Pacific University Football Weekly Notebook
PUGET SOUND AT PACIFIC
Game No. 8/Home Game No. 5
Sat., Oct. 29, 1:30 p.m., Lincoln Park Stadium, Forest Grove
Radio: 1360 AM KUIK
Live Audio Webcast: www.goboxers.com/webcasts
Live Video (pay-per-view): www.goboxers.com/webcasts
Live Stats: www.goboxers.com/livestats
PACIFIC READIES FOR PUGET SOUND ON HOMECOMING
Pacific enters its final home game of the season as well at Homecoming & Family Weekend with hopes of giving the home fans something to cheer about. A much-improved Pacific squad will host a winless Puget Sound squad on Saturday. The Boxers hope to close the 2011 Lincoln Park schedule with the first win since the program was reinstated for the 2010 season.
• Pacific managed just 193 yards of total offense as the Whitworth defense put pressure on all afternoon. The Pirates forced three Pacific interceptions in a 48-6 victory over the Boxers Saturday in Spokane.
• Moses Villareal-Gomez accounted for Pacific's only points for the second straight week. kicking field goals of 37 yards and 38 yards. After hitting on just one of his first five attempts this season, Villareal-Gomez has been successful on each of his last four.
• Starting quarterback T.C. Campbell was limited to 5 of 14 passes completed for 66 yards and was intercepted twice. P.J. Minaya played the entire second half, finishing with 10 of 18 passes completed for 86 yards and one pick.
• Jordan Fukumoto once again led Pacific on the receiving end with four catches for 44 yards. He continues to rank among the top receivers in NCAA Division III in receiving yards and receptions per game.
• Pacific continues to rank among the top passing teams in the nation at the Division III level, ranking 33rd nationally in passing offense with an average of 261.1 yards per game. Puget Sound, Saturday's opponent, ranks 12th nationally.
SCOUTING THE OPPONENT - PUGET SOUND LOGGERS
Location: Tacoma, Wash.
Colors: Maroon & White
Conference: Northwest (NCAA III)
Stadium: Peyton Field at Baker Stadium (4,000, uncovered, natural grass)
President: Dr. Ronald Thomas
Athletic Director: Amy Hackett
Head Coach: Jeff Thomas (Redlands 2003)
Thomas' Record At UPS: 2-7/1 Year
Thomas' Record Overall: 2-7/1 Year
All-Time Series: Pacific leads 14-13-3
Last Meeting: Puget Sound won 42-31 at Tacoma, Wash., on Oct. 30, 2010
ABOUT THE COACH: Jeff Thomas is in his second season leading the Puget Sound football program. In his first season, Thomas mentored the Loggers to a 2-7 record as the Loggers broke 23 school records and put together the sixth-best passing offense in Division III. Thomas came to Pacific after seven seasons at Redlands, serving through the years as defensive backs coach, wide receivers coach, special teams coordinator and offensive coordinator. He was named the AFCA Assistant Coach of the Year in 2009. A four-year letterwinner at Redlands, Thomas earned a spot on the U.S. team in the 2002 Aztec Bowl as a defensive back.
THE SERIES: Pacific leads the all-time series 14-13-3. Puget Sound won both meetings last year, with the most recent a 42-31 win at Tacoma, Wash., on Oct. 30, 2010.
LAST MEETING: PUGET SOUND 42, PACIFIC 31: Pacific scored three touchdowns in the fourth quarter, turning a potential rout into a close game as the Boxers fell to the Loggers. Pacific trailed 35-10 at the end of the third quarter when things started falling into place. T.C. Campbell found Jordan Fukumoto on a 20-yard scoring pass with 13:13 to go, and then he found Brian Taylor for a 12-yard strike with 9:20 left. Trevor Okamoto brough the Boxers within 11 when he threw a 35-yard touchdown pass to Jayson Fukumoto with 2:51 left. Puget Sound recovered the ensuing onside kick and proceeded to run out the clock. Campbell completed 20 of 40 passes for 222 yards and three touchdowns. Jordan Fukumoto caught four balls for 72 yards. Puget Sound quarterback Duncan White completed 30 of 41 passes for 360 yards and four touchdowns. Adam Kniffin caught 12 balls for 133 yards and three scores.
PUGET SOUND NOTES
• Puget Sound played their closest game of the season Saturday, coming within a field goal of beating Lewis & Clark in a 31-28 loss. The Loggers kept pace and scored two fourth quarter touchdowns behind newly minted starting quarterback Braden Foley.
• Receiver Adam Kniffin became the school's all-time leader in receptions in the game, catching 13 balls for 91 yards and two touchdowns. He enters Saturday's game with Pacific with 166 career receptions.
• Braden Foley is expected to start his third game of the season at quarterback after taking the job from senior George Ka'ai. Foley enters the week having completed 59 of 109 passes for 697 yards and four touchdowns in three games.
• Puget Sound has lost six of their seven games by 10 points or more, which included a 73-7 rout of Linfield on Oct. 8. The Loggers enter the game ranked fifth in the NWC in scoring, averaging 22.3 points per game. They leads the league with an average of 316 passing yards per game.
• Puget Sound is the only team Pacific faces this season where they are ahead in the all-time series. Puget Sound, however, has won the last six meetings.
PACIFIC NEWS & NOTES
PUTTING PACIFIC ON THE BOARD: After struggling to put the ball through the uprights in the first five games of the season, Moses Villareal-Gomez (Fr., Stockton, Calif.) has been the one keeping Pacific up on the scoreboard in their last two contests. Villareal-Gomez accounted for Pacific's only points for the second straight week, hitting a pair of field goals at Whitworth. He split the uprights with a season-long 38-yard field goal at the 6:01 mark of the first quarter, and then followed it up with a 37-yard strike with 9:11 to go in the third quarter. Villareal-Gomez has hit four straight field goals in the last two games after going just 1 for 5 in the Boxers' first four contests. The four successful attempts have allowed the freshman to jump into a tie for second in the NWC with five made field goals. Villareal-Gomez also ranks fifth in the NWC in kick scoring with a total of 23 points.
JUMPIN' JORDAN: Jordan Fukumoto (So., Mililani, Hawaii) continues to position himself as one of the top receivers in the Northwest Conference. The sophomore had four catches against Whitworth's swarming defense on Saturday, finishing with 44 yards. Despite coming up with small totals over the last two weeks, Fukumoto still finds himself among the top receivers in the NWC and in NCAA Division III football. He continues to rank second in the NWC and is tied for 36th in Division III with 92.3 receiving yards per game. He also ranks second in the league with 646 yards and six receiving touchdowns. Fukumoto also enters the week tied for fifth in points scored with 35 and is tied for 99th nationally with his average of 5.29 receptions per game.
STANDOUT DEFENSIVE EFFORT: One of the few bright spots from Saturday's game at Whitworth came on the defensive side of the ball. Safety Bryan Mills (So., Imbler, Ore.) seemed to be flying all over the field, finishing with a game-high 12 tackles. The total is the most for a Pacific player since the reinstatement of the program in 2010. Mills' total included one half tackle for loss and a near interception. Mills enters the week tied for fourth in the NWC with 49 tackles. He is also tied for fourth with 26 solo tackles and is tied for sixth with 23 assisted tackles. Linebacker Tim Hastie (So., Auberry, Calif.) also had a solid defensive effort, finshing with eight tackles against the Pirates. Hastie enters the week ranked ninth in the NWC with 44 tackles.
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 261.4 passing yards per game. That is second in the NWC (behind the 316 yards per game of Puget Sound) and also ranks 33rd among NCAA Division III programs. The NCAA Division III national statistics are updated every Tuesday and can be seen at www.ncaa.com/stats/football/d3.
SPORTSCENTER'S TOP PLAY: The fact that Pacific lost to Lewis & Clark on Oct. 1 may be remembered by few after a head's up special teams play by starting safety Bryan Mills 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 Monley'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 the Play of the Day by ESPN's SportsCenter on Oct. 1, receiving mutiple plays on the network's anchor show over the weekend as well as SportsNation (anchored that day by former Portland sportscaster Colin Cowherd), 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. The play was also featured on a number of prominent websites, including CBS News, Larry Brown Sports, Awful Announcing.com and the Huffington Post. Since then, the video clip has received over 237,000 hits on Pacific's YouTube site and has shown up on multiple Internet sports blogs. To view Mills' head's up play, please visit http://youtu.be/tCL-QxQJTuI.
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 Puget Sound having lost their last 25 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).