CLAREMONT — No quarterback, no problem.
Without injured All-SCIAC quarterback Tommy Edwards, freshman Bryan Scott filled in nicely, Kwame Do had a huge game on the ground and Samuel Stekol had no issues getting open in a 38-30 comeback win over Claremont-Mudd-Scripps at Zinda Field on Saturday.
The Tigers improve to .500 overall (2-2) and in SCIAC play (1-1). CMS falls to 1-3 and 0-2.
Oxy fell behind 22-7 at halftime before its defense forced three turnovers that led to 31 unanswered points in the second half. CMS added a late touchdown and a two-point conversion with 36 seconds left, but did not recover the onside kick.
"In the first half we didn't execute, we were dropping passes and we just didn't play our best football," Oxy coach Doug Semones said. "In the second half, we took the ball away three times, got three key four-down stops and Kwame Do was unbelievable."
Teran Mawhinney made the play that swung the momentum, intercepting a pass and taking it back 42 yards for a touchdown ruining CMS' opening possession of the second half. Shay Mueller broke up the pass, the ball kicked off the receiver's heel and Mawhinney snagged it and took off.
Later in the third quarter, Oxy recovered a fumbled in CMS territory and Matthew Malos intercepted another pass and returned it 62 yards.
Each time the Tigers got the Stags to cough up the ball, Oxy's offense turned the opportunities into points. Do, who had 120 of his career-high 145 rushing yards in the second half, broke loose for an 18-yard score that put Oxy up 24-22 following the fumble. After Malos' pick, Scott finished a short-field drive with a 5-yard touchdown run.
Do's second touchdown run was an 18-yarder that gave Oxy a 38-22 lead and all but iced the game with 1:56 left in the fourth quarter.
Scott, who was the third string quarterback getting mostly scout-team reps just over a week ago, earned the starting job and thrived. The rookie was 19-38 for 222 yards with a touchdown and one interception, and added 43 rushing yards on seven carries. He found six different receivers, includingCordell Harris four times for 44 yards and Samuel Crizer three times for 29.
And if anyone was wondering how Stekol might be affected with Edwards out, the answer was clear on Oxy's very first play. Scott hit Stekol in stride, but the usually sure-handed star dropped a would-be touchdown. Later in the same drive, Stekol made up for it by making an athletic grab on an 18-yard fade route in the end zone for Oxy's first and only score of the first half. The junior finished with six catches for 105 yards. His longest reception was a 38-yarder.
CMS scored on four long, steady drives of at least 56 yards in the first half. Steven Kohr finished CMS' first drive with a 29-yard touchdown run, Sean Mckaveny found Ryan Farney for a 17-yarder late in the first quarter, Matthew Aven hit a 41-yard field goal at the beginning of the second quarter and Mckaveny found Greg Wilson for a four-yard touchdown with 4:42 left in the first half.
Oxy got a boost from having its two regular starting middle linebackers in the lineup for the first time since Week 1. After missing consecutive games, Matthew Matulaitis had 12 tackles and Ross Fiegenerled Oxy with 13. Mawhinney added 10 and Tommy Kim had eight. Dallas Gosselin had a sack for a two-yard loss.
Oxy gets ready to host the undefeated Chapman Panthers in its homecoming game on Oct. 19 at Jack Kemp Stadium at 7 p.m.