March 11, 2012

MCDANIEL, TIGERS RUN TO KEEP SHOES TROPHY

More news about: Occidental
By Michael Wells
Sports Information Director
 

WHITTIER, Calif. — After practice on Thursday, the Occidental College football team celebrated the "Battle of the Shoes" tradition with a few rituals so exclusive to those in the know, that when asked what they were, quarterback Luke Collis said, "If I told you, I'd have to kill you."

On Saturday, there was less superstition and more football, with the Tigers beating Whittier College 31-17 in the 68th "Battle of the Shoes" and earning a victory in their first Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference game of the season. The Tigers now lead the coveted trophy game series 35-33.

As the legend has it, a handful of Occidental College football players stole Poets star running back Myron Claxton's cleats on the Thursday before the 1939 game. Claxton got his payback though by leading Whittier to a 36-0 victory that day and reclaiming his shoes. Seven years later, some Whittier students had Claxton's cleats bronzed and the two teams have played for bragging rights ever since.

Fast forward to 2011, where the game once again featured an impressive running back, but this time he was wearing Oxy black.

Wes McDaniel did his best imitation of Claxton, rushing for 167 yards and two touchdowns on 25 carries, making up almost half of the Tigers overall offense.

"It's a deep rooted tradition here. All week long there's a whole process where we establish with the young guys what the tradition is," McDaniel said. "We've had the shoes now for so long that no one wants to be the team that loses them."

McDaniel having such a successful game on the ground is particularly ironic this year. With both teams notoriously passing offenses and Whittier quarterback Chris Lopez fresh off of a 456-yard passing performance in a win over Puget Sound last weekend, the expectation was that the final result could more closely resemble a basketball score.

 But McDaniel and the ground game stole the show.

"It doesn't matter how good your running back is if guys up front aren't providing the holes for you to run through," McDaniel said. It starts with them and they played a great game. If they continue to do that, we're going to have success."

Oxy (2-1, 1-0) has gotten the better of the Poets (1-2, 0-1) in the annual matchup, winning nine of the last ten, but this was a better Whittier team going up against a battered Oxy squad.

"I'm very proud of the way our guys adapted in the week leading up to this game, with some guys playing out of position, and during the game when they faced adversity," Occidental coach Dale Widolff said. "We beat a good Whittier team tonight in a fun atmosphere to play in."

The Tigers had kept Whittier at a distance for most of the game, but appeared to be in trouble late in the third quarter. Kimble Tillman returned an Oxy kickoff for a 90-yard score, then the Tigers failed to recover the Whittier kick on the ensuing play, giving the Poets possession on the Oxy 30. But Occidental's Carter Norfleet made a spectacular interception on the next play in perhaps the biggest momentum swing of the game.

"The way Carter went up and over the wide receiver was the type of play you might see an NFL defensive back make," Widolff said. "And the time when it happened, with us vulnerable after the score and fumble, made it a major turning point for us."

History aside, the game was a must-win for the Tigers to open the SCIAC season on a positive note and to rebound from a tough 41-17 home loss to Menlo College on Sept. 17.

"It always feels good to beat a rival all four years," Oxy linebacker Greg Holsworth said. "It feels extra special though because we have a goal to win a conference championship and that stays alive."

Matt Matulaitus led the Tigers with 10 tackles and Ayrton BatesAdam DiBenedetto, Holsworth andDallas Gosselin all recorded six.

Oxy allowed 17 Whittier points, but if you take out a two-minue drill before halftime and the long kick off return for a touchdown, the Tigers held a high-octane Poets offense to just three.

"Honestly I thought it was a great team effort. Some guys had to step up and they executed and did everything anybody could ask of them," Holsworth said. "It was just all around great team defense and that's why we came out with a win."

comments powered by Disqus
Oct. 24: All times Eastern
Final
at Johns Hopkins 37, Gettysburg 14
Box Score Recap
Oct. 25: All times Eastern
Final
Hobart 35, at RPI 3
Box Score Recap Recap
Final
Massachusetts Maritime 46, at Mass-Dartmouth 41
Box Score Recap
Final
Maine Maritime 62, at Nichols 43
Box Score
Final
at Alfred 14, Frostburg State 3
Box Score Recap
Final
at Ithaca 32, Salisbury 7
Box Score Recap
Final
Framingham State 38, at Plymouth State 0
Box Score
Final
Morrisville State 47, at Southern Virginia 23
Box Score
Final
at Wesleyan 35, Bowdoin 0
Box Score
Final
Middlebury 27, at Trinity (Conn.) 7
Box Score Recap
Final
St. John Fisher 61, at Alfred State 0
Box Score Recap Photos
Final - OT
at Bates 34, Colby 28
Box Score Recap Recap Photos
Final
at Amherst 30, Tufts 3
Box Score
Final
Wesley 75, at Virginia-Lynchburg 12
Box Score
Final
Husson 47, at Castleton State 26
Box Score Recap
Final
Williams 21, at Hamilton 14
Box Score Recap
Final
at Stevenson 57, FDU-Florham 0
Box Score
Final
DePauw 59, at Allegheny 7
Box Score Recap
Final
at Franklin and Marshall 42, Moravian 12
Box Score
Final
at Olivet 30, Kalamazoo 14
Box Score Recap Photos
Final
at Trine 51, Albion 45
Box Score Recap
Final
Mount Ida 10, at Gallaudet 6
Box Score Recap
Final
Cortland State 21, at Kean 14
Box Score Recap
Final
Wisconsin Lutheran 17, at Adrian 7
Box Score
Final
Hampden-Sydney 45, at Shenandoah 27
Box Score Photos
Final
at Emory and Henry 62, Catholic 28
Box Score
Final
Hope 33, at Alma 7
Box Score Recap
Final
at St. Vincent 38, Carnegie Mellon 31
Box Score
Final
Dickinson 33, at McDaniel 28
Box Score
Final
Guilford 28, at Randolph-Macon 6
Box Score Recap
Final - OT
Methodist 42, at N.C. Wesleyan 39
Box Score
Final
at Ursinus 44, Susquehanna 14
Box Score Photos
Final
at Wittenberg 49, Kenyon 7
Box Score Recap Photos
Final
at Montclair State 20, Rowan 16
Box Score Recap Recap
Final
at St. Lawrence 21, Springfield 7
Box Score
Final
at Delaware Valley 41, Misericordia 7
Box Score Recap
Final
at Wabash 70, Oberlin 10
Box Score Recap
Final
Hiram 35, at Ohio Wesleyan 28
Box Score Recap
Final
at Lebanon Valley 46, Wilkes 0
Final
at Muhlenberg 42, Juniata 13
Box Score Recap
Final - OT
at Albright 30, King's 24
Box Score Recap
Final
William Paterson 21, at TCNJ 0
Final
at Millsaps 38, Sewanee 20
Box Score
Final
Endicott 14, at Coast Guard 13
Box Score Recap
Final
at Mount Union 74, Wilmington 7
Box Score Photos
Final
at John Carroll 71, Capital 7
Box Score Recap
Final
at Franklin 41, Rose-Hulman 21
Box Score Photos
Final
at Thomas More 64, Grove City 7
Box Score Recap
Final
Widener 34, at Lycoming 17
Box Score
Final
at Heidelberg 40, Marietta 20
Box Score Recap
Final
at Union 16, Rochester 14
Box Score
Final
at Mount St. Joseph 63, Anderson 14
Box Score
Final
at Bluffton 24, Manchester 16
Box Score Recap
Final
Otterbein 20, at Baldwin Wallace 9
Box Score
Final
Utica 31, at Buffalo State 21
Box Score Recap Recap
Final
Brockport State 17, at Hartwick 12
Box Score Box Score
Final
at SUNY-Maritime 13, Becker 6
Box Score Recap
Final
at Bridgewater (Va.) 24, Washington and Lee 13
Box Score
Final
at Washington and Jefferson 34, Case Western Reserve 24
Box Score Recap Photos
Final
Bridgewater State 27, at Westfield State 23
Box Score Recap
Final
at Hendrix 38, Austin 28
Box Score
Final
at Benedictine 44, Concordia-Chicago 11
Box Score Recap
Final
LaGrange 24, at Huntingdon 17
Box Score
Final
at Lakeland 14, Aurora 0
Box Score Recap
Final
at Birmingham-Southern 23, Berry 17
Box Score Recap
Final
at Concordia (Wis.) 42, Rockford 14
Box Score
Final
at UW-River Falls 20, UW-Eau Claire 10
Box Score Recap
Final
at St. John's 52, Carleton 3
Box Score
Final
at Concordia-Moorhead 42, Hamline 7
Box Score
Final
Augsburg 38, at St. Olaf 20
Box Score
Final
at Illinois College 49, Lake Forest 6
Box Score Recap
Final
Loras 27, at Simpson 24
Box Score
Final
Buena Vista 44, at Dubuque 39
Box Score
Final
at St. Norbert 29, Beloit 14
Box Score Recap
Final
Carroll 48, at Ripon 14
Final
at Macalester 33, Lawrence 0
Box Score
Final
Mary Hardin-Baylor 72, at Texas Lutheran 16
Box Score Recap
Final
Augustana 31, at Carthage 26
Box Score Recap
Final
Elmhurst 29, at Illinois Wesleyan 28
Box Score Recap
Final
at North Park 26, Millikin 7
Box Score
Final
Central 45, at Coe 21
Box Score Recap
Final
at Wartburg 52, Luther 7
Box Score
Final
at Monmouth 38, Cornell 21
Box Score
Final
Martin Luther 13, at Minnesota-Morris 12
Box Score
Final
Crown 17, at MacMurray 14
Box Score
Final
at Greenville 52, Iowa Wesleyan 32
Box Score
Final
at Westminster (Mo.) 24, Northwestern (Minn.) 13
Box Score Recap
Final
Grinnell 21, at Knox 18
Box Score
Final
at UW-Whitewater 24, UW-Oshkosh 7
Box Score Photos
Final
at UW-Stevens Point 24, UW-La Crosse 17
Box Score Recap
Final
Concordia (Mich.) 62, at Maranatha Baptist 0
Final
at Bethel 35, St. Thomas 24
Box Score Recap
Final
at Centre 47, Rhodes 35
Box Score Photos
Final
Defiance 45, at Earlham 21
Box Score
Final
at Chicago 44, Washington U. 23
Box Score Recap
Final
Norwich 28, at Anna Maria 20
Box Score Recap
Final
UW-Platteville 21, at UW-Stout 0
Box Score Recap Recap
Final
Hardin-Simmons 51, at Howard Payne 20
Box Score
Final - OT
WPI 24, at Merchant Marine 23
Box Score Recap
Final
Linfield 59, at Lewis and Clark 7
Box Score
Final
at Pacific Lutheran 56, Willamette 14
Box Score
Final
Redlands 64, at La Verne 28
Box Score
Final
at Whitworth 62, Puget Sound 30
Box Score Recap Photos
Final
Pacific 36, at George Fox 0
Box Score Recap
Final
at MIT 35, Western New England 34
Box Score Recap
Final
Worcester State 52, at Western Connecticut 49
Box Score Recap
Final
at Louisiana College 52, East Texas Baptist 49
Final
Ferrum 26, at Averett 14
Box Score
Final
Waynesburg 35, at Thiel 32
Box Score
Final
at Ohio Northern 31, Muskingum 10
Box Score Photos
Final
at Denison 38, Wooster 24
Box Score
Final
at Christopher Newport 45, Greensboro 31
Box Score
Final
at Geneva 20, Bethany 14
Final
at St. Scholastica 59, Eureka 0
Box Score
Final
at Wheaton (Ill.) 34, North Central (Ill.) 31
Box Score Recap
Final
Chapman 45, at Cal Lutheran 21
Box Score
Final
at Occidental 21, Claremont-Mudd-Scripps 14
Box Score Recap Photos
Final
at Pomona-Pitzer 24, Whittier 0
Box Score
Oct. 25: All times Eastern
Final
at Wheaton (Ill.) 34, North Central (Ill.) 31
Box Score Recap
Final
Chapman 45, at Cal Lutheran 21
Box Score
Final
at Washington and Jefferson 34, Case Western Reserve 24
Box Score Recap Photos
Final
at Thomas More 64, Grove City 7
Box Score Recap
Final
at Mount Union 74, Wilmington 7
Box Score Photos
Final
at John Carroll 71, Capital 7
Box Score Recap
Final
Wesley 75, at Virginia-Lynchburg 12
Box Score
Final
Hampden-Sydney 45, at Shenandoah 27
Box Score Photos
Final
at Wabash 70, Oberlin 10
Box Score Recap
Final
St. John Fisher 61, at Alfred State 0
Box Score Recap Photos
Final
at Wittenberg 49, Kenyon 7
Box Score Recap Photos
Final
at Delaware Valley 41, Misericordia 7
Box Score Recap
Final
UW-Platteville 21, at UW-Stout 0
Box Score Recap Recap
Final
at Bethel 35, St. Thomas 24
Box Score Recap
Final
Hobart 35, at RPI 3
Box Score Recap Recap
Final
at UW-Whitewater 24, UW-Oshkosh 7
Box Score Photos
Final
at Wartburg 52, Luther 7
Box Score
Final
Mary Hardin-Baylor 72, at Texas Lutheran 16
Box Score Recap
Final
at Concordia-Moorhead 42, Hamline 7
Box Score
Final
at UW-Stevens Point 24, UW-La Crosse 17
Box Score Recap
Final
at St. John's 52, Carleton 3
Box Score
Final
Linfield 59, at Lewis and Clark 7
Box Score
Oct. 24: All times Eastern
Final
at Johns Hopkins 37, Gettysburg 14
Box Score Recap

What We're Reading