SALEM, OR Quentin Brock scored three touchdowns and the Willamette defense came up with a goal-line stand late in the 4th quarter as the Willamette University football team improved its record to 4-3 with a 34-27 win over Pacific Lutheran University in a Northwest Conference game Saturday night at McCulloch Stadium.
When Brock scored on a 21-yard run for his third TD with just under two minutes to play in the 3rd quarter, the Bearcats had a 34-14 lead and the game appeared over. But PLU drove 67 yards in four plays to pull within 14 at 34-20. Chris Mulitalo blocked the PLU PAT, one of several huge defensive plays for the Bearcats down the stretch.
After the Bearcat offense was stopped on four plays, PLU drove for another touchdown to pull within 34-27. Again the Bearcat offense failed to get a first down and PLU began a drive to tie the game on their own 32 with 8:36 to play.
The Lutes drove all the way to the Bearcat 7 yard line before Devin ORourke and Tyler Gill (pictured above) stopped FB Craig Stahl on a fourth down and one to give the Bearcats the ball back.
This time the Willamette offense held onto the ball for the remainder of the game and the Bearcats squeaked out their fourth straight win to improve their record to 4-3 overall, 2-0 NWC. PLU falls to 2-5 overall, 0-3 in the NWC.
Gill also had two interceptions for the Bearcats.
ORourke and Ryan Bettancourt also combined late in the second quarter for a safety when they tackled Stahl in the end zone to put the Bearcats up 16-14.
Matt Bicocca kicked a 26-yard field goal on the ensuing drive and the Bearcats took a 19-14 lead into halftime.
In the third quarter, Gill got the second of his two interceptions on PLUs opening drive at the Willamette 35. After Ryan Hernandez rushed for 14 yards and Cameron Walton found Michael Plank for a 21-yard gain, Brock gained another 18 to the PLU 9 yard line. Kevin Dean carried it to the one-yard line and Walton barreled in to put the Bearcats ahead 27-14 early in the second half.
The Bearcats also scored on their opening drive of the game, taking the kick-off 61 yards in 12 plays before Brock got his first TD with a one-yard plunge.
PLU came right back on its first possession when WR Craig Chiado hauled in a Chris Maine 8-yard TD pass with one hand to tie the game at 7-7.
The Bearcats took the lead after Gills first interception gave them the ball at the PLU 27. Brock carried 23 yards to the PLU four, then finished up with a three-yard TD run two plays later.
For the game, Brock carried 24 times for 130 yards. Walton
rushed for 43 yards in 14 carries and completed 8-12 passes for 94
yards. Plank caught six passes for 68 yards.
The Bearcats rolled up 263 yards rushing.
PLU was led by Chiados ten receptions for 151 yards and one TD. Maine was 20-31 for 258 yards and two interceptions. Stahl carried 14 times for 58 yards.
Defensively, ORourkes 19 tackles led the Bearcats. Medgy Khoury added 12 tackles. Alton added seven tackles to go along with his two interceptions.
Tyler Breum led PLU with 12 tackles while Brent Frank added ten.
Willamette travels to Whitworth next week for another key NWC match-up. They return home in two weeks to play Linfield in the final regular season game.