By Robert McKinney, Athletics Communications Director
SALEM, Ore. -- Nick Brickous (Sr./Jr., SS, Mesa, AZ/Perry HS/U.S. Military Acad.) of Willamette University has been chosen as the Northwest Conference Football Defensive Student-Athlete of the Week for his efforts in helping the Bearcats rally for a 28-24 victory over California Lutheran University on Saturday, Sept. 17.
Brickous led Willamette with nine total tackles and provided one of the key defensive plays in the game, as the Bearcats fought back from a 21-0 deficit late in the first half to record their first win of the season.
Momentum in the game changed when Brickous intercepted a California Lutheran pass at the WU 31-yard line and returned it 68 yards to the CLU 1-yard line with 3:09 left in the first half. Taylor Wyman (Sr., RB, Bellevue, WA/Issaquah HS) scored for the Bearcats on the next play.
The Bearcats cut the margin to 21-14 with a touchdown in the third quarter. The Kingsmen added a field goal with 10:16 left in the game to take a 10-point advantage, but Willamette completed its rally with two more touchdowns the rest of the way. Alex Israel (Sr., WR, McMinnville, OR/McMinnville HS) scored the winning touchdown on a 15-yard pass from Ryan Knowlton (Jr., QB, Puyallup, WA/Emerald Ridge HS) with 59 seconds remaining.
Brickous and the rest of the WU defense stopped California Lutheran on its final drive. The Kingsmen got as far as the Willamette 15-yard line, but the Bearcats forced incomplete passes on third down and fourth down to end the game.
The nine tackles by Brickous included five unassisted stops and four assists. He had one-half tackle for loss. Brickous tops the Willamette defensive chart this season with 23 total tackles, including 13 unassisted tackles.
Willamette, 1-2 on the season, does not play a game this week, but will return to the field on Saturday, Oct. 1 with the start of Northwest Conference action. The Bearcats will be playing at University of Puget Sound. Game time in Tacoma, Washington, is set for 1 p.m. (PDT).