PITTSBURGH, Pa. – The No. 24 Westminster football team lost, 34-10, at Carnegie Mellon in Presidents' Athletic Conference (PAC) action Saturday night, the Titans' first conference loss of the season.
Westminster (3-2, 3-1 PAC) was only down 14-10 in the beginning of the fourth quarter. On 4th-and-6 from their own 24-yard line, the Titans fumbled a punt and the Tartans' Parker Owens recovered the loose ball in the end zone for a Carnegie Mellon touchdown, giving the Tartans a 21-10 lead. Carnegie Mellon (4-2, 4-1 PAC) forced a three-and-out on the Titans' following drive and extended its lead with some trickeration when halfback Kris Hughes found Alex Javier for a 26-yard touchdown on third-and-long and led 28-10 with 11 minute to go. Carnegie Mellon's defense came up big again and intercepted a pass from Titan senior quarterback Cole Konieczka (Coraopolis, PA / Moon Area), which set up a 11-play, seven-minute drive – capped off with a 1-yard touchdown run by Tre Vasiliadis to seal the victory.
Konieczka connected with junior tight end Damon Maul (Portage, PA / Cambria Heights) early in the second quarter with an eight-yard pass to the middle of the end zone, capping of an 8-play, 47-yard drive. The touchdown was set up by a defensive pass interference drawn by Titan first-year wide receiver Jalen Washington (Orlando, FL / Dr. Phillips) on third-and-11. The Titans led, 7-0, with 11:50 left.
Titan senior defensive end Brayden Thimons (Natrona Heights, PA / Highlands) kept Carnegie Mellon off the board on the Tartans' ensuing drive with a blocked 36-yard field goal attempt. The Tartans, however, forced a Titan punt and got on the scoreboard from a 11-yard rushing touchdown by Vasiliadis. The extra point failed and Westminster led 7-6 with 4:30 to go in the first half. Carnegie Mellon forced a second-straight Westminster punt and took its first lead off the arm of Ben Mills who found Kris Hughes for a 44-yard touchdown pass. Mills found Hughes again for a successful two-point conversion and the Tartans had a touchdown lead, 14-7 at halftime. Titan junior Joshua Byers (Pittsburgh, PA / Canon McMillan) made a 32-yard field goal, the first of his career, in the beginning of the third quarter, to cut Carnegie Mellon's lead to 14-10.
For the game, Carnegie Mellon outgained Westminster, 329-267 in total yards. Konieczka's 261 passing yards were the most Carnegie Mellon has given up all year. Titan junior linebacker Nicholas Treloar (New Castle, PA / New Castle) led the defense with 10 tackles and a game- and career-high two sacks. Thimons and first-year defensive back Kevin Wright (West Palm Beach, FL / Seminole Ridge) also had a sack. Senior linebacker Ian Barr (State College, PA / State College Area) added seven tackles. Westminster senior wide receiver Denny Dennison (Windson, PA / Red Lion Area) posted career-highs in receptions (7) and yards (120) – both game highs.
Westminster will next host Waynesburg on Saturday, Oct. 16 on Homecoming. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m.