Last Saturday, the Allegheny College gridiron squad showed that even though it’s a young team, it can still win a football game.
This Saturday, Allegheny showed that it’s still a young team.
The visiting, veteran-laden Carnegie Mellon Tartans took it to the Gators 37-7 yesterday at Frank B. Fuhrer Field
“That’s the difference between seniors and sophomores playing. You saw it (Saturday),” said Allegheny head coach Mark Matlak, whose team fell to 1-1, having failed to follow-up on last week’s 17-14 victory over Wooster.
“(Carnegie Mellon) is a veteran team and it looked it compared to us,” Matlak said. “They did a good job of getting that big jump from game one to game two and we really floundered.”
Yesterday’s contest started out exciting.
CMU’s opening drive ended with a 28-yard field goal by Connor Young. And Allegheny answered with a 13-play, 77-yard touchdown drive, capped by a one-yard blast up the middle by running back Taylor O’Brien.
After that, however, little went right for Allegheny. The Gators amassed just 130 yards over the next 49 minutes. And the Tartans rolled, scoring 34 unanswered points.
“I just think it’s plain and simple, and starting with me, we just did a poor job of preparing our players,” said Matlak. “I told each and every one of these guys, I apologize for not preparing them well enough. I certainly didn’t think (CMU) was 30 points better than us. And we certainly didn’t look like a well-organized or a well-coached football team.”
The Gators had one bright spot towards the end of the first half, but it didn’t last long. Trailing 17-7, Derrick Emigh fielded a CMU kickoff at the five and rumbled all the way down the field and into the end zone. But the would-be score was called back due to not one, but two holding penalties. (Only one was walked off.) The ensuing offensive drive didn’t pan out. The Gators went into halftime with their sails hanging. And the second half didn’t get any better.
“I think the critical turning point was the kickoff return, the holding call,” said Matlak.
Sophomore Joe Dawida got his first start at quarterback for the Gators. He went 10-for-21 for 75 yards and rushed the ball nine times for 20 yards.
Last week, it was senior Mike Person that led the Gators’ to the win over Wooster. But Dawida got the call for game two.
“All through camp, Joe won the job,” said Matlak. “I really felt like Joe was our starting quarterback going into the season The only reason he didn’t start against Wooster is because he was hurt. That’s no reason to eliminate your starting quarterback. I saw some flashes of good stuff (Saturday). And people can second guess, but I see them every day and I’m the chief cook and bottle washer here. We went with Joe.”
On the other side was Carnegie veteran Rob Kalkstein. He had a nice game, completing 9 of 12 attempts for 200 yards and a pair of touchdowns while rushing for 26 yards on three carries.
“The kid that we have at quarterback, he’s a three-year starter,” said CMU head coach Rich Lackner. “He’s a junior and he’s started every game since he got here. And he’s a very heady kid. ...He’s a very good decision-maker, a very good quarterback.”
Late in the second quarter, Kalkstein noticed that Allegheny’s defense wasn’t covering receiver Tim Kitka wide to the left. So he just had to mail the ball to Kitka for a 39-yard touchdown play, putting the Tartans ahead 17-7.
“Down here when they misaligned, they didn’t cover him, we didn’t have that called,” said Lackner. “(Kalkstein) snapped the football, threw it out to him — touchdown. That’s what a veteran quarterback can do for you.”
Then early in the third quarter, CMU started its second drive on its own 18. Kitka got behind the secondary in the middle of the field and Kalkstein delivered the pigskin right into his hands. Kitka took it to the house for an 82-yard touchdown play. CMU now led 23-7.
Kitka finished the day with four catches for 158 yards.
On the ground, Carnegie tallied 261 yards, led by running backs Jared Delello (11 carries-54 yards), Jake Nardone (6-53) and Patrick Blanks (14-52). Blanks did all the scoring, though, recording all three of the Tartans’ rushing touchdowns — a nine-yarder in the second quarter, a 14-yarder in the third and a four-yarder in the fourth.
“I thought all aspects of our game were strong,” said Lackner. “I thought we made great improvement from our first game with Grove City and our game (Saturday).”
CMU beat Grove City last week 23-20.
“Offensively, we controlled the line of scrimmage, controlled the football. I thought we were pretty balanced. We could throw the ball. We could run the ball,” Lackner added. “Defensively, our guys got after in pretty good. That first drive by Allegheny was impressive. But after that our guys settled down and played great defense.”