FOREST GROVE, Ore. — At first it looked like it was going to be a big opening night on the road for the Occidental College football team. Two quick scores off turnovers, one impressive long drive down the field and a 17-7 lead after the first quarter.
But the Tigers (0-1) cooled off and their defense couldn't stop Pacific (Ore.) in a 67-30 loss to the Boxers on Saturday.
Teran Mawhinney and Dallas Gosselin both had interceptions within the first 5 minutes deep in Pacific territory, giving Oxy a quick 10-0 head start. Mawhinney's pick put the Tigers on the Pacific 9-yard line, leading to a Marc Kuzbari 27-yard field goal. On the Boxers' next drive, Tommy Kim deflected a pass that Gosselin snagged out of the air at the Pacific 11-yard line, eventually setting up a 4-yard touchdown throw from Tommy Edwards to Cordell Harris.
Pacific countered, finding the end zone 3 minutes later, but Oxy answered back with a nine-play, 67-yard march down the field that culminated with Edwards finding Devin Bullock for a picture-perfect 28 yard touchdown.
The Tigers looked sharp. Their All-SCIAC quarterback and crop of talented wide receivers were rolling and the defense was coming up with plays.
Then they hit a snag and were outscored 31-6 in the second and third quarters.
Big plays were a major problem for Oxy during the stretch, particularly the long ball. Pacific receiver Jordan Fukumoto, who led the game with seven catches for 197 yards, caught three TD passes for more than 30 yards, two of them on similar post routes and one of them for 74 yards.
Still Oxy was in the game early in the fourth.
Kwame Do, who had a career-high 87 yards on 13 carries and seven catches for 35 yards, punched in a two-yard touchdown run to cut the Boxers lead to 38-30 with 13:36 left in the game.
But Pacific quickly put the game out of reach, scoring on its next four drives, including three more scores on plays of more than 30 yards.
Oxy's passing game was good, aside from a few mistakes. Edwards found seven receivers — five of them more than five times each — for 295 yards and three touchdowns on 34 of 63 passing.
With 4:08 left in the second quarter, Edwards hit Samuel Crizer for a 15-yard TD that kept Oxy within eight heading into the locker room.
Samuel Stekol led the Tigers with seven catches for 69 yards. Bullock finished with six receptions for 60 yards and Harris had five for 49.
Edwards had a few blemishes and was under pressure most of the night. The senior was sacked five times for 42 yards and threw three interceptions. One was a bonafied punt on 4th and long and one was picked off by Craig Bailey, who made the D3Football.com Team of the Week and now has three on the season.
Oxy did well moving the ball on the ground, averaging 4.3 yards per carry. Along with Do's performance, Casey Dudley chipped in with 32 yards on four carries and the Tigers netted 115 yards rushing. Last season, Do's high was 39 yards and Oxy only rushed for 456 yards all season.
Pacific has been on an upward trend since reinstating football in 2010. The Boxers dropped football in 1991, but have since made a push to be competitve in the Northwest Conference. In their season opener, the Boxers beat 20-10, a team that was receiving votes in the D3Football.com preseason national poll. Pacific came into this year picked to finish fifth in the Northwest.
Oxy has its home opener on Sept. 21 at 7 p.m. against Austin College at Jack Kemp Stadium.
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