Bearcat Defenders Intercept Three Passes and Recover a Fumble
SALEM, ORE. -- Senior running back Dylan Jones (Santa Maria, CA/Ernest Righetti HS) rushed for 139 yards and three touchdowns, while freshman quarterback Ryan Knowlton (Puyallup, WA/Emerald Ridge HS) threw for 167 yards and three scores, as Willamette University rolled past Lewis & Clark College, 45-7, on Saturday, Oct. 18 at McCulloch Stadium.
Junior wide receiver Ryan Foote (Sherwood, OR/Valley Catholic HS/Allan Hancock JC) added 93 yards on four receptions, including touchdowns of 60 and 23 yards, as the Bearcats improved to 4-1 overall, 2-1 in the Northwest Conference. L&C remained winless at 0-6 overall and 0-4 in the NWC.
Jones gained his 139 yards on 19 attempts, while playing the first half and the first five minutes of the third quarter. He has rushed for more than 100 yards in all five games this season on his way to a total of 915 rushing yards this year.
Knowlton completed 14 of 19 passes in his first start in place of injured quarterback Trent Spallas (So., QB, Elk Grove, CA/Franklin HS). Knowlton played until the middle of the third quarter.
L&C quarterback Cody Rochon completed 23 of 41 passes for 214 yards, but threw three interceptions.
The Pioneers scored first with 7:16 left in the opening quarter at the end of a 13-play, 89-yard drive. Jake Costantino recorded the touchdown on a 4-yard run. Colin Brown converted the extra point to give Lewis & Clark a 7-0 lead.
Willamette had a 22-yard run by Jones erased by a penalty on its first drive and an 80-yard touchdown run by Jones nullified by a penalty on its second drive. The Bearcats executed the offensive to perfection on the third drive, which covered 74 yards in six plays.
Jones scampered for 40 yards on the third play, and Knowlton hit Beau Smith (Sr., WR, Roseville, CA/Roseville HS) on a 13-yard pass two plays later from the L&C 20. Jones followed with a 7-yard touchdown run. The extra point by Conner Mertens (Fr., PK/P, Kennewick, WA/Southridge HS) tied the game, 7-7, with 52 seconds left in the quarter.
L&C used a 22-yard pass to Nico Ohland and a 5-yard pass to Dennis Kamakana to reach the Pioneers' 47-yard line before the quarter ended. On 3rd-and-4 at the L&C 48, Rochon was picked off by Jack Nelson (Sr., ILB, Portland, OR/Jesuit HS) early in the second quarter.
Nelson returned the interception 17 yards to the L&C 37. The Pioneeers stopped Willamette on downs four plays later.
Even so, the Bearcats took control of the game with 28 points in the second period. Jones scored from five yards out with 8:53 remaining in the half to put WU in front, 14-7. After forcing L&C to punt, Willamette took over at its own 36-yard line. On the third play, Foote caught a 60-yard touchdown pass from Knowlton down the left sideline at the 7:10 mark.
WU's next possession began at the L&C 15 after a 35-yard punt was returned 34 yards by Bryan Toles (So., DB, Clovis, CA/Clovis North HS). Knowlton scored on a 7-yard run three plays later with 4:59 on the clock.
A bit later in the second quarter, freshman defensive back Brandon Wadsworth (Fr., DB, Oak View, CA/Nordhoff HS) intercepted a long pass by Lewis & Clark at the WU 32 and returned it 34 yards to the L&C 34. The Bearcats took over with 1:32 left in the half.
Willamette ran five plays to reach the end zone. Smith scored the touchdown with 33 seconds remaining on a 10-yard pass from Knowlton. The WU quarterback hit Derek Traeger (Sr., WR, Mount Angel, OR/John F. Kennedy HS) for 11 yards and Foote for seven yards during the drive, which also included a 6-yard run by Foote. WU led 35-7 at halftime.
The interceptions by Nelson and Wadsworth was two of four turnovers forced by the Bearcats. WU earned its third takeaway on the kickoff to start the second half.
Curtis Shirey of L&C caught the kick at the 10-yard line and returned it to the L&C 25 before Adam Morton (So., WR, Hillsboro, OR/Hillsboro HS) forced a fumble. Ikaika Hall (Fr., CB, San Francisco, CA/St. Ignatius College Prep) recovered the ball for Willamette at the 26-yard line.
Jones carried two times for a total of 11 yards to gain a first down, but the Pioneers forced a field goal four plays later. Mertens connected on the 27-yard attempt for a 38-7 lead.
After the kickoff, WU limited L&C to just three plays before punting. The Bearcats drove 57 yards on four plays, starting with runs by Jones covering 11 and 20 yards. Foote scored from 23 yards out on a pass from Knowlton with 10:16 remaining in the third quarter. Willamette retained the 45-7 advantage for the remainder of the game.
The Bearcats gained their third interception when Nick Brickous (Fr., DB, Mesa, AZ/Perry HS) grabbed a pass by Rochon at the WU 12 and returned it 17 yards with 13:45 to go in the game. Rochon's pass was on 3rd-and-9 at the end of a 13-play, 51-yard drive that moved the Pioneers to the Willamette 18.
For the game, Willamette gained 395 total yards, with 216 yards on the ground and 179 yards through the air. L&C finished with 312 yards, including 252 passing yards. The Bearcats limited the Pioneers to 60 rushing yards on 37 carries, an average of just 1.6 yards per carry.
Nelson led the Bearcats' by earning nine tackles, with two tackles for loss, including one sack. Wadsworth recorded seven tackles, including six solo stops and one tackle for loss. Mark Mulligan (So., DL, San Francisco, CA/Archbishop Riordan HS) also earned seven tackles and had two tackles for loss.
Deion Mock of Lewis & Clark registered a game-high 13 total tackles. Ten of his tackles were unassisted. Andrew Traver recorded 12 tackles for the Pioneers, while Stein Retzlaff earned 11 tackles.
Willamette will play at Pacific Lutheran University on Saturday, Oct. 25. Kickoff at Sparks Stadium in Puyallup, Wash., is set for 1 p.m. (PDT).