Time of Poss.
The Case Western Reserve University football team will make its fifth NCAA Division III playoff appearance, after securing the Presidents' Athletic Conference Championship outright and the automatic bid to the NCAA postseason associated with it, with a 27-24 win at Waynesburg University in Waynesburg, Pennsylvania on Saturday afternoon.
The outright PAC Championship is the first in the program's history, and its second league title overall, along a split title in 2017. Case Western Reserve improved to 9-0 overall with the win, and to 8-0 in PAC games with one contest left in the regular season.
Waynesburg dropped to 1-8 with the loss, including a 1-7 conference record.
Junior Travis Johnston got the Spartans off to a quick start on Saturday, returning the opening kickoff 87 yards for a touchdown. It was the first kick returned by a CWRU player since September 13, 2008, when former Spartan Bobby Bott returned one 84 yards for a score. It was also the second-longest kick return for a touchdown in CWRU history, behind only Steve Rospert's 93-yard return in 1993 against Allegheny.
The two teams would exchange field goals over the next two drives, including a 33-yard make by sophomore Robertson Albrecht that put the Spartans ahead 10-7 with 9:23 to play in the opening quarter. Early in the second quarter, a six-yard run by sophomore quarterback Drew Saxton extended the Spartans lead to 17-3 with 11:39 left in the half, and after a Waynesburg touchdown with 5:56 to play in the second cut into the CWRU lead, Albrecht connected on his second field goal of the day at the end of the half, this time from 21 yards out, to give the Spartans a 10-point lead, 20-10, heading into the break.
Johnston would tack on his second score of the day and his fourth of the last two weeks, this time on a one-yard run that capped off five-play, 50-yard drive with 9:41 to play in the third, putting the Spartans in front 27-10. Waynesburg would score a pair of touchdowns in the fourth quarter to chip away at CWRU's advantage, but the Spartans would ultimately hold on for the title-clinching win.
Saxton completed 22-of-38 passes on the day for 239 yards, including seven passes for 94 yards to junior wide receiver Colt Morgan. Junior quarterback Mason Gee-Montgomery led the Spartans' rushing attack with 41 yards. Junior linebacker Joshua Smith led the Spartans with 13 total tackles (10 solo), including three for a loss, and added his second interception of the season.
Before the Spartans turn their attention to the postseason, the team will first aim to complete an undefeated regular season next Saturday at the 34th-Annual Academic Bowl against Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Kickoff is currently scheduled for 2:00 p.m.