Tartans football loses a heartbreaker

Sophomore quarterback Rob Kalkstein hands off the football on a draw. (credit: Celia Ludwinski/Operations Manager) Sophomore quarterback Rob Kalkstein hands off the football on a draw. (credit: Celia Ludwinski/Operations Manager)

The Tartans’ football trip to Washington, D.C., ended unfavorably. After a heartbreaking loss against the Catholic University Cardinals, the Tartans find themselves 1–2 early in the 2011 season.

During the first offensive sequence of the game, senior defensive lineman Andrew Medenbach recovered a fumble on the Cardinals’ 19-yard line. Two plays later, junior running back Patrick Blanks found the end zone to give the Tartans an early 7–0 lead.

The Cardinals came back to score two consecutive field goals, a 21-yarder and a 26-yarder.

On the following kickoff, the Cardinals recovered a Carnegie Mellon fumble on the Tartans’ 42-yard line. Three plays later, the Cardinals went to the air and scored, bringing the game to 13–7.

Junior running back Jake Nardone made his mark on the game at the end of the first half as he scored two touchdowns to reclaim the lead. The first touchdown came on a 17-yard run, and the second on a 4-yard draw up the middle. The Tartans led 21–13 at the half.

The Tartans’ defense struck next, as junior cornerback Sam Thompson intercepted a pass from the Cardinals and returned it 71 yards to put the Tartans up 28–13.
After that, the Tartans did not score again.

The Cardinals began to cut into the 15-point lead with a 33-yard field goal. Then, on their first possession of the fourth quarter, the Cardinals found the end zone to make the score 28–23.

With 2:41 left to play and the Cardinals with the ball on the Tartans’ 6-yard line, Catholic University fought for another touchdown. After a failed two-point conversion, the Tartans were down by one with a score of 28–29.

With 13 seconds left in the game, first-year place kicker Kevin Donohue missed a 28-yard field goal that would have won the game for the Tartans. It was a tough loss for Carnegie Mellon.

In a post-game interview, junior outside linebacker Vincent Brown had encouraging words for his fellow Tartans. “It was a great all-around team effort. Despite the loss we still feel good about the season.”

Nardone ended the game with 83 rushing yards and two touchdowns. Senior running back Chris Garcia added 74 yards on the ground. Senior linebacker Dan Behmke had a career-high 10 tackles to lead the team. Junior linebacker Philip Nicolaides also had a career high of eight tackles.

The Tartans will head to Kenyon College this Saturday for a game against the Lords. Kickoff is at noon. The Tartans will look have better fourth quarter play than in the Catholic University game and try to regain a .500 record.