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Blanks, Tartans take down Big Red

Sam Fioroni (5) is greeted by his teammates after second quarter TD.
Sam Fioroni (5) is greeted by his teammates after second quarter TD.

Senior Patrick Blanks ran for 155 and three touchdowns as Carnegie Mellon knocked off Denison 41-21 on Saturday afternoon from Gesling Stadium in Pittsburgh, Pa.

The Tartans quickly jumped out to a seven-point lead after a five-play, 84-yard drive ended in a 40-yard run by Blanks.  With time winding down in the opening period, a 57-yard fumble return by Sam Thompson set up another Carnegie Mellon score.  On the next play, Mike Trentalange punched it in from six yards out to give CMU a 13-0 lead.

On the ensuing drive, a 53-yard pass from Max Paulus to Braden Layer capped off a four-play, 64-yard drive that took a minute and 35 seconds.  Trailing 20-7 midway through the first half, Paulus engineered another scoring drive that spanned 89 yards in six plays.  The senior signal caller opened the drive with an 18-yard scamper that was aided by a 15-yard face mask penalty.  Senior Sam Fioroni converted another first down with a 40-yard run.  On a third-and-5 from the CMU 11, Fioroni found a crease and reached the end zone at 6:15.  Matt Puracchio's extra point trimmed the deficit to 20-14.

With less than two minute left in the half, Blanks found pay dirt once again, this time from three yards out to make it a 13-point game.  With 1:44 on the clock and three timeouts, Denison moved the ball down the field looking to shrink the margin once again.  However, Paulus was picked off in the end zone to close out the period.

Coming out of the intermission, Denison orchestrated an 11-play drive that covered 62 yards in 5:32.  On a key third-and-9 play, Fioroni exploded for a 16-yard run that was aided by a 15-yard personal foul.  In another third-and-long situation, Paulus took to the ground for a 10-yard scamper that moved the sticks.  On third-and-goal, Paulus found Fioroni wide open in the flat for an eight-yard score.  With the third-quarter TD, Paulus became DU's career leader in passing touchdowns.

Clinging to a six-point lead, Blanks bailed his team out once again with a 49-yard TD run to give the Tartans a 13-point lead once again.  With 9:29 left in the fourth, Carnegie Mellon scored on a fake field goal attempt to ice the game.

Fioroni finished with 184 all purpose yards, including 154 yards and one touchdown on the ground. Paulus was 15-of-28 for 209 yards and two scores.  Layer caught three passes for 73 yards and a TD, while John Wilson also had three receptions for 70 yards.

Alex Sycher and Nate Scheidler paced the defense with nine tackles apiece, while Teddy Kuntz and Eric Conrad each had one and a half tackles for loss.  Joel Elliott finished with five tackles, a pass break up and a blocked extra point.

Denison falls to 2-3 on the year, while Carnegie Mellon improves to 5-1.  The Big Red returns to action next Saturday when they travel to Oberlin for a 1 p.m. kickoff.