SALEM, Ore. -- The Willamette University defense forced three turnovers and the Bearcat offense amassed 572 yards in a 55-0 shutout victory over the University of Puget Sound at McCulloch Stadium on Saturday, Nov. 10. It was Willamette's first shutout since a 44-0 rout against the University of La Verne on Sept. 27, 2008.
Willamette concluded the regular season with an 8-2 record, including 4-2 (3rd place) in the Northwest Conference. The Bearcats have a slight chance of being selected for the NCAA Division III Playoffs, but the odds are slim with only seven at-large berths nationwide. The 8-2 record for Head Coach Glen Fowles is the best first-year record for a head coach in Willamette history.
Puget Sound ended the season at 0-9 overall. The Loggers were 0-6 in the NWC (7th place).
Quarterback Josh Dean (Jr.) led the WU offense by completing 33 of 49 passes for 358 yards and 4 touchdowns. He also rushed 8 times for 33 yards and two other scores.
Terrell Malley (Jr., HB) caught nine passes for 119 yards and three touchdowns. Malley rushed one time for 29 yards.
Overall, Willamette passed for 444 yards and rushed for 128 yards on 20 carries (6.4 avg.).
Puget Sound wide receiver Adam Kniffin (Sr.) caught 14 passes for 90 yards to lead the Loggers.
The WU defense limited UPS to 26 of 49 passing for 200 yards. Starting quarterback Braden Foley of UPS was 17 of 30 for 141 yards. The Loggers gained 125 rushing yards on 46 carries, an average of 2.7 yards per rush.
Willamette scored its first touchdown on a 4-yard run by Dean with 9:28 left in the first quarter to complete a 7-play, 60-yard drive. Kyle Derby (Jr., PK/P) kicked the extra point for a 7-0 lead.
The longest play of the drive was a 22-yard pass from Dean to Jake Knecht (Sr., WR) that brought the ball to the UPS 15-yard line.
It was Knecht's 100th career reception in three seasons with the Bearcats. He ended the game with 4 catches for 68 yards and one touchdown, as he finished his career with 103 catches for 1,452 yards and 20 touchdowns.
Puget Sound reached the Willamette 44 on its next possession before punting. The Bearcats took over at their own 12-yard line and marched 88 yards on 15 plays.
The drive featured four 3rd-down plays. The first was on 3rd-and-6 at the WU 16 when Dean hit Jake Turner (Sr., WR) with an 11-yard pass. On 3rd-and-10 at the WU 27, Dean completed a 21-yard pass to Chad Pollard (Sr., HB).
Three plays later, Dylan Jones (So., RB) rushed up the middle for four yards on 3rd-and-1.
WU picked up one more first down, before a tripping penalty resulted in 1st-and-25 at the UPS 38. On 3rd-and-9 at the 22, Dean connected with Benny Weischedel (Sr., TE) for all 22 yards and a touchdown. Derby missed the extra point, but Willamette led 13-0.
The Bearcats increased the lead to 20-0 when Dean scored on a 5-yard run with 11:32 left in the second quarter. The 9-play drive featured four plays covering more than 10 yards, including a 22-yard run by Jones.
Late in the half, WU took over at its own 31 with 1:41 on the clock. Dean drove the Bearcats 69 yards on eight plays. After an incomplete pass and a completion negated by a penalty, Dean connected on seven consecutive throws, ending with a 23-yard pass to Malley for a touchdown with 0:21 on the clock. WU led 27-0 at halftime.
The Loggers, who lost one fumble in the first half, also lost a fumble early in the third quarter. Wendell Galvan (So., CB) forced the turnover when he hit runner Kevin Miller four yards behind the line at the UPS 36. Ben Lyons (Sr., DE) recovered the ball for WU and advanced it 13 yards.
Willamette was unable to gain a first down. Derby missed a 35-yard field goal at the 12:19 mark.
Dean connected with Malley on a 3-yard touchdown pass on the Bearcats' next possession. The drive covered 72 yards on 7 plays, including a 16-yard pass to Matt Williams (Sr., WR), an 18-yard run by Derek Traeger (So., WR) and a 29-yard draw play by Malley on 1st-and-20 at the UPS 32.
Puget Sound answered with a solid drive. The Loggers eventually reached the WU 4 on a 31-yard pass from Foley to Miller. A personal foul moved UPS back to the WU 19. On fourth down, Foley was sacked by Lyons and Corey Walsh (Jr., DB).
Three Bearcat quarterbacks each threw one touchdown in the fourth quarter. Dean tossed a 31-yard scoring strike to Malley at the 14:43 mark. Jake Jones (Sr.) threw a 36-yard TD pass to Traeger with 12:01 to go, and Dustin Crabtree hit Knecht for a 30-yard score with 2:14 left.
Taylor Bonawitz (Fr., PK/P) kicked all three extra points for the Bearcats in the fourth quarter.
In between the TD passes by Jones and Crabtree, Puget Sound drove from its own 26 to the WU 14. On the next play, James Korn was intercepted by Blaze Rogers (Sr., CB, Lahaina, HI/Lahainaluna HS) in the end zone.
Two Bearcats finished with more than 100 receiving yards. Malley's nine catches for 119 yards were nearly matched by Weischedel, who hauled in eight passes for 105 yards. Turner caught 6 passes for 50 yards.
On the ground, Dylan Jones rushed for 54 yards on seven carries for Willamette. Austin Wagner of Puget Sound rushed 20 times for 98 yards.
Cody Pastorino (Sr., S) of WU led all players with 12 tackles. Wes Wenzel (Sr., ILB) added 11 tackles and a sack. Overall, WU registered 7 sacks. Connor Savage (So., DB) and Max Mirande (So., LB) each made eight tackles for UPS.
Prior to the game, Willamette's 31 seniors were honored for their accomplishments and their commitment to the Bearcat football team.