PAC Football: Carnegie Mellon Plus Two More In Post-Season


The Presidents Athletics Conference has three members in post-season college football action. The Eastern College Athletic Conference Legacy Bowl Championship invited the Carnegie Mellon University Tartans for their contest Sunday, Nov. 22 and battle the Bridgewater State University Bears.

Carnegie Mellon concluded the 2015 season with an overall mark of 7-3 and 6-2 in the PAC. In the final match-up of the regular season, the Cardinal and Grey came out on the winning side of a shootout by beating the Case Western Reserve Spartans 52-42 Saturday in the 30th Academic Bowl. The victory put a halt to an eight-game losing streak against CWR.

The Tartans bring a one-two punch on offense. The PAC chose wide receiver Graham Schilling as their Offensive Player of the Week for his stellar performance in the win over the Spartans. The 6-foot-3, 185-pound senior tied his career best with nine receptions for a single-game record 207 receiving yards and a career best four touchdowns.

Carnegie Mellon running back Sam Benger was honored as the recipent of the 2015 PAC Offensive Player of the Year award. The 5-foot-8, 185-pound sophomore rushed for an NCAA Division III-best 1,897 yards in 2015 to go along with 18 rushing touchdowns. The native of Hingham, Massachusetts ranks third among his Division III counterparts with 2,034 all-purpose yards. Benger contributed 237 yards on 39 carries and one touchdown against Case Western Reserve.

Head coach Rich Lackner’s squad averaged 40.7 points per game this season while surrendering an average of 23.2 points. The CMU defense was a force with 18 interceptions and 27 sacks over the course of 10 games.

Bridgewater State finished the 2015 campaign with a 7-3 mark overall and a record of 6-2 in the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference. It is the first meeting of the two programs on the gridiron. The contest gets underway at 12 noon at Arute Field on the campus of Central Connecticut State University in New Britain, CT.

The second PAC member to receive an invitation to post-season play was Westminster College. The Titans wrapped up the season with an overall record of 8-2 and 7-1 in the PAC under second-year head coach Scott Benzel. The Blue and White ended the season with their sixth consecutive victory in a 32-0 shutout Saturday over the Geneva College Golden Tornadoes.

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The Titans were asked to participate in the ECAC’s James Lynah Bowl Championship Saturday, Nov. 21 against the St. John Fisher College Cardinals. The match-up kicks off at 11:00 a.m. at Arute Field in New Britain, Connecticut. It will also be the first meeeting between the two schools.

The ground attack led the way for Westminster this season and it was sophomore Dominique McKinley from Greensburg, Pennsylvania leading the charge. The 6-foot-1, 210-pound running back rushed for 1,148 yards on 203 attempts and six touchdowns. McKinley averaged 5.7-yards per carry and his longest gallop of the season was 68 yards.

The defense for the Titans boasted three members of the 2015 All=PAC First Team Defense with senior defensive lineman Richard Ellebie, junior linebacker Mac Quinn, and sophomore defensive back Todd Jeter. This trio and their teammates permitted just 16.3 points per game this season.

The Cardinals, who have been led by head coach Paul Vosburgh since 1991, went 7-3 overall and 6-2 in the Empire 8 Athletic Conference. The Gold and Cardinal Red have been successful in the post-season as they are 6-1 all-time in ECAC Bowl competition.

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With the First Pick

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  • The PAC’s unbeaten No. 9-ranked Thomas More College Saints (10-0 / 8-0 PAC) welcome the No. 16-ranked Washington and Lee University Generals this Saturday to BB&T Field in Crestview Hills, Kentucky for the first round of the NCAA Division III Playoffs. The match-up kicks off at 12 noon.

    These two programs met once before on the gridiron back in 2010 in the first round of the NCAA Division III Playoffs. The Saints came away with a 42-14 victory.

    It was the sixth undefeated season in the Saints 26-year history and the seventh time the Blue and White have captured at least a share of the conference crown. It has been quite a year for first-year head coach Regis Scafe as he was awarded the 2015 PAC Coach of the Year award.

    The Saints offense has a senior duo on the 2015 All-PAC First Team offense in offensive lineman Jake Henderson and wide receiver Goose Cohorn. Thomas More was represented on the 2015 All-PAC First Team Special Teams by senior kicker Tommy Budke.

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    The spotlight on the Blue and White’s defense shines on defensive lineman Erick Butler, who is the 2015 PAC Defensive Player of the Year. The 6-foot-2, 240-pound senior collected 32 solo tackles and assisted on 15 more stops for a total of 49 tackles. The native of Eminence, Kentucky also had 5.5 sacks. Butler was joined on the 2015 All-PAC First Team Defense by senior linebacker Kyle Fuller, and a pair of senior defensive backs in Ian Gunn and Trey Wells.

    Washington and Lee, guided by fourth-year head coach Scott Abell, was perfect with a 10-0 mark and a 7-0 record in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference. The Generals are making their fourth appearance in the NCAA Tournament and their first since 2012.