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Early Ending: Spartans eliminated from playoffs by Trine University

Nick Spring

Issue date: 12/4/09 Section: Football
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Wide receiver Zach Homyk during the Spartans' 51-38 loss to Trine in the first round of the NCAA playoffs. Homyk's 11-yard TD reception gave the Spartans an early 7-0 lead.
Wide receiver Zach Homyk during the Spartans' 51-38 loss to Trine in the first round of the NCAA playoffs. Homyk's 11-yard TD reception gave the Spartans an early 7-0 lead.
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For the second year in a row, the highly ranked Spartans failed to make it out of the first round of the NCAA Division III playoffs. This year's opponent was Trine University, a university with an enrollment of under 1000 located in Indiana. Trine's specialty is a tough running game with a deceiving play action game, and unfortunately for Case, their Spartan defenses Achilles heel is stopping the run.

The game started off with everything going Case's way. The Spartans received the ball first and scored pretty easily, covering 59 yards and ended the game's opening drive with an 11-yard connection between quarterback Dan Whalen and wide receiver Zach Homyk. After a turnover, the Spartans took advantage and scored, making it a two-score game early in the first half. The teams went back and forth until half time, where the game was tied 28-28. Although Trine went on a 28-14 run to end the half, the Spartans felt confident going into the second half.

Trine dominated the second half as the Spartan defense could not get off the field and the offense could not keep up with Trine's scoring. The Spartans eventually fell to Trine by a final score of 51 - 38. The defense relinquished the most yards of the season, 539 yards, and even though the offense put up almost 500 yards of offense, turnovers ultimately ended the Spartans season. The Spartans lost two fumbles and Whalen was intercepted once.

The final game for the seniors ended with a loss, but that is not how this group should be remembered. This class was the most successful in Case's football history.

For one Spartan, college football has not officially concluded yet. Whalen is once again in the running for the Gagliardi Trophy, Division III's version of the Heisman Trophy. Only a handful of players are considered for the trophy, so to even be part of the discussion is quite an honor.

"It is truly a special honor to be considered for the Gagliardi," said Whalen. "It's an honor I think I've worked hard to be considered for. To win it would just put an excellent stamp on my college career."

Whalen is not the only Spartan with potential national awards on the line. Case's head coach, Greg Debeljak, is up for Coach of the Year for Division III. "Coach Debeljak has really turned this program around and has had tremendous success recently. He really deserves this award," senior offensive lineman Drew Dixon said. Debeljak is currently in sixth place nationally in fan voting.

The season did not end the way the Spartans would have liked, but no one can take away what this team has accomplished over the years. For this senior class, there is no shame in being remembered as the greatest class in Case's football history.
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In This Issue

Cross Country

  • Women finish 15th in nation; Simpson has best finish in university history

News

  • A conversation with Christina Mastrangelo
  • CWRU students among thousands at SOA protest
  • CWRU's Great Lakes Energy Institute honored as "Center of Excellence"
  • Relay for Life 2010 kicks off with recruitment fair
  • Smart holiday spending tips
  • USG Minutes

Spartan Spotlight

  • Spartan Spotlight: Reid Anderson

Sex and Dating

  • Are you tired?

Sports

  • All-American, UAA honorees back
  • Building starts on Mather Park
  • Dukes, Criss keep grapplers strong in the middle
  • For Spartans, Allegheny is splitsville
  • Revolving door is no good for the Browns
  • So far, it's been so good for women's basketball

Football

  • Early Ending: Spartans eliminated from playoffs by Trine University

Fun Page

  • Combo Scramble Solution
  • Crossword Solution
  • Sudoku Solutions

Worst Case Scenario

  • Reading days and salad days

Opinion

  • Column on smoking misinformed
  • Copenhagen summit may not be effective
  • Divisive politics dilute meaningful discourse
  • Editorial: Semester grades
  • Junior year abroad - wait, a whole year?
  • Take some time to earn your coal
  • What are your plans for winter break?

Focus

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  • Surviving the home stretch
  • The Buzz
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  • The Observer's choices for the best music of 2009
  • The Observer's choices for the best video games of 2009
  • The Spectrum Drag Ball
  • tUnE-yArDs' debut record merges folk music with noise
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