SALEM, OR The Willamette University football team is still in search of its first win of the year after losing 31-13 to Azusa Pacific last Saturday. Willamette, 0-3 on the season, will host Menlo College this Saturday in what will be the Bearcats homecoming game.
Menlo, from Atherton, CA also enter this weekends contest with an 0-3 record. Last season when Willamette and Menlo faced off at Menlos field, the Bearcats were able to escape with a 28-14 win. The two teams also played in 2002, with Willamette winning 52-30 here in Salem.
The Bearcats slow start could be contributed in part to who they have played so far this season. They opened the season by playing up a division, losing 35-0 to NCAA Division II Western Oregon before losing 45-24 to the second ranked team at the DIII level, Mary Hardin-Baylor. And this past weekends game was played at Azusa Pacific, who was ranked No. 20 in last weeks NAIA poll.
Menlo, meanwhile, has lost 40-30 to McMurry, 61-14 to Humboldt State (a DII school), and 27-19 to Whittier.
The Oaks, who have a reputation of being a dangerous offensive team, are led offensively by a senior and a trio of sophomores. Senior Eddie Eyo (WR), and sophomores Dustin Guglielmelli (QB), Eddie Connor (RB), and Kevin Lyle (WR) are all threats for Menlo. Junior quarterback Joe Micco has also seen time under center in all three games for the Oaks, and could see action again this Saturday.
Connor is the leading rusher for Menlo (39 attempts for 105 yards and 3 TDs), and also is second on the team in receptions with 13. Eyo is the leading pass catcher for the Oaks with 17, while Lyle is averaging over 21 yards per reception. Lyle has hauled in two touchdown passes, and Eyo has one.
Guglielmelli is completing 57.6 percent of his passes, and has thrown for 366 yards, three touchdowns, and two interceptions.
For Willamette, running back Quentin Brock (SR, Fresno, Calif.) has continued to shine in his final season for the Bearcats. Last week against Azusa Pacific, Brock rushed for 117 yards and two touchdowns. On the season he is averaging 99.3 yards per game rushing, and is averaging 5.0 yards per carry.
Senior quarterback Cameron Walton (Arroyo Grande, Calif.) had his best outing of the season last week, as he completed 9 of his 18 passes for 120 yards. On Tuesday, Walton was named honorable mention Northwest Conference Offensive Player-of-the-Week.
Punter Clint Moran (SO, Mission Viejo, Calif.) also played well at Azusa, and was named the NWC Special Teams Player-of-the-Week for his play. Moran punted six times last Saturday for an average of 35.2 yards per punt. Two of his punts pinned Azusa inside their own 20 yard line.
Defensively for the Bearcats, safety Tim Alton (JR, Oregon City, Ore.), and linebackers Megdy Khoury (SR, Reno, Nev.) and Phil Sweet (SO, Albany, Ore.) are tied for the team lead in tackles with 27. Alton earned honorable mention NWC Defensive Player-of-the-Week honors after recording nine tackles against Azusa Pacific.
Kickoff for Saturdays game is set for 1:30 pmMenlo is in the second year of a two year process of joining the Northwest Conference for football only. The Oaks will officially be a member starting next season. For the past 17 years, Menlo has been Northern Californias only independent football programThe Oaks filmed a segment on Wednesday with NFL great Jerry Rice that will air Sept. 25 on ESPNs Sunday NFL Countdown. Rice, who recently retired after a 20-year career, plays himself in the segment. The segment is a spoof on Rices inability to give up the game, and shows him joining a flag football team so that he can keep playing football. The Oaks play the part of the flag football teamRice lived across the street from the Menlo College campus when he was a member of the San Francisco 49ersMenlo only features one player from the state of Oregon, junior quarterback Adam Hazel from Roseburg.