Eager to return to the win column, the University of Redlands football team left no doubt by scoring early and often in Saturday's Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) victory over the University of La Verne. A 17-7 halftime lead quickly turned into a 40-21 decision as the Bulldogs exploded for 20 points in the final frame, including a pair of touchdowns in a 47-second span.
Redlands got on the board on its first possession after a 24-yard kickoff return by junior wide receiver Taylor Irwin (Rocklin, CA) set up an effective three-play scoring drive. As a sign of things to come, senior running back Brad Crisanty's (Granite Bay, CA) second carry of the game came on a 44-yard run into the La Verne end zone, giving the Bulldogs the early momentum.
Less than five minutes later, the Maroon and Gray halted the Leopards' offense when senior defensive back Brandon Morris (Mission Viejo, CA) hauled in a Travis Carter pass and returned it all the way to the ULV one-yard line. It took only one attempt for Crisanty to find room past the goal line, resulting in a 14-0 lead for the Bulldogs.
Although La Verne answered with a seven-point play of its own, Redlands responded with a 45-yard field goal by junior kicker Kevin Grady (Seattle, WA) to make it 17-7 with 13:09 remaining in the first half.
The teams traded punches through the end of the half, with neither squad adding to the tally.
During the third quarter, Redlands eventually looked to senior defensive back Scott Payton(Sammamish, WA) to make a big play with an interception grab. This set up a seven-play, 55-yard drive that allowed Grady to split the uprights on a 22-yard field goal.
With the Bulldog defense shutting down any chance for La Verne to score, the Maroon and Gray maintained a solid lead at 20-7 with 15 minutes to go.
However, the Leopards opened the fourth frame with a touchdown drive, making it a seemingly close ball game at 20-14.
But Redlands quickly responded, taking advantage of good field position as well as multiple La Verne penalties. Two plays after senior quarterback Chad Hurst (Dixon, CA) connected with junior tight end Daryl Andersen (Grand Terrace, CA) on a 22-yard strike, Crisanty broke through to the end zone for the third time on the night, giving Redlands a 27-14 advantage.
Moments later, La Verne appeared to be on the move again, until senior linebacker Jordan Garcia(Carlsbad, CA) recorded a 15-yard interception return for the Bulldogs. Hurst quickly found Andersen again, this time on a 21-yard pass into the promise land. Redlands' back-to-back scores came in less than a minute.
Three drives later, Morris came up with another big pick, ending La Verne's hopes for a comeback. The ensuing Maroon and Gray drive highlighted the newfound connection between Hurst and Andersen, who hauled in an 88-yard pass to the house, making it 40-14 with less than five minutes to go.
La Verne managed one more score but it was not enough as the Bulldogs prevailed by a final tally of 40-21.
Hurst racked up 278 passing yards by going 18-for-38 while finding five different receivers. Andersen was his top target with 157 yards on only six catches. Irwin also played a significant role with nine receptions for 96 yards, to go along with 70 yards on a combined three returns.
Crisanty served as the Bulldogs' top ball carrier with another century game at 116 yards on 24 attempts.
Defensively, Redlands tied the fourth-most interceptions caught in a game in school history with five. In addition, the squad recorded nine tackles for a loss of 38 yards, including sacks by junior defensive lineman Daniel Kane (Covina, CA) and senior linebacker Greyson Alman (Fontana, CA). Garcia led the Bulldogs with 13 tackles, including five of the solo variety.
Redlands (2-3, 2-1 SCIAC) returns home to Ted Runner Stadium on Saturday, October 20, for Homecoming against Chapman University. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.