Benger obliterates school rushing record with 303 in loss

Sophomore running back Sam Benger collected a Carnegie Mellon record of 303 rushing yards. (credit: Staff Photographer) Sophomore running back Sam Benger collected a Carnegie Mellon record of 303 rushing yards. (credit: Staff Photographer)

On Saturday, the Carnegie Mellon football team took on the Washington and Jefferson College Presidents. The Tartans lost by a score of 38–14, dropping to 0–2.

The Tartans went three and out on their first drive. The defense, however, prevented Washington and Jefferson from scoring, stopping them on a fourth down. The Tartans got the first score: a 51 yard touchdown run by sophomore running back Sam Benger. The defense quickly recorded a three and out, and Benger again broke free for a long run. The tide began to turn as a pass from senior quarterback Andrew Hearon was intercepted.

The Presidents moved forward play by play, earning a touchdown and tying up the score. On the next drive for the Tartans, Hearon missed on a pass intended for senior wide receiver Graham Shilling that could have been another touchdown. Instead, the Tartans had to punt. The Presidents then scored a long touchdown and took the lead before the end of the quarter.

In the second quarter, junior safety Samer Abdelmoty recorded an interception, but the Tartans’ offense couldn’t capitalize off the turnover. The Presidents proceeded to score once more, but this time the Tartans’ offense responded with an 85-yard touchdown run from Benger. The Presidents attempted to get into the endzone once again on a long drive, but were held to a field goal.

The Tartans missed their field goal attempt on the ensuing drive and went into halftime down 24-14.

In the third quarter, the Presidents defense afforded no opportunities for the Tartans, forcing them to punt at the end of all their drives. Although the Carnegie Mellon defense largely did the same, the Presidents scored on a 37 yard touchdown run, extending the gap to 31–14.

The Tartans became more aggressive with their plays, but could not score in the fourth quarter. One more touchdown from Washington and Jefferson sealed the game.

The biggest aspect of the loss was the passing game — or lack thereof. Hearon completed only 11 of 34 passing attempts, and a few key plays could have turned the tide for the Tartans.

“It was frustrating because there were opportunities to tie the game and take the lead, and we couldn’t capitalize,” Benger said after the game. “We need to play a complete game. We can’t just be good on offense or just good on defense or just good on special teams. We have to be firing on all cylinders.”

Benger recorded 303 rushing yards, a new school record for rushing yards in a single game, 96 more than the previous record.

The Tartans will seek their first win this year at Geneva College this upcoming Saturday.