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Spartans fall 27-24 in overtime nail-biter to Grove City

Courtesy of the Tim Phillis/CWRU Athletics

After a long game filled with score after score, the Case Western Reserve University football team eventually fell to Grove City College in overtime 27-24. This was the Spartans’ first loss, dropping to 1-1 while Grove City improved to 3-0.

CWRU took the initial lead in the first quarter. Third-year defensive back Braden Frank recovered a failed Grove City punt, setting up the Spartan offense at the 24-yard line. Just two plays later, third-year Spartan quarterback Ian Kipp found fourth-year wide receiver Riley Knurek in the endzone for the 7-0 lead following the successful extra point kick.

Though the Spartan defense staved off Grove City in the first quarter, the Wolverines tied the game with 13:22 left in the first half on a 7-play, 51-yard possession that was capped with a 1-yard run-in score. The score remained tied until the second half.

This time, Grove City struck first with another running touchdown to finish off a 14-play, 70-yard drive for the 14-7 lead. The Spartans responded less than four minutes later. The offense strung together 71 yards over 10 plays, including an impressive 36-yard pass from fourth-year quarterback Alex Fromberg to third-year wide receiver Noah Coyne. The drive ended on a 3-yard touchdown pass from Fromberg to fourth-year running back Sean-Michael James to tie it 14-14.

The Spartans carried the momentum into the fourth quarter with a 14-play, 85-yard possession. Fromberg capitalized on this sequence with a four-yard touchdown pass on 3rd down to fourth-year wide receiver Michael Wojkowski for the 21-14 lead.

Like the previous quarters, however, the Wolverines had an answer. On the next drive, Grove City scored a touchdown with less than six minutes to play, tying the game all the way through regulation to force overtime.

CWRU had possession to start overtime but was stalled from the beginning. Unable to get a first down, the Spartans settled for a field goal attempt, which first-year kicker Gabriel Petrozzi nailed to take the 24-21 lead. Right after, however, Grove City scored the game-winning touchdown off an 8-yard pass, ending the game 27-24.

Fromberg finished the game with 146 yards on 16-of-22 passing, scoring 2 touchdowns and adding 83 rushing yards. Third-year running back Gage Duesler contributed 64 yards to the team’s total of 171 rushing yards. Coyne added 66 yards on 6 catches while Wojkowski led the team with 73 yards off five catches.

CWRU and Grove City were tied in first downs (18-18). CWRU led total offense 357-301, including the passing yards (186-124), while Grove City led rushing 177-171.

The Spartans will have a chance to redeem themselves on home field against Geneva College on Saturday, Sept. 23 on DiSanto Field at 7 p.m. Geneva also holds a 1-1 record for the season, their loss coming in their season opener against Carnegie Mellon University where they got demolished 31-0. Over the last 47 years, the Spartans have dominated the matchup 9-1, including a resounding 34-7 win on the road in 2022.

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About the Contributor
Puneet Bansal
Puneet Bansal, Sports Editor
Puneet Bansal (she/her) is a fourth-year student majoring in biochemistry and medical anthropology. She loves obsessing over food, spending time outdoors or annoying her friends. Hailing from the Bay Area, she is an ardent Golden State Warriors fan and finds it daunting to sport her Stephen Curry jersey around Cleveland.

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