THIS WEEK IN PACIFIC FOOTBALL
PACIFIC AT WILLAMETTE
Game No. 5/Away Game No. 2
Sat., Oct. 8, 1:30 p.m., McCullough Stadium, Salem, Ore.
Radio: 1360 AM KUIK
Live Audio Webcast: www.goboxers.com/webcasts
Live Video Webcast: www.willamette.edu/athletics/bsn/webcast/
Live Stats: www.willamette.edu/athletics/bsn/live_stats/
TOUGHER CHALLENGE AWAITS AS BOXERS HEAD TO SALEM
Mistakes and big plays once again cost the Pacific football team a chance for their first victory, but the pain of the loss to Lewis & Clark was dampened by a head's up special teams play that earned Pacific national recognition. The Boxers regroup as they ready for their second road game of the season, heading an hour south to take on perennial conference power Willamette.
• Pacific gave up five scoring plays of 25 yards or more, neutralizing a day that saw Pacific gain 452 yards of total offense in a 61-35 loss to Lewis & Clark. The Pioneers finished with 524 yards of total offense, 279 of which came in the air.
• Bryan Mills provided the most memorable moment of the day when the safety made a head's up special teams play to run a blocked point after attempt 100 yards back for a rare defensive two-point conversion in the first quarter. The video of that play was named Saturday's "Play of the Day" on ESPN's Sportscenter and has been posted on multiple websites.
• T.C. Campbell had another solid day at quarterback, completing 22 of 36 catches for 280 yards and three touchdowns, all to receiver Jordan Fukumoto. In four games, Campbell has 1,089 yards and is averaging 272.2 yards per game.
• Receiver Kelson Kawai led the Boxers with a total of 115 yards on five catches, which included a game-high 70-yard completion from Campbell.
• Pacific enters the week ranked second in the NWC in passing offense with an average of 294.5 yards per game. The Boxers enter the week with the 20th ranked passing offense in NCAA Division III football.
SCOUTING THE OPPONENT - WILLAMETTE BEARCATS
Location: Salem, Ore.
Colors: Cardinal & Old Gold
Conference: Northwest (NCAA III)
Stadium: McCullough Stadium (2,600, covered, FieldTurf)
President: Stephen E. Thorsett
Athletic Director: David Rigsby
Head Coach: Mark Speckman (Azusa Pac. 1977)
Speckman's Record At WU: 71-50/12 Years
Speckman's Record Overall: 71-50/12 Years
All-Time Series: Willamette Leads 51-25-5
Last Meeting: Willamette won 69-7 in Forest Grove on Oct. 9, 2010
ABOUT THE COACH: Mark Speckman is in his 13th season as Willamette head coach and his 16th as a member of the Bearcats' coaching staff. Speckman's Bearcats finished third in the NWC last year after going 8-2 in 2009 and winning the league title in 2008. He was named the NWC and AFCA Regional Coach of the Year in 2008. Speckman is regarded as an authority of "The Fly" offense, which brings the flanker in motion before the snap with the player becoming either a running back or a receiver. Speckman played his college ball at both Azusa Pacific, where he was a NAIA All-American, and at Menlo College, playing two years for the Oaks when they were a junior college.
THE SERIES: Willamette leads the all-time series 51-25-5. It is Pacific's longest running rivalry, with the first game in the series taking place in 1899. Willamette won the last meeting, 69-7, in Forest Grove on Oct. 9, 2010.
LAST MEETING: WILLAMETTE 69, PACIFIC 7
Willamette's fly offense proved very efficient against Pacific as the Bearcats compiled 579 yards in the runaway victory. Willamette scored six touchdowns in the first half to secure the rout and did most of their damage on the ground, running for 357 yards and six scores. Pacific finished the game with 171 yards of total offense, 111 of those coming on the ground. Davis Jacobs led the charge for Pacific with 45 yards rushing, with Will Marchbanks scoring the Boxers' lone touchdown. Terrell Malley led Willamette, rushing for 78 yards and two touchdowns. Scott Schoettgen finished with 76 yards receiving and two touchdowns. A total of 24 Willamette players were credited with rushing yardage.
• All of Willamette's three losses have come at the hands of Division III powers, and all have been close. The Bearcats fell 8-6 to Wis.-Stevens Point and 30-24 to then No. 8-ranked Hardin Simmons. The Bearcats lost 20-10 last week to then-No. 6 Linfield in a game where the Wildcats kept the Bearcats off the board for the first three quarters.
• Jamiere Abney is Willamette's top rusher with 253 yards and two touchdowns. He ranks fifth in the NWC in rushing yards and is one of 18 players with rushing yardage. Dylan Jones leads the NWC in rushing average, with 108 yards in one game (against Linfield).
• Starting quarterback Brian Widing is more of a traffic director than throwing quarterback, with most of his passes coming in short yardage situations. He has completed 31 of 64 passes for a total of 359 yards, but has also been picked off five times.
• Willamette's usually potent fly offense has been kept quiet by it's high quality opponents. The Bearcats enter week sixth in the NWC in total offense with an average of 320.5 yards per game. their rushing average of 224.2 yards per game, however, ranks second in the conference.
PACIFIC NEWS & NOTES
SPORTSCENTER'S TOP PLAY: The fact that Pacific lost to Lewis & Clark on Saturday may be remembered by few after a head's up special teams play by starting safety Bryan Mills (So., Imbler, Ore.) was given national attention by ESPN. After the Pioneers' opening touchdown with 12:11 left in the first quarter, Devin Lagorio (So., Stockton, Calif.) blocked Simon Moley's extra point attempt. A Lewis & Clark player, thinking that the play was over, tossed the ball towards referees standing at the goal line. Mills, who may have been the only player on the field who knew the play had not been blown dead, picked up the ball and darted down the Pacific sideline, breaking three tackles and eventually going 100 yards for a rare defensive two-point conversion.
The video of the play was named Saturday's Play of the Day by ESPN's SportsCente, receiving mutiple plays on the network's anchor show over the weekend, and appeared locally on KGW Newshcannel 8 and KATU. The play was also selected by D3Football.com as their Play of the Week, marking the second time in as many years that the Division III football site has highlighted the Boxers. Since then, the video clip has received over 60,000 hits (as of Tuesday morning) on Pacific's YouTube site and has shown up on multiple Internet sports blogs.
ANOTHER STRONG PERFORMANCE: An improved performance by the offensive line helped quarterback T.C. Campbell (So., Kaimuki, Hawaii) put together another solid performance against a team that shut out the Boxers in 2010. Campbell completed 22 of 36 passes against Lewis & Clark on Saturday, finishing with 280 yards and passing for three touchdowns, all to Jordan Fukumoto (So., Mililani, Hawaii). The line kept Campbell from being sacked against the Pioneers after he had been sacked 10 times in the Boxers' first three games. Campbell has assumed his place statistically among the best quarterbacks in the NWC. He enters the week ranked second in the league with 272.2 passing yards per game and ranks 38th among all NCAA Division III players with 265.75 yards of total offense per game. Campbell also ranks 34th nationally in passing efficency at 152.32. His efficiency is third in the NWC behind Lewis & Clark's Keith Welch (14th, 170.24)and Whitworth's Brian Peterson (20th, 163.42).
GETTING HIS CATCHES: Kelson Kawai (So., North Kohala, Hawaii) climbed the top of the Pacific receiving ladder for the first time this season in Saturday's game against Lewis & Clark. Kawai finished with a Pacific high 115 yards on five catches. That included a 70-yard reception in the first quarter that set up the Boxers' first touchdown of the game. Kawai also had two kickoff returns for 27 yards, finishing the day with a total of 142 all-purpose yards. One of the Boxers' regular starting receivers, Kawai enters the week ranked 10th in the NWC with an average of 52.5 yards per game and is ninth with an average of 19.1 yards per reception. His biggest impact, however, has come on kickoff returns. Kawai ranks fourth in the league with his total of eight returns and his total of 131 return yards is fifth.
ADD RECEIVERS: While Jordan Fukumoto had a quieter game against Lewis & Clark, he still proved to have a major impact. Fukumoto scored all three touchdowns in the Boxers' loss to the Pioneers, topped by a 27-yard pass from T.C. Campbell with 1:22 remaining in the first half. Fukumoto a total of 62 yards on six catches in the game, but continues to rank as one of the top receivers in both the conference and the nation. He ranks second in the NWC and is tied for 26th among NCAA Division III players with an average of 101.5 yards per game. He is tied for fourth with 24 receptions and his average of six receptions per game ties him for 56th in Division III. Fukumoto also ranks in a tie for 52nd in Division in scoring, averaging nine points per game.
A TOP PASSING OFFENSE: Pacific continues to have one of the top passing offenses in the NWC and in the nation at the Division III level. The Boxers enter the week averaging 294.5 passing yards per game. That is second in the NWC (behind the 356.2 yards per game of Puget Sound) and also ranks 20th among NCAA Division III programs. The Boxers rank 40th in Division III in pass efficiency, with quarterbacks T.C. Campbell and P.J. Minaya (So., Wahiawa, Hawaii) combining for a rating of 147.27. While Pacific is doing it's job offensively in the passing department, so is the defense. The Boxers rank 40th among Division III teams in passing defense, allowing 147.27 yards by opponents per game. The NCAA Division III national statistics are updated every Tuesday and can be seen at www.ncaa.com/stats/football/d3.
DEFENSIVELY SPEAKING: Pacific's defense had a number of shining moments on Saturday against Lewis & Clark, registering 11 tackles for loss for a total of 58 yards to go along with two blocked PAT attempts. Josh Brinkworth (Fr., Elk Grove, Calif.) led Pacific with eight tackles (4 solo, 4 assisted). Bryan Mills and Chaz Bajet (Fr., Waipahu, Hawaii) each had six tackles, with five of Bajet's tackles being solos. The Boxers also had four sacks in the game.
WHAT A CATCH: Pacific's lone scoring highlight in their Sept. 18 game at Claremont-Mudd-Scripps is one that puts Jordan Fukumoto into the record book for a second time. Fukumoto caught an 87-yard touchdown pass from T.C. Campbell with 10:32 left in the third quarter, which accounted for the Boxers' only touchdown of the game. The strike ranks as the second longest pass play in school history. The only longer play was a 95-yard pass from Pacific Hall of Fame quarterback Ralph Nickerson to Jim Wills in a game against Eastern Oregon during the 1973 season. Fukumoto now has a part of two of the top-three passing plays in school history. Last year, Fukumoto hooked up with quarterback P.J. Minaya on the Boxers' first play from scrimmage against Linfield for a 79-yard touchdown pass. That play is third longest in school history.
AN UNUSUAL TRADE OF SAFETIES: Two safeties in a game is rare enough, but to have two safeties in the same game awarded because of penalties is even rarer. Pacific was awarded their first safety of the season in the second quarter against Menlo on Sept. 10 when quarterback Matt Pelasasa was flagged for intentional grounding in the end zone. The two points put Pacific ahead 9-0. Pacific was then flagged for a safety in the third quarter when they were called for holding in the end zone with the Boxers starting a drive on their own 1-yard line. Since the program was reinstated in 2010, the Boxers have been involved in four safeties. Ironically, all four were against Menlo. Saturday's safety scored by Pacific is the first since the reinstatement of the program.
BREAKING THE SKID: Pacific continues to look for the right combination needed to break a rather long beaten streak. The Boxers enter Saturday's game with Lewis & Clark having lost their last 21 games, which dates back to the 1991 season, the final year of the original program. Pacific's last victory on the gridiron came on Nov. 10, 1990, when the Boxers beat Oregon Tech 15-14 on the old McCready Field. Pacific's current losing streak is nowhere near the record of 30 consecutive losses, which was set between the 1979 and 1982 seasons.
LOCAL TIES: The Pacific roster in 2011 features three players with ties to the three high schools in the Forest Grove area. Offensive lineman Eric Gietzen, a 2010 graduate of Forest Grove High School, reprises a starting role at guard. The Fargo, N.D., native spent a year at Portland State (did not play football) before returning to The Grove. Brandon Carow (Fr., Forest Grove, Ore.) comes to Pacific after four years of Forest Grove High School, two of those seasons playing for current Pacific running backs coach Mike McCabe. Carow is competing for a role as the Boxers' kicker. Carow is in competition with Austin Shulund (Fr., Banks, Ore.), who played the same role, as well as punter, kicker and tight end, at Banks High School. Of the 137 players on the Pacific roster, 30 of them hail from the Portland area, northwest Oregon or the Willamette Valley.
HAWAII TIES: Not surprisingly, the Pacific roster has quite a Hawaii flavor to it. A total of 32 players on the team hail from the Islands, right in line with the over 25 percent of students from Hawaii present in Pacific's undergraduate student body. Of those 32 players, 15 are new recruits to the Pacific program.
SEASON PREVIEW: The complete 2011 Pacific football season preview can be read at http://www.goboxers.com/news/2011/8/27/FB_0827113717.aspx?path=football.
PACIFIC TO BROADCAST ALL NINE GAMES: All nine Pacific football games will be broadcast both on the radio and online. AM 1360 KUIK (Hillsboro) will air all nine games live with pregame beginning 15 minutes prior to kickoff. For those outside of the Portland area, a live audio webcast will also be available at goboxers.com/webcasts. In addition, a video webcast will be available for all five home Pacific games. The video webcast will be available for $10 per game. The webcasts are available a link at www.goboxers.com.
Matt Richert returns for his second season as the play-by-play voice for Pacific football. A 20-year broadcast veteran, Richert most recently worked as one of the prep play-by-play voices for KUIK-AM in Hillsboro. He has also lent his voice to a number of OSAA Radio Network state championship broadcasts. He also works as Pacific's assistant sports information director. Scott Hermo will provide the color analysis. Hermo has worked as a color commentator and sports host for KUIK since 1994.
BOXERS PICKED SEVENTH IN THE NWC: Northwest Conference coaches have picked Pacific to finish seventh in the annual coaches preseason poll conducted in August. The Boxers received seven votes in the poll after going 0-9 in their 2010 return to the gridiron. Linfield was picked as the odds-on favorite to win the conference again in 2011, receiving five of seven first place votes for a total of 40 points. Willamette was picked second with 34 points, gaining two first place votes. Pacific Lutheran was picked third (26 pts.), followed by Lewis & Clark (16), Puget Sound (11) and Pacific (7).