Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

W&j Receiver Is Tops in D-III

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

W&j Receiver Is Tops in D-III

Article excerpt

Jesse Zubik loved the play call: A fade pattern designed to hit him in the corner of the end zone. His Washington & Jefferson football team was trailing Carnegie Mellon by three points in double-overtime and a touchdown would win the game.

Deep breath, Jesse.

"I was exhausted, but I kept telling myself that I needed to make one more play to get the game over with," said Zubik, an Avonworth High School graduate. "I had to maintain my focus."

Quarterback Pete Coughlin took the snap and sent a pass skyward to Zubik, who raced underneath, clutched it and double-tapped his toes inside the end line.

It was his fourth touchdown, his 17th catch and his 201st yard on a record-setting afternoon. His jubilant teammates, nearly 100 of them, converged to celebrate a pulsating, 55-52, victory.

"They surrounded me," Zubik said. "I remember the linemen holding me up in the air. It was a great feeling."

A 5-foot-10, 180-pound junior, Zubik is Division III's version of Antonio Brown. A playmaker/game-breaker, he leads the nation in receiving yards per game (169.3) and touchdowns (14) and is third in receptions per game (9.5).

Two weeks ago, he was placed on the D3football.com Team of the Week after breaking the W&J single-game receiving record of 14 against CMU. He also tied the Presidents' Athletic Conference record for touchdowns in a game.

"He just keeps getting better," said coach Mike Sirianni, whose high-scoring team is 5-1, 3-1 PAC. "We've leaned heavily on Jesse this season."

In a 37-36 victory against Bethany last Saturday, Zubik was brilliant. Again.

The Sewickley native hauled in seven passes for a school record-tying 235 yards and two touchdowns. His 57-yard score in the fourth quarter not only provided the winning points, but put him over 1,000 yards in just six games.

His performance against Bethany earned him PAC Offensive Player of the Week honors on Monday.

For the season, Zubik has 57 receptions for 1,016 yards. That total includes 34 catches for 635 yards and nine touchdowns the past three games.

Not that the numbers matter to Zubik, who prefers humility over headlines. …

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