James Scores on 70-yard Catch, but Willamette Falls to Pacific, 21-12

Jeremiah James (Jr./So., WR, Salem, OR/South Salem HS/Chemeketa CC)
Jeremiah James (Jr./So., WR, Salem, OR/South Salem HS/Chemeketa CC)

By Robert McKinney, Assistant Athletics Director, Communications

SALEM, Ore. -- In a game that featured three long scoring plays, Pacific University scored touchdowns on a 73-yard run by Brandon Boyd and a 64-yard pass to Kobe Williams, as the Boxers defeated Willamette University, 21-12, in a Northwest Conference game on Saturday, Oct. 22. The third big play went to Jeremiah James (Jr./So., WR, Salem, OR/South Salem HS/Chemeketa CC) of the Bearcats, who scored on a 70-yard touchdown catch.

With the win at McCulloch Stadium, Pacific improved to 3-4 on the season, 2-2 in the Northwest Conference. Willamette fell to 2-5 overall, 1-3 in the NWC.

James caught seven passes for 170 yards. In addition to his 70-yard score that pulled Willamette within 21-12 late in the game, he also hauled in a 59-yard pass that led to the Bearcats' first touchdown.

Boyd rushed 12 times on his way to 133 yards and two touchdowns for Pacific. His 73-yard run late in the first quarter gave the Boxers a 7-0 lead.

Willamette had a chance to move in front early in the game after Paimon Jaberi (Sr., ILB, Bainbridge Island, WA/Bainbridge HS) recovered a fumble at the Pacific 35 on the third play from scrimmage. WU earned a first down at the 24-yard line, and gained another first down at the 15-yard line after Pacific was called for pass interference on 3rd-and-14.

Pacific got the ball back on the next play, when Kolby Nikolaisen forced a fumble by Taylor Wyman (Sr., RB, Bellevue, WA/Issaquah HS). Nikolaisen also recovered the fumble.

 Defensive play dominated the first quarter with the exception of Boyd's touchdown run. Willamette finished the period with 43 yards on 17 plays, while Pacific had 130 yards on 16 plays, but only 57 yards without Boyd's run.

The touchdown by Boyd was on the first play after Pacific took over at its own 27-yard line following a fair catch on a punt. Boyd ran up the middle and was nearly tackled when two Willamette players met him near the line of scrimmage. Boyd escaped and outraced the Bearcats to the end zone with 10 seconds left in the quarter. Alex Beekman kicked the extra point.

Paimon Jaberi (Sr., ILB, Bainbridge Island, WA/Bainbridge HS) and Nikk Ryan (Jr., DE, Oakdale, CA/Oakdale HS), left, and Nikk Ryan (Jr., DE, Oakdale, CA/Oakdale HS), right Willamette had the best opportunity to score in the second quarter, as the Bearcats put together a 9-play drive after blocking a punt.

Mark Mulligan (Jr., DE, San Francisco, CA/Archbishop Riordan HS) recorded the block on a kick by Ryan Carhart on 4th-and-9 at the WU 37. The Bearcats took over at the Willamette 41 and reached the Pacific 12, before a 30-yard field goal attempt by Nathan Dunford (So., LB/PK, San Diego, CA/Mt. Carmel HS) went wide left. Pacific maintained a 7-0 lead at halftime.

Pacific held a 223 to 163 edge in total offense at the break. Willamette gained 274 yards in the final two quarters, while Pacific amassed 174 yards.

On Willamette's second drive of the third quater, the Bearcats drove to the Boxers' 39-yard line, but Tui Tuitele sacked Ryan Knowlton (Jr., QB, Puyallup, WA/Emerald Ridge HS) on 3rd-and-4, forcing the Bearcats to punt.

After the punt, the Boxers moved 84 yards on six plays for the game's second touchdown, with Williams scoring on a 64-yard pass from Campbell Summerfield. Beekman kicked the extra point with 5:48 on the clock to give Pacific a 14-0 advantage.

The Bearcats responded with an 8-play, 82-yard drive. The key play was a 59-yard pass from Mathew Castaneda (Fr., QB, Salinas, CA/Salinas HS) to James on 3rd-and-6 at the WU 38 that brought the ball to the Pacific 3-yard line. Three plays later, Jimmy Sharpe (Jr., RB, Walnut Creek, CA/Northgate HS) scored on a 1-yard run with 2:10 left in the third quarter. The extra point kick failed, leaving Willamette with a 14-6 deficit.

Early in the fourth quarter, Willamette reached midfield after starting at its own 23. On 4th-and-9, Wyman ran out of punt formation. While being chased by the Boxers, he completed a pass to Erik Hillman (Fr., RB, Calabasas, CA/Calabasas HS) Pacific limited Hillman to a 4-yard gain.

Later in the final quater, Pacific drove 44-yard on five plays to record an insurance score. Boyd scored the touchdown on a 2-yard run with 8:06 remaining, as Pacific extended its lead to 21-6.

 Beekman missed a 28-yard field goal for the Boxers with 2:24 remaining. Willamatte took over at its own 20-yard line.

Knowlton started the drive with a 5-yard pass to Zack Moore (Jr., WR, Atherton, CA/Menlo-Atherton HS) and a 5-yard pass to James, as the Bearcats reached the 30-yard line. On the next play, Knowlton found James on a deep pass over the middle for a 70-yard touchdown. Knowlton's pass failed on the two-point conversion attempt.

Each team earned 17 first downs. The Bearcats gained 437 total yards, including 329 yards through the air. Pacific attained 397 total yards, with 236 yards on the ground.

Knowlton completed 19 of 31 passes for 242 yards and one touchdown. Castaneda was 4 of 6 for 83 yards. James' seven catches and 170 yards led WU's receivers, while Kevin Martz (Jr./So., WR, Salem, OR/South Salem HS/Claremont McKenna College) tacked on 6 catches for 33 yards and Jordan Fickas (Jr., WR, Gilbert, AZ/Campo Verde HS) caught 4 passes for 49 yards.

Wyman rushed for 42 yards on 16 carries to go along with three catches for 56 yards and one pass completion for four yards. He has rushed for 698 yards this season, while gaining 870 all-purpose yards. He has 1,999 all-purpose yards in his career.

Summerfield was 16 of 29 passing for 161 yards and one touchdown. Williams hauled in three passes for 81 yards. Boyd's 133 rushing yards led the Boxers.

Jack Perez (Sr., LB) of Pacific led all defenders with 19 total tackles. He had 14 tackles at halftime. Nikolaisen added 10 tackles and Kaiea Iwasaki registered nine tackles for the Boxers.

Ben Keller (Sr., DL, Honolulu, HI/University Laboratory School) topped Willamette with 10 tackles. Nick Brickous (Sr./Jr., SS, Mesa, AZ/Perry HS/U.S. Military Acad.) recorded nine tackles. Nikk Ryan (Jr., DE, Oakdale, CA/Oakdale HS) provided seven tackles and three quarterback hurries. Mulligan also contributed three quarterback hurries.

Willamette will play at Lewis & Clark College on Saturday, Oct. 29. Game time in Portland, Oregon, is set for 1 p.m. (PDT).