The Yellowjackets sweated out a tense fourth quarter last Saturday in Cleveland to hold onto a tight 30-28 win over Case Western Reserve University. UR, which had used an effective running game to build an early lead over the Spartans, watched their lead drop from 10 to two points in the fourth quarter as the home team rallied from behind before the Yellowjackets ran out the clock to post the win.

“The second half was a lot closer than the first,” Head Coach Mark Kreydt said. “They scored to make it a two point game but I don’t think that we ever lost the ability to compete. We played well enough the entire game to win.”

The Yellowjackets took control of the game early, scoring on their first offensive drive with a 29-yard touchdown pass from sophomore quarterback Aaron Molisani to junior wide receiver Dave Sanok. The extra point by senior kicker Chris Johnston was completed to put UR on the board 7-0.

The Spartans drove to the UR five-yard line before the Yellowjackets sacked quarterback Jason Cellura, causing a fumble that took Case Western back to the 16-yard line. Attempting to salvage the situation with a field goal try, senior captain and defensive lineman Sam Snowden blocked the kick to force a turnover on downs.

“Snowden has done a great job of blocking extra points his entire career,” Kreydt said. “He has a tremendous vertical leap.”

Case Western ended UR’s shutout with less than two minutes remaining in the first quarter, with an eight-yard touchdown pass from Cellura to wide receiver David Kallevig evening the score at 7-7.

The Yellowjackets then began to focus on their running game, a strategy that would pull UR firmly ahead of the Spartans during the first half.

“I think that going into the game we felt that we could run the ball well against Case Western, and that certainly proved to be true,” Kreydt said. “Our offensive line played extremely well all day and our ability to run the ball well consistently was the telling factor of the contest.”

UR ran for a total of 244 yards and two touchdowns. Senior Gerard Hopkins led the way with 76 yards and a touchdown, followed by sophomore Pat O’Brien with 67 yards and a score. Senior Jeff Ardnt contributed with 54 yards and Molisani rushed for 47 yards.

Molisani rushed nine yards for UR’s second touchdown of the day, followed shortly after by a 14-yard touchdown run by O’Brien to increase the lead to 21-7. Ardnt rushed 54 yards in seven plays to drive the Yellowjackets deep into the Spartan’s redzone.

Case Western added another seven points of their own early in the third quarter with a 67-yard bomb from Cellura to Marshau Minter to make the score 21-14.

The Yellowjackets responded with a 13-play drive that brought UR to the Spartans’ gates but were unable to penetrate further than the 15-yard line, settling for a 35-yard field goal by Johnston.

Leading 24-14 at the beginning of the fourth quarter, the Yellowjackets’ cruise to victory began to look shaky after a Spartan offensive drive was aided by several UR penalties and Cellura was able to take the ball seven yards for Case Western’s third touchdown of the afternoon. Suddenly, the Spartans were only a field goal away from tying the game.

The Yellowjackets added a bit of padding with slightly over five minutes remaining to play as Hopkins broke free for nine yards to a touchdown. The score meant that even though the Spartans would score another touchdown before the game was over, UR could still come away with a 30-28 win.

Next week the Yellowjackets return home to Fauver Stadium to battle the Carnegie Mellon Tartans in a UAA match-up. The Tartans, who lost to Washington University in St. Louis by two points this past week, have a strong running game and a taste for vengeance – last year the Yellowjackets snapped a 25-year streak of winning seasons by defeating the Tartans in Pittsburgh. If UR wins, they will be crowned UAA co-champs with Washington.

The last game of the season is also Senior Night, where the senior members of the team will be honored.

Schloss can be reached at

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