Sports

Football misses upset over #7 Wittenberg

Sophomore running back Jake Nardone sprints up the field while Wittenberg defenders chase after him last Saturday in Gesling Stadium. (credit: Isaac Jones/Comics Editor ) Sophomore running back Jake Nardone sprints up the field while Wittenberg defenders chase after him last Saturday in Gesling Stadium. (credit: Isaac Jones/Comics Editor )

The Carnegie Mellon football team fell 27–21 in overtime on Saturday in a hard-fought game against the No. 7 Wittenberg University Tigers. The Tartans had one of their best performances of the season, but they failed to close out the game in regulation and could not top the Tigers in overtime.

“We did everything we had to do to win the game against a team of that caliber, but sometimes your best isn’t good enough,” junior safety Matt Bente said, summing up the game.

The Tartans got off to a hot start, with sophomore Jake Nardone scoring a touchdown on Carnegie Mellon’s first drive after the offense marched 71 yards down the field in seven plays. Wittenberg fought back and scored two touchdowns to take an early 14–7 lead in the second quarter. Senior Justin Pratt tied the game up with a few minutes remaining on the clock before halftime, followed by a strong Tartan defense that shut Wittenberg down at the goal line to end the half. The second half saw similar plays to the first half, with Nardone scoring after a 63-yard Carnegie Mellon drive and Wittenberg quickly tying the game 21–21 behind the Tigers’ star quarterback Ben Zoeller, who threw for 276 yards and three touchdowns overall.

Carnegie Mellon had one final drive in the fourth quarter, getting the ball into the red zone and giving senior kicker Elliot Carnevale a 32-yard field goal attempt to win the game. Carnevale’s kick missed to the left and the game went into overtime. Carnevale missed a second kick in overtime, and Wittenberg took over and scored a touchdown to win.

Even with the loss, the men’s football team proved it could play with one of the better teams in the country. “Although we lost, we proved to ourselves that we can hang with a top-10 team. The game was still a good confidence booster leading into our last three University Athletic Association games,” junior cornerback Dan Miller said.

The football team was powered by a strong running attack on Saturday, recording 307 yards on the ground against a Wittenberg run defense that was ranked second in the nation going into the game. Leading the run game was senior Justin Pratt, who gained 137 yards and scored a touchdown. Nardone and sophomore Patrick Blanks also had stellar performances, with Nardone rushing for 90 yards and two touchdowns while Blanks ran for 91 yards. On the defensive side, sophomore Owen Parker led the Tartans with eight tackles; seniors Mike Shedlosky and Brandon Vantassel each recorded seven.

The Tartans look to rebound from this loss and finish out the season strong as they start UAA play in two weeks. They play at Washington University in St. Louis this Saturday.