LOS ANGELES — Samuel Stekol was all over the field, showing why he's Oxy's No. 1 target, and Doug Semones earned his first victory as the Occidental head football coach.
Stekol caught 13 passes for 163 yards and two touchdowns, leading the Tigers (1-1) to a relatively easy 35-25 win over Austin College (0-3) in its home opener at Jack Kemp Stadium on Saturday.
"Stekol's the man. He's going to catch a ton of balls this year," Semones said. "That's the guy were going to throw it to and he's going to have a huge year."
Late in the first half, Stekol caught a 24-yard touchdown pass from Tommy Edwards, giving Oxy a 14-5 lead with 3:23 left. Early in the third quarter, he caught his second TD, a 29-yarder to put Oxy up 28-12 with 12:58 on the clock.
He caught short passes, long passes and was even able to set up Oxy's first touchdown with a 21-yard catch despite a holding penalty.
"This was a huge team win all around. If our defense didn't come out tonight we didn't have a shot," Stekol said. "This was really emotional for us. We all badly wanted to win this and I just did what I could."
Kwame Do put the icing on the cake, breaking out of a pile of arm tackles for a 62-yard score that gave Oxy its largest lead of the game, 35-12. It was the second consecutive career night for Do who has developed into quite a weapon out of the backfield for the Tigers. He broke last week's career high of 87 yards with 129 on 23 carries. He also caught three passes for 40 yards.
Casey Dudley had Oxy's first score with an eight-yard reception.
Edwards was 27 for 49 for 293 yards and three touchdowns, but the All-SCIAC quarterback also had a few uncharacteristic mistakes, with three interceptions in the second half, including one that was returned 30 yards for a touchdown.
On defense, Oxy was able to generate turnovers. Austin lost four of seven fumbles and Oxy defensive back Chaz Shizumura intercepted a pass in Oxy's end zone with the Kangaroos threatening midway through the second quarter.
"The defense was awesome with the takeaways tonight," Semones said. "I think that was the really the big thing was us being able to take the ball away and give our offense opportunities."
The Tigers have a bye week next weekend before opening SCIAC play against Redlands at Jack Kemp Stadium on Oct. 5 at 7 p.m.