By Robert McKinney, Assistant Athletics Director, Communications
SALEM, Ore. -- Willamette University and Pacific University were tied 13-13 at halftime, but the Boxers scored 28 points in the second half to defeat the Bearcats, 41-13, on Saturday, Nov. 4. at McCulloch Stadium. Pacific improved to 4-3 overall, 4-2 in the Northwest Conference. Willamette fell to 0-8 on the season, 0-6 in the NWC.
Prior to the game, the Bearcats paid tribute to the 15 seniors on the roster. At halftime, the Bearcats honored players in attendance from the 1997 Willamette football team that won the NWC Championship and advanced to the NAIA Division II Championship game.
For the Bearcats on Saturday, Mathew Castaneda (So., QB, Salinas, CA/Salinas HS) scored both touchdowns on runs of 23 yards and 4 yards. Pacific running back Brandon Boyd led the Boxers with 20 carries for 184 yards and two touchdowns covering 18 yards and 26 yards. Boyd also scored on a 54-yard pass from J.T. Greenough.
KayLyn Stirton (Jr./Fr., Cottonwood, CA/West Valley HS) of Willamette became the second female student-athlete to play and score in a football game for the Bearcats when she kicked the extra point following the 23-yard score by Castaneda to give WU a 7-0 lead. It was her only play of the day. Liz (Heaston) Thompson became the first female student-athlete to play and score in a football game at any level of collegiate play when she went 2 for 2 on extra points for Willamette against Linfield College in 1997.
The Bearcats opened the game with strong play on both sides of the ball. Pacific received the kickoff, but the Bearcats shut down the Boxers on their first three plays. Tommy MacDevitt (So., OLB, Santa Clara, CA/Saint Francis HS) of WU stopped Kobe Williams for a 1-yard loss on a screen pass. On second down, Boyd was limited to a 1-yard rush. Greenough's pass to Williams on third down was dropped, and the Boxers were forced to punt.
Kyle Martz (Fr., DB, Salem, OR/ South Salem HS) blocked the punt by Ryan Carhart. After Pacific downed the ball at the line of scrimmage, Willamette took over just 34 yards from the goal line.
It took the Bearcats four plays to score. A 7-yard pass from Castaneda to Kevin Martz (Sr., WR, Salem, OR/South Salem HS/Claremont McKenna College) on 3rd-and-6 picked up a first down at the Pacific 23. Castaneda then dashed 23 yards to the end zone.
Pacific pulled with 7-6 later in the first quarter when Brandon scored from 54 yards out on a 3rd-and-3 play with 3:24 on the clock. The extra point kick by Alex Beekman went wide left. The scoring drive lasted 112 plays and covered 79 yards.
With 1:17 to go in the quarter, the Bearcats caused Williams to fumble at the end of a 4-yard catch at the Pacific 43-yard line. MacDevitt caused the fumble and Kyle Martz recovered. The Bearcats punted four plays later.
The Boxers surged into the lead at the end of a 7-play, 88-yard drive in the second quarter. The drive ncluded a 35-yard pass from Greenough to Williams to reach the WU 25. On second down, Gavin Hettinger crossed the goal line on a 23-yard pass from Greenough. Beekman kicked the conversion, giving the Boxers a 13-7 advantage.
Willamette responded with a solid drive of its own, as the Bearcats moved the ball 70 yards on 10 plays. During the drive, Castaneda hit Alex Israel (Sr., WR, McMinnville, OR/McMinnville HS) with an 11-yard pass tot he Pacific 46-yard line. Castaneda followed that play with a 16-yard run.
After an incomplete pass, Joey Thurman (Sr., RB, Carson City, NV/Carson HS) scampered 26 yards to the 4-yard line. During the carry, Thurman leaped over a defender at the 20-yard line and kept running (see the play @wubearcats on Twitter). Castaneda scored a touchdown on a 4-yard draw play. Brendan McGonigle (So./Fr., PK, Seattle, WA/O'Deah HS) missed the extra point with 1:16 left in the half, leaving the teams tied at 13-13. The Boxers drove to the WU 31, but Beekman missed a 48-yard field goal attempt with 0:06 on the clock.
Pacific controlled the second half. The Boxers gained 312 yards during the final two quarters, while holding Willamette to 72 yards.
Boyd broke the tie with a 18-yard touchdown run at the 11:41 mark of the third quarter. Ty Hargis added a 16-yard scoring run with 6:46 remaining in the quarter, and Boyd tacked on a 26-yard rush for a touchdown with 1:50 on the clock. Beekman made all three extra points, and Pacific entered the final quarter with a 34-13 lead.
The Boxers completed the scoring with a 7-play, 88-yard drive that led to a 4-yard touchdown catch by Preston Kime from Greenough with 7:14 left. Beekman kicked the PAT.
For the game, Pacific gained 555 yards of total offense, nearly equally split between 282 passing yards and 273 rushing yards. Willamette finished with 238 yards, with 142 rushing yards on 28 carries (5.1 avg.). Thurman rushed for 79 yards on 10 carries.
Castaneda was 13 of 23 passing for 96 yards with no interceptions. Israel hauled in four passes for 55 yards. Kevin Martz grabbed three passes for 18 yards.
Boyd's 184 yards led Pacific's offense. Kash Taylor carried the ball 10 times for 53 yards. Greenough completed 20 of 24 passes for 276 yards and three touchdowns without an interception. Williams gathered in 10 passes for 117 yards. Hettinger had four catches for 52 yards.
Alec Stevenson (So., ILB, Malibu, CA/Calabasas HS) of Willamette topped all players on both teams with a career-high 17 total tackles, including 2.5 tackles for loss. It was his fourth game with 14 or more tackles this season. Travis Rice (Jr., DL, Eureka, CA/St. Bernard's Academy) added nine tackles, including a quarterback sack. Kyle Martz blocked two punts and recovered a fumble to go along with seven tackles.
The Bearcats will play their final game of the season on Saturday, Nov. 11 at Whitworth University in Spokane, Washington. Game time is set for 12:30 p.m. (PST).