CLAREMONT, Calif. – Despite a large contingent of Pacific fans and a near-record setting touchdown reception by Jordan Fukumoto (So., Mililani, Hawaii), the Boxers found themselves outmatched by Claremont-Mudd-Scripps as the Stags rolled to a 28-9 victory in football action at Zinda Field.
Fukumoto found himself on the receiving end of an 87-yard touchdown bomb from T.C. Campbell (So., Kaimuki, Hawaii), a strike that ranks as the second longest in school history. It was the only touchdown the Boxers (0-3) scored on the evening as they were limited to 226 yards of offense and went 0 for 13 on third and fourth-down conversions.
Campbell completed 14 of 26 passes for 191 yards and the score and was intercepted once at the end of the game. Fukumoto posted a tremendous evening, recording a season high 132 yards receiving on four catches. Davis Jacobs (So., Tigard, Ore.) led a limited Pacific rushing attack, netting 23 yards on 10 carries. Punter Aaron Koford (So., Wilsonville, Ore.) was kept quite busy, punting seven times for an average of 33 yards per punt.
Quarterback Patrick Rooney was a one-man scoring machine for the Stags (1-1), completing 5 of 13 passes for 83 yards while also rushing 22 times for 118 yards and three touchdowns. Claremont gained 257 of their 340 yards of total offense on the ground. The Stags dominated time of possession, holding onto the ball for 35 minutes, 29 seconds, and were 7 of 16 on third down conversions.
Claremont's defense came up with the first big play of the game, blocking Koford's punt at the end of Pacific's first possession to take control on the Pacific 1-yard line. Rooney needed just one play to score the touchdown and put the Stags up 7-0 just five minutes into the contest.
The Pacific defense got a break of their own early in the second quarter when Bryan Mills (So., Imbler, Ore.) forced Nate Jiwanlal to fumble at the goal line. The Boxers earned the touchback, but could not convert the turnover into a score. Moses Villareal-Gomez (Fr., Stockton, Calif.) put Pacific on the board on their next series, kicking a 20-yard field goal with 4:29 left in the half to make the score 7-3.
The Stags moved quickly to put one more touchdown on the board in the second, going 62 yards over the next 3 minutes, 21 seconds. Rooney again took it to the end zone himself, scoring on an 18-yard run that allowed the Stags a 14-3 halftime lead.
Both teams traded possessions to open the third quarter before Campbell found Fukumoto for the 87-yard touchdown bomb to bring the Boxers within 14-9 at the 10:32 mark. The passing play ranks as second longest in Pacific history behind a 95-yard effort by Ralph Nickerson to Jim Wills against Eastern Oregon during the 1973 season.
Claremont answered right back on their next drive, running the ball on nine of the 10 plays. Once again it was Rooney doing the scoring honors, rushing in from 17 yards out to give the home team a 21-9 lead with 4:28 left in the third.
Pacific's defense once again gave their offense a chance to get back into the game early in the fourth when Sean Bangs (So., Portland, Ore.) recovered a Rooney fumble, but the drive stalled out before the Boxers could move the ball into Claremont territory. Pacific forced a total of three fumbles on the night, but could only convert three points off the turnovers. The Stags sealed the game late when Corbin Tognoni intercepted Campbell and ran back 53 yards for the game's final score with 1:03 to go.
Mills led Pacific defensively with nine tackles to go along with one tackle for loss and the forced fumble. Shane Feuerbach (So., Rocklin, Calif.) finished with eight tackles. Max Winsberg finished with six tackles to lead the Stags.
Pacific has a bye next weekend and will return to the field on Sat., Oct. 1, when they host Lewis & Clark in both team's Northwest Conference season opener. Claremont will also enjoy a bye next week before opening SCIAC play on Oct. 1 at La Verne.
BOXER BYTES: Pacific Board of Trustees member and KISS lead guitarist Tommy Thayer was in attendance at the game. Thayer and his wife, Amber, reside in the Los Angeles area…The game was Pacific's first ever in southern California and their first game south of the Bay Area since Nov 1, 1948, when Pacific played at Cal Poly.