HIRAM, Ohio – Senior quarterback Erik Olson (Bethel Park, Pa./Bethel Park) completed 22-of-30 passes for a career-high 277 yards and three touchdowns as the Case Western Reserve University football team improved to 2-0 with a 35-0 shutout of Hiram College on Saturday evening at Charles A. Henry Field.
With the win, Case Western Reserve improves to 26-1 in its last 27 road games dating back to 2007. Hiram (0-2) loses its sixth-consecutive meeting with the Spartans as the all-time series between the two is evened at 11-11-1.
The Spartans took the game's opening drive 75 yards on nine plays and scored when Olson connected with freshman fullback Adam Hochman (Austin, Texas/Anderson) for a two-yard touchdown pass. The TD was Hochman's first career, and the extra point from freshman Won Kun Park (Daejon, South Korea/Kimball Union Academy, N.H.) made the score 7-0 with 10:14 left in the first quarter.
The two sides then went scoreless for the next quarter of play before Olson capped a 14-play, 89-yard drive with an 11-yard TD strike to sophomore tight end George Darany (Northville, Mich./Detroit Catholic Central). The score was also a career first for Darany, and Kun Park's second PAT made the score 14-0 with 7:45 left in the first half.
Neither team scored during the remainder of the half, and the Spartans led 14-0 at halftime.
Two possessions into the third quarter, the Spartan ground game got going with junior running back Kenny Riordan (Spring Grove, Ill./Richmond-Burton) rushing for a one-yard score at the 7:39 mark. Kun Park's PAT capped a 12-play, 58-yard drive that brought the score to 21-0.
Early in the fourth quarter, Case's offense put the game away as Olson and Hochman hooked up for another score—an eight-yard strike—capping a seven-play, 70-yard drive. Kun Park hit another PAT to make the score 28-0 with 14:03 left to play.
Hiram's next drive ended quickly, and the Spartans struck on special teams when senior linebacker Wade Self (Hawthorn Woods, Ill./Lake Zurich) blew through the Hiram line and blocked a Thomas Kuczma punt, setting senior defensive end Adam Watson (Mentor, Ohio/Mentor) up for a 38-yard TD return—his first career score. Another PAT by Kun Park increased the advantage to 35-0 with 12:37 remaining on the clock.
For the game, Riordan rushed for 54 yards on 11 carries, while sophomore running back Manny Sicre (Miami, Fla./Belen Jesuit Preparatory) tallied 45 yards on 12 carries. Sophomore wide out Sean Lapcevic (Presto, Pa./Chartiers Valley) caught six passes for a career-high 132 yards.
Defensively, senior inside linebacker Kevin Nossem (Munster, Ind./Munster) and senior outside linebacker Ryan Ferguson (Wheaton, Ill./St. Francis) each recorded 10 tackles, while Nossem forced a pair of fumbles and Ferguson forced one. Senior tackle Collin Desens (Hopewell Junction, N.Y./Arlington) totaled eight tackles and a career-best two sacks. In the secondary, freshman cornerback Michael O'Donnell (Imperial, Pa./West Allegheny) had a season-high eight stops with his first career fumble recovery.
Hiram was led by RB Chris Austin with a game-high 59 yards on 20 carries, WR Richard Simpson with nine catches for 51 yards, and defensive back Josh Peacock with a game-best 11 tackles.
The Spartans open the home portion of the 2012 schedule next Saturday, September 15 versus Frostburg State University (Md.) at 1:00 p.m. at Case Field.