By Robert McKinney, Assistant Athletics Director, Communications
SALEM, Ore. -- The Willamette University defense provided strong play throughout the game, but George Fox University used a few key offensive plays to defeat the Bearcats, 28-6, on Saturday, Oct. 13 at McCulloch Stadium. George Fox held only a 14-6 lead before the Bruins scored two touchdowns in the final eight minutes of the fourth quarter.
Alec Stevenson (Jr., LB, Malibu, CA/Calabasas HS) led the Willamette defensive unit with 10 total tackles -- all unassisted. Jackson Lewis (Sr., LB, Yakima, WA/A.C. Davis HS) added nine total tackles with eight solo stops. The Bearcats achieved 11.0 tackles for loss, including two quarter back sacks. Teddy Rose (Jr., DL, Atascadero, CA/Atascadero HS) who earned six tackles overall, had 1.5 sacks and 3.0 tackles for loss.
"I thought our defense played well," Willamette Head Coach Glen Fowles said. "We forced seven punts, and other than a couple of big plays, we kept their offense in check."
The Bruins matched Willamette with their own effective defense. Daniel Campos topped GFU with nine total tackles -- all solo stops. Austin Shadbolt recorded seven total tackles, including six unassisted tackles. Shadbolt led the Bruins with 2.5 tackles for losses, helping George Fox finish with 11.0 tackles behind the line of scrimmage. GFU earned six quarterback sacks, as six players each contributed one sack.
Most of GFU's key plays gained 10 to 20 yards to keep drives alive. The final touchdown of the game was the only big offensive play for either team, as Kenny May scored for the Bruins with 5:39 left on a 72-yard pass from Jaden Sheffey.
Andrew Kalahar missed a 34-yard field goal at the end of the first possession for George Fox, but the Bruins scored on their second drive. GFU started at the WU 44-yard line following a short. On the second play Sheffey completed a 24-yard pass to Jame Nguyen. Two plays later, Anthony Garcia rushed 19 yards to the end zone. Kalahar kicked the extra point to give the Bruins a 7-0 lead with 5:40 left in the first quarter.
No one scored during the remainder of the first half. Willamette moved the ball as far as the GFU 47-yard line on the final play of the first quarter and again with just over six minutes left in the half, but neither team got closer to the opposing end zone before the break. At halftime, George Fox held an 8-3 lead in first downs.
The Bruins took the opening kickoff in the third quarter and drove 85 yards on 17 plays to take a 14-0 lead. A key play of the drive was on 3rd-and-14 at the WU 49, when Sheffey eluded several tacklers on a 17-yard draw play. The drive ended six plays later when Damian Cook scored on 3rd-and-1 from the 3-yard line with 6:54 left in the quarter.
Willamette countered with an 18-play, 68-yard drive that cut the margin to 14-6 with 13:57 left in the game. Willamette completed three third downs and one fourth down during the drive. On 3rd-and-5 at the GFU 41, Miles Bryant (So., QB, Pasadena, CA/Bishop Alemany HS) ran for seven yards. On 4th-and-5 at the GFU 29, Bryant threw a 5-yard pass to Devin Stanley (Sr., TE, Escondido, CA/San Pasqual HS). On 3rd-and-9 at the Bruins' 23, Bryant hit Caine Farmer (Jr., RB, Kit Carson, CO/Kit Carson School) on a 12-yard pass.
Several plays later on 3rd-and-1 at the 2-yard line, Bryant dashed for one yard and a first down. Bryant carried the ball again on the next play and scored on a 1-yard run. A bad snap on the extra point attempt led to a missed PAT.
Bryant was intercepted two Willamette possessions later on 3rd-and-7 at the Bearcats' 15-yard line. His throw was picked off by Caleb Harrel, who returned the ball to the WU 7. On the second play, Jack Taylor scored for GFU on a 3-yard run with 8:00 on the clock. Kalahar's conversion kick gave the Bruins a 21-6 lead.
Willamette punted four plays later, and the Bruins took over at their own 28-yard line. Sheffey threw a long pass to Kenny May for a 72-yard touchdown at the 5:39 mark on the first play following the punt.
George Fox gained 343 total yards, while the Bearcats finished with 149 yards. The Bruins rushed for 183 yards on 46 carries, and passed for 160 yards. Willamette gained 93 yards through the air and rushed for 56 yards on 35 carries.
For GFU, Garcia ran 17 times for 81 yards, while Sheffey carried the ball 14 times for 62 yards. May caught six passes for 112 yards. For the Bearcats, Bryand was 15 of 24 passing for 71 yards. Matt Stone (Sr., RB, Brainbrige Island, WA/Bainbridge HS/Eastern Oregon Univ.) rushed 12 times for 40 yards. Stanley caught seven passes for 25 yards, while Michael Hamp (Fr., WR, Rocklin, CA/Whitney HS) hauled in four passes for 22 yards.
Willamette will travel to Puyallup, Washington, to take on Pacific Lutheran University on Saturday, Oct. 20. Game time is slated for 12:30 p.m. (PDT).
Big Moment of the Game for Willamette
Teddy Rose recorded a quarterback sack for a 7-yard
loss to create 3rd-and-20 for George Fox with less
than six minutes left in the second quarter. The sack
by Rose followed a 3-yard tackle for loss by Dominic
Torres (Fr., DL, North Salt Lake, UT/Woods Cross HS).
George Fox passed for seven yards on third down, but
still had to punt on 4th-and-13.