Carnegie Mellon dominates Gators in first home game

Cheered by fans from the Allegheny and Meadville community, the football team dropped its first game to Carnegie Mellon Saturday in a 37-7 loss.

“We made a lot of mistakes,” said head coach Mark Matlak. “That’s what happens when you make mistakes. You get run out of dodge.”

The Tartans dominated the Gator defense, with Carnegie Mellon outgaining Allegheny 461-207 in yardage.

“We had problems on the defensive end,” Matlak said. “I think that’s where it all starts.”

Tartans’ receiver Tim Kitka had four catches for 158 yards, including two touchdown receptions. The Tartan ground game had 261 total yards, with contributions from ten different players.

“We gave up two long touchdown passes for scores that were our own errors,” Matlak said. “We couldn’t stop them on the defensive end.”

The Gators struggled offensively as well, with their only points resulting from their opening 77-yard drive led by the running of senior Taylor O’Brien and Ben Perko, ’14. Perko set the Gators up at the Tartan one-yard line. O’Brien carried the ball into the end zone for what would be the Gators’ only score.

Matlak and offensive captain Conor Sharp, ’13, attributed the struggles on the offensive end to players’ failure to stick with their assignments.

“There were many plays Saturday where we had 10 out of 11 guys doing their jobs well, but we need all 11 of us to be in sync on each play,” Sharp said.

After a comeback win in their first game of the season, players were unhappy with their performance against Carnegie Mellon.

“It’s one thing to lose, but I feel like we were completely dominated in all aspects of the game,” said senior captain John Douglas. “To put it plain and simple, they outplayed us, and that’s not an effort that I’m proud of whatsoever.”

The Gators have a bye week this week, and according to Coach Matlak, plan on going back to basics.

“Anytime you have a bad loss like we did, you have to come back and take a look at yourselves and try to go back and work on the basic fundamentals,” said Matlak.

Allegheny will have another change at quarterback when they travel to Wabash in two weeks. Joe Dawida, ’15, suffered a shoulder sprain against Carnegie Mellon, forcing Matlak to give Mike Person, ’13, the nod once again. Dawida finished

Saturday’s game 10-of-21 for 75 yards passing.

“[Dawida] showed some flashes, but he showed his inexperience,” said Matlak. “I made the switch [from Dawida to Person] and it didn’t work on Saturday.”

During the bye week, the Gators hope to put this loss behind them as they head into the remainder of the season.

“We need to just move on, and as hard as that may seem initially, I think that it would be best if we just put this game behind us,” said Douglas. “As our coach mentioned after the game, ‘Once something is behind you, if you keep watching it through your rear view mirror, you’re going to wreck.’”