CMU Football vs. Grove City

The Carnegie Mellon University football team fell 29–26 to the Grove City College Wolverines on Saturday in a double overtime heartbreaker. The loss was the Tartans’ first of the season, bringing their overall record to 4–1, and 3–1 in Presidents’ Athletic Conference play.

Junior quarterback JD Dayhuff threw for 166 yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions. Senior running back Chris Haas led the team in rushing with 119 yards on 27 carries. Two of Dayhuff’s touchdowns went to sophomore wide receiver Kris Hughes, who finished with 36 total yards. Despite a thrilling finish, much of the story of the game was the Tartans' kicking woes.

The first quarter was a defensive battle. The first points came with 1:07 left in the quarter on a 22-yard Dayhuff-to-Hughes connection. Sophomore kicker Brandon Nguyen missed the extra point, keeping the score 6–0. In the second quarter, the Wolverines got on the board with a field goal, but most of the drives on both sides stalled, ending in punts or interceptions.

The offense on both sides began to heat up in the second half. The Wolverines evened the score to 6–6 with another field goal midway through the third quarter. On the following drive, the Tartans marched down the field, aided by a 35-yard kickoff return by junior running back Sean Cooke. Nguyen’s 44-yard field goal attempt missed wide left, and the score remained tied. The Wolverines took over from their 27-yard line and promptly scored on a 71-yard pass for a touchdown, making the score 13–6 for Grove City’s first lead of the day.

The Tartans responded at the beginning of the fourth quarter with the second Dayhuff-to-Hughes score of the day, a 9-yard touchdown pass. However, the Wolverines blocked Nguyen’s extra point, keeping the score 13–12. The Wolverines took their largest lead of the game, 20–12, with a touchdown run with 11:58 left to play. Later in the quarter, Dayhuff found junior tight end Kerry Tomasetti for a 20-yard touchdown. After a day of special teams issues, the Tartans elected to go for the two-point conversion. Dayhuff went to his favorite target, Hughes, to tie the game, 20–20.

Then came overtime. The Tartans won the toss and elected to begin on defense. After a Wolverines field goal, the Tartans had to tie the game with a field goal to force a second overtime or score a touchdown to win. Junior kicker and punter Josh Lyons kicked a 42-yarder, the first of his career. In the second overtime, the Tartans offense took possession first, and Lyons hit another field goal, this time for 23 yards. The ball went to the Wolverines, and quarterback Josh Ehst ran in the ball from the 1-yard line for the touchdown and the win.

Despite finishing with more first downs, time of procession, and a higher third-down conversion rate, the Tartans suffered from their uneven special teams play, costing them several points in regulation.

Next week, the Tartans will return to Pittsburgh for just their second home game of the season. They will welcome the Waynesburg University Yellow Jackets at 7 p.m. at Gesling Stadium.