Southern Oregon Slips Past Bearcats, 34-27

By Robert McKinney, Athletics Communications Director, (503) 370-6110

SALEM, ORE. -- Southern Oregon University quarterback Bryan Lee-Lauduski completed 22 of 31 passes for 235 yards and three touchdowns, and Shane Van Zant scored on a 2-yard run with 10:53 remaining in the game, as the visiting Raiders edged past Willamette University, 34-27, on Saturday, Sept. 22 at McCulloch Stadium. The non-conference win improved Southern Oregon of the NAIA to 2-2 on the season. The Bearcats, from NCAA Division III, fell to 1-3.

Willamette took a 27-26 lead on a 9-yard touchdown run by Ryan Whitcomb (So., QB, Oak View, CA/College of the Canyons) on the first play of the fourth quarter, but SOU responded with a 10-play, 52-yard drive that culminated in the touchdown by Van Zant. WU had two more possessions and kept the ball for 10 plays on the second of the two drives.

The Bearcats started their last drive at the Willamette 16-yard line and gained two first downs to move the ball to the WU 35. A false start penalty cost the 'Cats five yards, then quarterback Grant Leslie (Jr., Bainbridge Island, WA/Bainbridge HS) gained seven yards. The next two plays resulted in incomplete passes setting up 4th-and-8.

Willamette's fourth-down play also ended with an incomplete pass, but there was some controversy. The Bearcats felt that James Yamashita (Jr., WR, Walnut Creek, CA/Diablo Valley College) was interfered with on the play and that one or more other receivers were held. The play stood as called and Southern Oregon was able to run out the final 1:30 on the clock.

One of the highlights for Willamette during the game was a 21-yard return for a touchdown by Marcus Ford (Jr., DE, Marina, CA/Monterey JC) on a fumble recovery. Ford's touchdown with 3:57 left in the first half pulled WU within 14-7, after SOU scored the first two TDs.

After Tim Greenidge scored for the Raiders on a 2-yard pass reception from Lee-Lauduski with 28 seconds remaining in the half, the Bearcats received another special play. Yamashita grabbed the ensuing kickoff and raced 89 yards to the end zone. Matt Bicocca (Sr., PK, San Andreas, CA/Calaveras HS) kicked the extra point, as WU cut the lead to 20-14 at halftime.

Willamette took a 21-20 lead after C.J. Washington (Sr., RB, Spokane, WA/Shadle Park HS) crossed the goal line on a 27-yard running play at the 11:41 mark of the third quarter. Lauduski moved SOU back in front 26-21 on a 3-yard pass to Kevin Holtzman with 3:10 remaining in the quarter. WU regained the lead on Whitcomb's touchdown run to start the fourth quarter.

Willamette's leading rusher was Washington, who finished with 109 yards on 16 carries, an average of 6.8 yards per attempt. None of his carries were stopped in the backfield. Whitcomb added 57 yards on 10 carries and Cody Anthony (Jr., RB, Vale, OR/Vale HS) gained 36 yards on five carries.

Leslie completed 5 of 15 passes for 34 yards and was intercepted once. Whitcomb went 2 for 2 through the air for 24 yards. Tight end Tony Davis (Sr., Boise, ID/Mountain View HS) caught three passes for 31 yards and Drew Shepherd (So., WR, Park City, UT/Park City HS) recorded two receptions for 34 yards. Punter Clinton Moran (Sr., Mission Viejo, CA/Capistrano Valley HS) averaged 42.2 yards on five punts.

For SOU, Lee-Lauduski's 22 completions went to nine different players. Greenidge hauled in four passes for 62 yards and one touchdown, while Holtzman caught four passes for 46 yards and two touchdowns.

The Bearcats limited the Raiders to 154 rushing yards on 40 carries. Marlon Rosales topped the SOU rushing chart with 66 yards and a touchdown on 21 carries.

Phil Sweet (Sr., ILB, Albany, OR/West Albany HS) recorded 12 total tackles (7 solo, 5 assists) to lead WU's defense. Taylor Hermes (Sr., ILB, Keizer, OR/Southern Oregon University) provided 11 tackles and Tyler Gill (Sr., CB/RV, Fresno, CA/Herbert Hoover HS). The Raiders received 10 total tackles from Austin Stack.

Willamette will complete its three-game homestand on Saturday, Sept. 29, when the Bearcats host Linfield College in the Northwest Conference opener for both squads. Game time at McCulloch Stadium is set for 3 p.m. (PDT).

Southern Oregon University 34, Willamette University 27 - Box Score