CWRU record winning streak snapped at 38 in Chicago

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James Hale

Senior running back Billy Deitmen scored on an eight-yard touchdown run, but the Spartans’ ground game was ultimately trounced by the Maroon defense.

Shinichi Inoue, Staff Reporter

The AFCA No. 23 ranked Case Western Reserve University visited University of Chicago for its UAAopener on Saturday, Oct. 30 at Amos Alonzo Stagg Field. Senior wide receiver Zach Homyk broke a school-record for reception in a season and the Spartan defense forced four turnovers, but it wasn’t enough; CWRU fell to Chicago by a score of 24-20.

The loss snapped the Spartan’s 38-game regular season win streak and crippled the teams postseason hopes. The last Spartan regular season loss came on November 4, 2006 at Grove City College by a score of 40-33.

Homyk said about the winning streak, “Pretty amazing record, but I’m ashamed that it had to end – the way I look at it is that this Saturday against Washington University starts another streak.” With the loss, the Spartans fall to 7-1 overall and for Chicago, the win gave them a 6-2 record and its first-ever win versus a ranked opponent.

The Spartans took the opening drive for 45 yards on five plays and scored when senior quarterback Joey Baum rushed into the end zone for a touchdown. This was his first rushing touchdown of the season and senior kicker Sam Coffey completed the point after to make the score 7-0 for the Spartans.

The ensuing Chicago possession ended quickly when junior linebacker Jacob Adams intercepted a pass from the Maroon quarterback, Marshall Oium, and returned it for 15 yards into the UC 23 yard line. However, the Chicago defense stood its ground as they prevented CWRU from adding onto its seven-point lead.

Before the end of the first quarter, the Spartan defense forced another turnover when senior cornerback James Wodicka intercepted another pass attempt by Oium in the endzone, keeping the score at 7-0.

Chicago got on board in the second quarter with an eight-play, 45-yard drive. Oium found tight end Brandon Meckelberg for a two-yard touchdown pass on fourth and goal. Kicker Jeff Sauer was unable to capitalize on the point after and the score stood 7-6 with 11:36 remaining in the first half. The Maroons threatened again on the following possession with a nine-play, 66-yard drive, but a fumble in the endzone by quarterback Oium ended Chicago’s chance to take the lead. The first half ended with the Spartans holding onto a narrow one-point lead.

The score remained unchanged until late in the third quarter when quarterback Baum got around the defense to find senior wide out Shaun Nicely to cap a seven-play, 74-yard drive. The drive featured a sensational trick pass from wide out Nicely to quarterback Homyk that went for 33 yards. However, Coffey’s PAT was blocked and the score remained at 13-6 with 4:58 left in the third quarter.

Chicago cut into the lead in the fourth quarter when Emmett Carrier intercepted a pass attempt by quarterback Baum and returned it for a 43-yard touchdown. CWRU was able to hold onto the lead with a blocked point after attempt by Homyk with 11:16 left to play.

The Spartans responded on their following possession marching 65 yards on seven plays and found the end zone when senior running back Billy Deitmen rushed in from eight yards out. Kicker Coffey’s point after made the score 20-12 with 7:52 remaining. The Maroons returned the favor on the ensuing drive when quarterback Oium make a 52-yard touchdown pass to Dee Brizzoara to cut the score to 20-18. Chicago attempted to tie the score with a two-point conversion, but CWRU junior defensive tackle Dale English was able to stop the Maroons quarterback Oium short of the goal line.

The Spartans’ next drive went three-and-out and nearly resulted in a special teams turnover; however junior punter Daniel Vasil was able to save a low snap and kick the ball to the Spartans 44 yard line. The defense forced the Maroons drive to end on downs. With the possession back in the Spartans hand, the Maroons were able to keep the drive in check and took over possession at the CWRU 48. Four plays later, quarterback Oium found Dee Brizzolara for a 46-yard touchdown pass to put Chicago ahead 24-20. The Spartans were unable to generate a comeback on its next possession and the Maroons snapped the Spartans’ record win streak.

For the game, quarterback Baum totaled 259 yards with 19 completions. Wide out Nicely totaled five receptions for 91 yards and is now just two scores shy of tying the CWRU career touchdown receptions record of 31. Wide receiver Homyk totaled eight receptions for 142 yards and has 72 for 964 yards this season. David Kallevig set the previous record of 71 receptions in 2004.

Taking notice of the historical record, Homyk humbly said, “I’m honored to be in the record books and it’s something I’ll never forget about the rest of my life…everybody on my team deserves credit for making it happen,”

Defensively, tackle English totaled eight tackles, linebacker Adams recorded seven tackles with a fumble recovery and an interception, while cornerback Wodicka grabbed a career-high two interceptions.

The Spartans will return to action on Saturday, Nov. 6, to host Washington University in St. Louis at 12:00 p.m.

Wide receiver, Homyk, stated, “Another very talented team and we need to win out if we want any shot of the UAA Championship and a playoff birth…this team can not be taken for granted so we have to play against the idea of perfection.”