Last weekend the Spartans proved that this year they are a force to be reckoned with as they exploded with 49 points in a 49-14 victory over the visiting Bearcats.
The Case Western Reserve University football team dazzled the home crowd of an estimated 2,350 at DiSanto Field as they kicked off the 2015 home campaign. The game was capped by celebratory fireworks after the game. For a recap of last weekend’s game check out the recap article.
Looking ahead the Spartans will look to continue the same success with their first of two games away from campus as they take on Thiel College, another President’s Athletic Conference (PAC) rival.
The Spartans will be relying on the high-powered offense that they exhibited last week with seven unanswered touchdowns. Rob Cuda was named the PAC Offensive Player of the Week after last week’s thrashing of the Bearcat’s defense. Cuda is the first Spartan to be named Offensive Player of the Week since CWRU rejoined the PAC as an affiliate member last season.
Cuda has thrown for 575 yards through two games with seven touchdown throws this season, and has yet to throw a pick. As a running-prone quarterback, and breaking free for a few huge runs last week, Cuda also is the team’s rushing leader racking up an addition 210 yards beyond the line of scrimmage on the ground.
Cuda’s favorite targets so far this season have been fourth-year Bryan Erb, third-year Brendan Lynch and fourth-year Ethan Albers.
Erb has a pair of touchdowns on 131 receiving on only seven receptions. Lynch has caught 12 passes for 109 yards and finally Albers has 100 yards on a mere four receptions and two touchdowns to add.
Another big positive for the Spartans last week that should carry over, was the defense’s ability to make stops and force mistakes from the St. Vincent offense, which prior to last week had made no mistakes this season, forcing three turnovers. Furthermore the Spartans sacked the opposing quarterback five times.
Leading the defensive charge for the Spartans were second-year Andrew Banathy who forced a fumble and intercepted a pass for the Spartans. He was helped by fourth-year safety Scott Suren who added a fumble recovery and posted one of the five sacks.
Finally the aggressive play that the team, and especially the coaching staff, exhibited in the home opener will be extremely important. Already up 14-0 last week the Spartans’ special team pulled off a squib kick which lead to a botched reception and lead to the Spartans stealing away possession early in the first quarter. This strong play allowed the Spartans to suck all chance of momentum away from St. Vincent and lead to the solidifying of the CWRU lead.
Last time these two squads faced off the Spartans were only able to squeak out a 23-16 win over the Bearcats with a 1:08 left on the clock in the fourth quarter, breaking the 16-16 tie. However as the Spartans proved last weekend in crushing St. Vincent, who the year before beat the Spartans late in the game, previous play against an opponent means nothing.
The Spartans will have to contain quarterback Ryan Radke who has a 52.3 percent completion rate this season, tossing four touchdowns and also has yet to throw a pick. Radke, is very similar to Cuda in that he likes to leave the pocket and run if he sees the opportunity, and leads Thiel with 211 yards on the ground. The Spartans will need to take note of this and shut down his run opportunities.
The Spartans will also have to mind the Thiel defense, headed by Doak Walker Jr. who has brought down 22 opponents this season. However should the Spartans simply continue their offensive excellence, the defense should only be a minor hurdle.
Last week the numbers suggested that the Spartans would win the home opener by a score of 44 to 17. Since the CWRU squad was coming off a loss and only had one game’s worth of statistics, we here at The Observer decided to still predict a win but adjust the numbers to a smaller margin of victory for the Spartans.
Fortunately, that strategy backfired, as the Spartans surpassed the predicted 39 points to put up 49 points and the defense held fast with holding the Bearcats to 14 points, this after deciding not to continue with the same level of intensity and instead give the second unit some in-game experience.
The true game score would have fallen in the allotted margin for a successful prediction had we simply listened to the numbers. Numbers don’t lie.
As a result The Observer has learned its lesson, at least for this week, and predicts a second straight Spartan victory by a margin of 49-28.
The Spartans take on the Thiel Tomcats this Saturday, Sept. 26 at 1 p.m.