When all was said and done, the football team’s loss versus Case Western Reserve University came down to a thrilling ending.
With defensive struggles in the first three quarters, the score settled at 10-7. But The Yellowjackets saved the excitement for an unforgettable final quarter.
Despite numerous scoring opportunities, the Yellowjackets could not pull away and eventually gave up the game-winning touchdown to Case Western in the final 46 seconds of the game.
Even though the 14-10 loss puts the Yellowjackets at 0-1, they went toe-to-toe with a team who is only barely out of the top 25 standings according to www.d3football.com.
“It is needless to say that we were crushed to let that game slip away from us,” junior defensive lineman Spencer Miller said. “However, we proved to ourselves and everyone else in the East that we can hang with the top-tier teams in the country.”
The Yellowjackets were led by their tough defense that forced the Case Western offensive attack to 56 rushing yards and three interceptions. Defensive stronghold Miller and sophomore linebacker Brendan Pidgeon led the team with eight and a half and seven total tackles, respectively.
“Case is a great team and we were in a dog fight with them until the end, we just have to stay focused on finishing the game,” senior wide receiver Tony Messana said. “The leadership of our team is great and we are a mentally tough team.”
With the Courage Bowl this weekend, the Yellowjackets can’t make the same mistakes against St. John Fisher College, which is ranked No. 21 in the top 25 standings.
“Saturday against SJF will be no different,” Pidgeon said. “We don’t play up to anyone anymore, we’ll simply play our style of football for 60 minutes.”
Opening the season as the starter, senior quarterback, Pat Keegan and his high-powered offense, which includes senior runningback Clarence Onyiriuka, will face their biggest challenge this Saturday.
“This weekend’s game is huge for everyone involved — the teams, coaches, Camp Good Days [and Special Times], etc.,” Pidgeon said. “For our team specifically it’s huge not only because of the hype surrounding it every year, but because we feel that this is the best team [UR] has had in a long time and that we are very capable of ending Fisher’s Courage Bowl winning streak.”
Manrique is a member of the class of 2012.