SALEM, Ore. -- The Willamette University offense was on a roll against Lewis & Clark College on Saturday, Nov. 5, as the Bearcats recorded their highest score of the season in a 57-28 win over the Pioneers. It was the first loss of the season for L&C.
Junior wide receiver Jake Knecht tied a Willamette record by scoring on four touchdown passes -- covering 35, 51, 31 and 39 yards -- to lead the Bearcats. The record was most recently tied by Scott Schoettgen against L&C last season on Nov. 6, 2010.
Also holding the record - Schoettgen vs. Puget Sound on Nov. 7, 2009; Justin Pate vs. Linfield on Nov. 6, 1993; Darren Holsey vs. Puget Sound on Sept. 23, 1989; and Gib Gilmore in 1967 (opponent N/A).
Willamette improved to 4-5 overall, 3-2 in the Northwest Conference. Lewis & Clark dropped to 7-1 overall, 4-1 in the NWC.
The Bearcats finished with 582 yards on 60 plays (9.7 avg.). Lewis & Clark, which threw the ball 50 times, gained 507 yards on 102 plays (5.0 avg.).
WU starting quarterback Brian Widing (Jr.) completed 8 of 10 passes for 219 yards and all four touchdowns to Knecht. Overall, Knecht hauled in six passes for 199 yards. Matt Williams (Jr., FL) caught two passes for 20 yards.
L&C quarterback Keith Welch was 31 of 49 for 329 yards, one touchdown and one interception. He also carried the ball 27 times for 111 yards. Joevonte Mayes caught nine passes for 66 yards for the Pioneers. Mayes chipped in an additional 62 yards on 20 running plays. The Pioneers rushed 52 times for 172 yards (3.3 avg.).
A group of 15 Bearcats combined for an impressive ground game, as Willamette rushed for 363 yards on 50 carries (7.3 avg.). Jamiere Abney (Sr., TB, Bremerton, WA/Bremerton HS) led the way with seven carries for 98 yards, including a 61-yard run.
Taylor Wyman (Fr., TB) added 48 yards on five carries for the Bearcats, while Jake Turner (Jr., FL) gained 44 yards on five carries. Williams tacked on 42 yards on six rushing attempts.
Lewis & Clark scored first after opening the game with a 12-play, 63-yard drive. Mayes concluded the drive with a 3-yard touchdown run at the 10:58 mark of the first quarter. Simon Monley kicked the extra point.
WU pulled within 7-2 on L&C's next possession. The Pioneers took over at their own 3-yard line following the game's only punt by either team, a 36-yarder from Willamette's Mitch Rowan (Sr., P/PK). On fourth down, the snap by L&C went out of the end zone.
The kickoff following the safety went out of bounds, allowing Willamette to take over at the 50-yard line.
It took just three plays for the Bearcats to move into the lead, as Mason Brown (So., TB) ran for three yards on the first play, Williams added an 11-yard rush, and Widing threw a 35-yard pass to Knecht for the first of their four touchdowns. Kyle Derby (So., PK) kicked the PAT for a 9-7 advantage.
Willamette extended its lead to 16-7 with 6:18 left in the half, as Turner ended a 7-play, 62-yard drive with a 5-yard touchdown run.
After Monley missed a 39-yard field goal for the Pioneers at the 4:00 mark, the Bearcats put together a quick drive for a 23-7 lead at halftime. The drive opened with a 10-yard run by Abney and concluded on the fifth play with a 51-yard pass from Widing to Knecht with 1:43 on the clock.
The Bearcats took control by moving the ball 80 yards on six plays for a touchdown to start the third quarter. Fullback Scott Perlin (Sr.) powered his way for a 15-yard run during the drive, while Williams added 13-yard scamper. Knecht scored his third touchdown on a 31-yard pass from Widing with 12:51 on the clock.
Lewis & Clark scored with 8:12 left in the third quarter when Welch crossed the goal line on a 1-yard run to finish a 15-play, 83-yard drive. Monley made the extra point, as L&C pulled within 30-14. It was as close as the Pioneers were able to get in the second half.
Dylan Jones (Fr., TB) scored for WU on a 2-yard run and Knecht added his fourth touchdown on a 39-yard catch, as the Bearcats surged out to a 44-14 lead before the third quarter ended.
Willamette forced L&C to start every possession of the game inside Pioneer territory. Seven of the 11 drives began inside the L&C 30, with two drives inside the 10-yard line. The Bearcats also made quick drives difficult, as L&C reached third down 19 times (9 converted) and fourth down nine times (4 converted). Three of L&C's scoring drives lasted at least 12 plays.
Four Bearcats earned double-digit tackles.
Jaden Roselli (So., ILB) amassed 13 tackles with one tackle for a loss. He also registered the game's only interception, which he returned 34 yards to set up a touchdown late in the third quarter.
Ryan Bourke (Sr., DE) provided 10 tackles, with 2.0 sacks, 3.0 tackles for losses and a forced fumble. Also contributing 10 tackles each were Dominic David (Jr., S, Salem, OR/South Salem HS/Portland State Univ.) and Reed Warner (Jr., OLB, Salem, OR/South Salem HS).
Dan Curtis (Sr., LB) led Lewis & Clark with 12 tackles, while Chris Kelly (Sr., S) achieved 11 tackles for the Pioneers.
WU will conclude the season on Saturday, Nov. 12, when the Bearcats host Pacific Lutheran University. Kickoff at McCulloch Stadium is scheduled for 1 p.m. (PST).