Big Plays Start Bearcats on Way to 42-24 Win over Southern Oregon
SALEM, ORE. -- Willamette University scored three touchdowns covering 49 yards or more in the first half, including runs of 50 yards and 77 yards by Terrell Malley (So., TB), starting the Bearcats on their way to a 42-24 victory over Southern Oregon University on Saturday, Sept. 18 at McCulloch Stadium.
Box Score: WU 42, SOU 24 F
Willamette, ranked #13 in NCAA Division III, improved to 2-1. SOU, ranked #24 in the NAIA, fell to 2-1.
Malley ended the game with eight carries for 170 yards and his two first-half scores for the Bearcats. Brian Widing (So., QB) completed 6 of 8 passes for 127 yards. He threw a 49-yard touchdown pass to Matt Williams (So., FL) midway through the first quarter.
The Bearcats led 21-10 at the intermission and led by at least 11 points throughout the second half. Willamette finished with 432 total yards on just 56 offensive plays, including 305 rushing yards on 46 carries (6.6 avg.). Southern Oregon gained 415 yards on 80 offensive plays.
Southern Oregon drove 73 yards on 10 plays to open the game and take a 7-0 lead. The key play occurred on 3rd-and-8 at the SOU 44, when quarterback Mike McDonald completed a 43-yard pass to Vance Beach. The play brought the Raiders to the WU 13-yard line. Isiah Watson caught a 9-yard touchdown pass three plays later. Tyler Crowley kicked the extra point.
The Bearcats needed just four plays to tie the game, despite starting at their own 23. On the second play, Widing connected with Scott Schoettgen (Sr., WR) for an 18-yard pass completion. Two plays later, SOU missed a coverage assignment, and Widing hit a very wide open Williams for a 49-yard score. Kyle Derby converted the PAT.
WU's next possession was even shorter. On the third play, Malley broke through the middle and cut outside to start a 50-yard touchdown run with 3:10 left in the opening quarter. Willamette remained in front 14-7 when the game moved into the second quarter.
Malley's second touchdown covered 77 yards and completed a three-play, 92-yard drive with 9:51 left in the first half. For most of the run, Malley carried the ball down the sideline, but he managed to narrowly avoid two tacklers near the SOU 20-yard line. He cut toward the middle of the field, and then heading into the end zone.
The Raiders drove to the WU 25-yard line on the ensuing possession, but they were unable to score. Crowley missed a 42-yard field goal attempt.
On the next play, Willamette lost a fumble. Again the defense held and forced SOU to punt. The Bearcats had the ball for just one play, as James Wheeler caused a fumble by Schoettgen at the end of a 34-yard pass play. Sam Latham recovered the ball for Southern Oregon.
This time, SOU drove from its own 44 to the WU 9-yard line before settling for a 24-yard field goal by Crowley. The kick cut Willamette's lead to 21-10.
After forcing Willamette to punt, the Raiders took over at the SOU 48 with eight seconds left. A 13-yard pass to Beach was followed by an incomplete pass. On the final play of the half, McDonald threw the ball deep into a group of players near the goal line.
Watson caught the ball at the WU 2, but the half expired on the play. SOU also was flagged for an illegal formation on the play, but the Bearcats declined the penalty to end the half.
Each team turned the ball over on its first two possessions of the second half. The teams survived the first three turnovers, but the fourth, a fumble by SOU running back Brandon Baldwin was returned for a touchdown. Dominic David (So., S, Keizer, OR/South Salem HS/Portland State Univ.) forced the fumble. Taylor grabbed the ball and dashed 19 yards for the score.
Willamette's Cody Pastorino (So., S) and Jordan Weil (So., ILB) each intercepted a pass later in the third quarter. Weil's pick-off led to a WU touchdown 11 plays, 57 yards and 6:41 later, when Jose Green (Sr., TB, Downey, CA/Warren HS) scored on a 20-yard run with 10:22 left.
Trailing 35-10, SOU responded with a nine-play drive that used just 2:50 off the clock. McDonald finished the drive by hitting Danny Keenan with a 5-yard touchdown pass. After forcing WU to punt, the Raiders added another nine-play drive. Keenan hauled in a 9-yard scoring strike from McDonald to end the drive and pull SOU within 35-24.
WU completed the scoring on its next possession following an onside kick. On the eighth play of the drive, Jake Turner (So., FL) scored on a 3-yard run with 2:33 left.
Malley's 170 yards set a career high and represented his first 100-yard game for the Bearcats. WU's rushing attack also included 41 yards on nine carries by Jamiere Abney (So., TB) and 26 yards on five carries by fullback Aaron Cavette (Sr., Port Townsend, WA/Port Townsend HS). Overall, 10 Bearcats contributed to the running game.
For Southern Oregon, McDonald completed 25 of 42 passes for 349 yards and two touchdowns, but also threw three interceptions and was sacked four times. Back-up quarterback Paul Sweeney was 1 of 4 for 15 yards. Vance Beach led SOU in receiving with eight catches for 187 yards. The Raiders rushed for just 51 yards on 33 carries.
There were a total of nine turnovers in the wet and rainy conditions. Southern Oregon lost the ball five times, while Willamette threw one interception and lost three fumbles.
Ralph Pineda (Sr., ILB) led Willamette's defense with 10 total tackles. Walter Robinson II (Sr., DE) added nine tackles, including two tackles for losses and a sack.
In addition to scoring for the Bearcats on a fumble return, Taylor also intercepted a pass and registered eight tackles. Weil and Matt Parr (So., ILB) also earned eight tackles apiece.
J.T. Gilmore was SOU's top tackler with 12 stops (7 solo, 5 assists), including three tackles for losses. Kalli Robinson provided the Raiders with eight tackles.
The Bearcats have an open date next weekend. Willamette will open Northwest Conference play against Linfield College on Saturday, Oct. 2. Game time in McMinnville, Ore., is set for 1:30 p.m.