Box Score | Coach Buckley's Postgame Comments | Harms' Pick-6 | Campbell's "Duck" Pass To Fukumoto
FOREST GROVE – Pacific's defense made five interceptions to lead the Boxers on a historic Homecoming Saturday as the Boxers moved to 5-0 for the first time in school history with a 56-14 drubbing of Puget Sound in Northwest Conference football action at Lincoln Park Stadium.
The Boxers had four interceptions in the first half alone, including two on back-to-back Puget Sound plays in the first quarter. The effort led a day where the Boxers could do no wrong in the first 30 minutes, scoring 21 points in both the first and second quarters en route to a 42-0 halftime. In the process, Pacific's quarterback tandem of P.J. Minaya (Sr., Wahiawa, Hawaii) and T.C. Campbell (Jr., Kaimuki, Hawaii) combined to complete 16 of 17 passes.
With the win, Pacific improved to 5-0 for the first time in program history dating back to 1891. The Boxers' 2-0 NWC start is their best conference start since 1951.
Head Coach Keith Buckley acknowledged the record as an important milestone in the rebirth of the Pacific program. "We are proud that we have represented Pacific University in the way that we have this year," he said. "When we started the program, we set out to build a program that not just our kids but the Pacific community could be proud of. We have made great strides and have a long way to go, but 5-0 is great and as a team we are definitely proud of it."
Pacific outgained the Loggers offensively 443 yards to 281 yards as a quartet of Pacific quarterbacks combined for 309 yards and five touchdowns. Campbell was a perfect 7 of 7 for 137 yards and two touchdowns, while Minaya completed 9 of 10 for 101 yards and three scores. Neither saw action in the second half.
Jordan Fukumoto (Jr., Mililani, Hawaii) caught seven passes for 103 yards and a pair of touchdowns while James Berry (Jr., Belmont, Calif.) had three catches for 67 yards and a score. Gunther Schultze (Sr., Bellflower, Calif.) led a strong Pacific rushing attack with 44 yards on six carries. Bronson Barretto (So., Mililani, Hawaii) had eight carries for 33 yards and a touchdown.
Moses Villareal-Gomez (Jr., Stockton, Calif.) tied his own school record by making all eight point-after attempts he kicked. The junior also had eight PAT conversions in last year's contest at Puget Sound. The team's five interceptions, meanwhile, is the best since a school record effort of seven picks against Whitman back in 1962.
For Puget Sound (1-3, 0-2 NWC), Braden Foley completed 18 of 23 for 175 yards and two touchdowns, but was intercepted three times. Kevin Miller caught eight passes for 86 yards and a touchdown while Kupono Park rushed 18 times for 61 yards. Penalties cut the Loggers badly with 12 called for a total of 165 yards.
The near perfect first half was a stark difference from the Boxers' last three games, which saw the team scrambling a bit in the first 30 minutes. "That first half all of the way around, offensively, defensively and on special teams, was pretty clean," Buckley said. "In two of our first five games we didn't play well in the first half and we had to come back and turn it on in the second half. We set a goal to come out from the on-set and put the pedal to the metal and go. I think, across the board, everyone came out and did that well."
The Pacific defense successfully held Puget Sound on their first series, which started on a Loggers' fumble recovery at their own 41-yard line. With the ball at the Pacific 34-yard line, Sawyer Petre was brought out to try and tie his school record 51-yard field goal from last weekend. This time, the attempt fell well short.
Pacific took advantage, taking over four minutes to drive 66 yards. Minaya completed the drive by finding Fukumoto for a 13-yard touchdown pass at the 5:20 mark.
The Boxers' offense kicked into high gear from there. On the second play of the next drive, Brandon Harms (Jr., Canby, Ore.) made a juggling interception that he returned 23 yards for the touchdown. On the Loggers next play from scrimmage, Bryan Mills (Sr., Imbler, Ore.) made the first of his two interceptions at the Puget Sound 36-yard line. That set up a short three-play drive that culminated on Minaya's nine-yard scoring pass to Bryce Kershner (Sr., Jordan Valley, Ore.) that put the Boxers up 21-0 with 3:10 left in the first quarter.
Mills used his second interception of the game to set-up the Boxers' first second quarter touchdown, which Campbell completed with a 40-yard scoring pass to Berry at the 8:38 mark. Puget Sound was well into Pacific territory on their next drive, only to watch Jaquari People (So., Merced, Calif.) stunt the drive with Boxers' fourth interception of the game. Campbell then marched the Boxers' 93 yards, ending the drive on a 48-yard touchdown pass to Fukumoto to make it 35-0 with 1:42 left.
Pacific forced a punt on the Loggers' next series, and Harms' 29-yard return put the Boxers in great position for one more first half score. Minaya closed the two-play drive out with a 22-yard touchdown pass to Schultze with 39 seconds left, allowing the Boxers the commanding 42-0 halftime lead.
The Boxers played few of their starters in the second half, and Puget Sound took advantage to score their first touchdown on the opening drive of the stanza. Foley ended the 61-yard drive with a 12-yard scoring pass to Kevin Miller with just three minutes gone. Warner Shaw (So., Waimea, Hawaii) then marched the Boxers through a nine-play, 63-yard drive that milked six minutes off the clock. Barretto rushed seven times in the drive, including a one-yard scoring run that put the Boxers up 49-7 with 5:57 left in the frame.
Puget Sound scored again on their first possession in the fourth quarter, with Foley finding Brennan Schon for a 25-yard touchdown pass with 10:46 to go. Pacific would tally another score late with Colby Ruark (Fr., Clarkston, Wash.) running in for four yards with 2:16 to go to make it a 56-14 game.
Fittingly enough, the game ended on an interception as Alex McGann (Fr., Molalla, Ore.) picked off Hans Fortune on the goal line with 26 seconds left for the Boxers' fifth pick of the day.
Tim Hastie (Sr., Auberry, Calif.) led the spectacular Pacific defense effort with six tackles. Mills had four tackles to go along with his two interceptions. Kamu Morita (Sr., Honolulu, Hawaii) and Chase Rogers (Jr., Lahaina, Hawaii) also had four tackles each in the victory. Chris Beaulaurier led Puget Sound with eight tackles.
The road for Pacific will be tough over the second half of the season. The Boxers travel to Puyallup, Wash., next weekend to face No. 15 ranked Pacific Lutheran. Kickoff is scheduled for 12:30 p.m. The game can be heard live in the Portland area on 1360 AM KUIK and worldwide via a live Internet webcast at GoBoxers.com.
BOXER BYTES: As part of the Homecoming festivities, an alumni choir sang the national anthem. Inductees into the Pacific University Athletic Hall of Fame were honored at halftime, as was the Gamma Sigma fraternity, which celebrated its 150th anniversary at Homecoming…After losing twice to Puget Sound in the first year of the reinstated program (2010) the Boxers have beat the Loggers in three straight games…Today's game marked the third time this season that Pacific has scored 30 or more points. The Boxers have eclipsed the 50-point plateau three times in the last two seasons…Pacific wore pink shirts during warm-ups and pink armbands during the game in recognition of the Pacific Student-Athlete Advisory Council's Breast Cancer Awareness Week. S-AAC sold T-shirts during Homecoming, with proceeds benefited the Knight Cancer Institute at Oregon Health Sciences University.