Spartans head into football home opener poised to shake off narrow loss

Spartan Football has been on hold with their bye week last week and the extra week has given them the time to regroup from their heartbreaking loss to the University of Chicago two weeks ago.

This week the Case Western Reserve University Football squad will host President’s Athletic Conference rival St. Vincent College in the season’s home opener.

An opponent of St. Vincent’s standing will be just what the doctor ordered to allow the Spartans to get into a strong rhythm on both sides of the football and should boost them to a victory.

However no game should be taken too lightly, as the Spartans learned last season against the St. Vincent Bearcats when the Spartans blew a 10-point third-quarter lead. Meanwhile, the Bearcats strung together 13 points to steal it away in the final minutes of play.

This season the Bearcats have been held back offensively posting only 15.5 points onto the board per game in their first two outings and a have only managed a meager 214 yards per game rushing. Their strength resides in their aerial attack, having averaged 218 yards thus far this season.

Despite the low offensive numbers, St. Vincent’s offense has still been running efficiently under fourth-year quarterback Evan Shimensky. Shimensky has completed 32 of his 57 passes this season and has posted 399 yards and four touchdowns. The Bearcats have also excelled at holding onto the ball, as they have yet to turn the ball over this season. Don’t expect the Bearcats to make mistakes, and as a result force the Spartans to play solid football for the entire game.

While the St. Vincent offense was lacking firepower, the Spartans defense did give up 31 points in their last outing and will rely on their experienced defensive leadership to step up and right the ship. Third-year cornerback Nick Kwon led the Spartans against the Maroons with seven tackles and fourth-year defensive lineman Justin Williams added another two, both for a loss.

However, the Spartans still allowed an alarming 347 yards, and will need to buckle down soon. Any team allowed that many yards can immediately become a threat.

On the offensive half, the Spartans will look to continue the same level of power as their first outing against the University of Chicago. Second-year quarterback Rob Cuda posted the highest passing yards in a game for the Spartans since 2010, connecting with his receivers on 60 percent of his passes in the first outing. Cuda posted three touchdowns and 339 yards against the Maroons and a similar performance this weekend would be more than enough to put one into the win column for the Spartans.

Cuda’s options are both varied and talented and should be able to bust through the Bearcat defense. Fourth-year receiver Bryan Erb caught four passes for 96 yards and a touchdown in the previous outing. Cuda also found tight ends fourth-year Ethan Albers and third-year Zech Medved for five receptions each and a combined 125 yards. Look for all three to be weapons Cuda goes to frequently this weekend.

With the breakdown complete, The Observer is expecting the Spartans to bounce back for the win, and predicts a final score of 38 to 21. In addition to the excitement on the field, the first home game is cause for celebration and will play host to a lot of events for the students in attendance. It should be a great game and a way for the Spartans to get back on track.