Two blocked field goals in final minutes doom 4-peat

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Denton Zhou

Zach Homyk catches the Spartans’ only touchdown against Washington University. Homyk is 5 receptions and 37 yards away from breaking school records.

Shinichi Inoue, Staff Reporter

On a cold and snowy Saturday afternoon, Nov. 6, Case Western Reserve University came up short against Washington University. Two late blocked field goals in the final four minutes sealed the Spartans’ fate as they lost 14-13 against the Bears.

Wide receiver, Zach Homyk stated about the game, “Washington was a big challenge and obviously they played great…they have good spread, they’re physical, and they just outplayed us.”

The loss was the second straight University Athletic Association heartbreaker for the Spartans and dropping their record to 7-2 overall and 0-2 in the UAA standings. The loss eliminated the Spartans from being able to claim their fourth straight conference title. CWRU lost their first regular season home contest since Oct. 14, 2006 against Carnegie Mellon University.

With their sixth straight win, the Bears improve to 7-2 overall and 2-0 in the UAA. This winning streak is the longest streak for the Bears since 2005-06 seasons. Washington now extends its all-time series lead against CWRU to 17-8.

The Spartans took the opening drive of the game 61 yards on 10 plays and got on the board when senior kicker Sam Coffey connected for a 21-yard field goal at the 10:04 mark. With the score at 3-0, Washington took the ensuing drive to the Spartans 32-yard line but was forced to punt the ball away thanks to a sack by Spartan junior linebacker Jacob Adams.

A downed punt at the Case one-yard line and a fumble four plays later set up the Bears with excellent field position at the 15 yard line. Two plays later, Bears running back Jim O’Brien rushed in for a 15-yard touchdown run. Kicker Eric Chalifour connected on the extra point to put the Bears ahead 7-3 at the 4:56 mark in the first quarter.

The Spartans answered on the following possession with a 13-yard touchdown pass from senior quarterback Joey Baum to senior wide receiver Zach Homyk. Coffey completed the extra point after, making the score 10-7. Washington was unable to reach the end zone on the following drive as the Spartans defense held on to end the first quarter as the score sat at 10-7.

CWRU added to its lead midway through the second quarter when Coffey connected on a 44-yard field. The field goal was one yard shy of Coffey’s career-long.

After each side went scoreless for the next quarter of play, Washington moved back ahead when O’Brien found the end zone from three yards out to cap a seven-play, 46-yard drive. The point after by Chalifour made the score 14-13 with 5:36 remaining in the third quarter.

After another quarter of play without a score, CWRU drove deep into the Bear’s territory, but a 20-yard field goal attempt by Coffey was blocked by Washington defensive back Brandon Brown with 3:58 left to play. The Spartan defense held the Bears in check and with just enough time left to give the offense one last try.

Coffey’s second field goal attempt from 43 yards out was blocked by Brandon Brown again. As the time ran out, Washington held on and squeezed out a key 14-13 victory over the Spartans.

For the game, quarterback Baum completed 21-of-39 passes for 181 yards and recorded a touchdown. Sophomore fullback Trevor LeBarge rushed for a career-best 117 yards on 21 carries. Wide receiver Homyk total five receptions for 41 yards before leaving in the second half due to injury. Homyk has 1,002 yards in receiving this reason and is on pace to break several school records. Homyk needs five more receptions to tie the school career record of 203, and he is also only 37 yards away from tying the school single-season mark of 1,039 yards of reception. On the defensive side, linebacker Jacob Adams led the team with nine tackles along with a sack.

Senior cornerback James Wodicka recorded the team-best fifth interception on the season. Finally, junior tackle Dale English recorded his seventh straight game with at least one sack.

CWRU looks to close out the season against Carnegie Mellon in the annual Academic Bowl at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 13 at Case Field. Washington travel to the University of Chicago this week. Since Chicago defeated Carnegie Mellon University on Saturday, the winner of Saturday’s contest between the Bears and the Maroons will decide the 2010 UAA title.