16th-ranked Case Western Reserve University matched program records with 49 points in the first half and 28 points in the second quarter alone, on the way to a 63-28 win over Thiel College in Greenville, Pennsylvania on Saturday afternoon.
The Spartans remained perfect on the season with the win, improving to 6-0 overall, including a 5-0 record in Presidents' Athletic Conference play. The victory keeps CWRU half a game ahead of #15 Washington and Jefferson College and Westminster College for first-place in the conference. Thiel dropped to 1-5 overall, including a 1-3 mark in the PAC.
The Spartans 63 points were just a touchdown shy of the program record for points in a game (set against Oberlin in 1998) and the most scored by the Spartans since a 63-14 win over Hiram during the 2009 season.
Senior quarterback Rob Cuda, who did not take a snap in the second half of the game, completed 17-of-22 passes for 343 yards and five touchdowns, and scrambled for a six score with 25 yards on the ground. Senior wide receiver Zak Hurd was the beneficiary of seven of those passes for 132 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
The Spartans defense held Thiel to just 197 total yards, including just 85 through the air. CWRU totaled eight tackles for a loss in the game, including four sacks. Senior linebacker Andrew Banathy had five total tackles, including two for a loss and a sack.
CWRU scored a touchdown on its first seven drives of the game, and on nine of its 14 drives overall. The Spartans opened the game with an eight-play, 68 yard drive, capped off with a 12-yard pass from Cuda to Hurd for the score. After a Thiel evened the score with an 81-yard drive of their own, Case Western Reserve added to its lead with three unanswered touchdowns. Senior running back Jacob Burke extended the lead with a one-yard run into the end zone with 6:22 to play in the opening quarter (his ninth rushing touchdown of the season) and senior tight end Zech Medved gave the Spartans a 21-7 lead by the end of the second, when Cuda hooked up with him for a 60-yard catch and run down the far sideline.
Cuda extended the lead with a five-yard scramble early in the second quarter, putting CWRU ahead 28-7 with 13:41 left in the half. Thiel would answer back with a 96 yard kickoff return by Darien Mosley on the ensuing kickoff, but a 68-yard touchdown catch by Hurd, a five yard scoring grab from freshman wide receiver Colt Morgan and a 10-yard pass from Cuda to freshman Chase Witte pushed the Spartans' lead to 49-14 by halftime. It was the first career touchdown reception for both Morgan and Witte.
The 49 point outburst in the first 30 minutes matched the program record for points in a half, also set in the first half of the 1998 game against Oberlin. It was the fifth time in program history CWRU has scored a program-record 28 points in a quarter, and the first time since a 2015 game against Bethany. Case Western Reserve outgained Thiel 439 to 93 in the first half of the game, with the Spartans' defense restricting the Tomcats to just 46 passing yards and 47 rushing yards.
Thiel would inch closer in the game, capitalizing on a pair of Spartan fumbles in the third quarter to pull back within 21 points, 49-28, with 4:52 remaining in the third. But a 30-yard touchdown run by Myles Anthony with 3:12 remaining in the third and a three-yard scoring run by freshman Zach Hall early in the fourth quarter helped the Spartans put the game out of reach.
For Cuda, it was his third 300 yard passing game of the season, and the seventh of his career. He has completed 62.2% of his passes this year for 1,822 yards, including 20 passing touchdowns with just three interceptions, and another three rushing touchdowns. He has thrown touchdowns to 11 different receivers in 2017.
As a team, the Spartans finished with a season-high 604 total yards, including 370 passing and 234 on the ground.
The Spartans will be back on the road next weekend, traveling to Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania for a 7:00 p.m. PAC game against Geneva College on Saturday, October 21st.