on 24 carries.
UR’s senior quarterback Braezen Subick commandeered a brilliant air game, passing for 241 yards and a touchdown. Subick connected with leaping junior Thomas Hayes on a 25-yard touchdown pass late in the second quarter to put the ‘Jackets up, 14-0.
The Case offense would not go unheard, though, as it charged 70 yards down the field for a touchdown on its first possession of the third quarter. With a renewed sense of vigor and competition, the Spartans sensed a comeback on the rise, and Case field shook with the prospect of another comeback over the Yellowjackets.
Pidgeon, however, had other plans. Early in the fourth, Case quarterback Erik Olson drove his team to the Yellowjackets’ 24-yard line, but was picked off by a diving interception on the part of Pidgeon. UR quickly turned the ball over though, and Olson resumed his procession, this time reaching UR’s 14-yard line, ever closer to that potential tying touchdown.
Yet once again, Pidgeon was ready to shut Olson down. On second down, the brawny linebacker made a second diving interception.
The ‘Jackets took over possession and, with 2:28 remaining, UR kicker and junior Alexander Antonucci put the finishing touches on the win.
The football team extended their winning streak to five games, dating back to October 23, 2010.