November 9, 2013

Redlands Football Clinches Share of SCIAC Title by Silencing Sagehens, 49-0

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With a total-team effort, the University of Redlands football team clinched at least a share of the 2013 Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) Championship with tonight's 49-0 victory over the visiting Sagehens of Pomona-Pitzer Colleges.  While shutting out the Sagehens for the second year in a row, the Bulldogs remain alone at the top of the standings with one more regular-season game to go.

The Maroon and Gray erupted for 21 points in the first and third quarters, scoring on three consecutive possessions during these frames.

After junior defensive back Curran Fudge (Oklahoma City, OK) returned the opening kick-off 68 yards to the Pomona-Pitzer 17-yard line, the Maroon and Gray took complete advantage of this great field position.  Senior running back Bobby Brown (Rancho Santa Margarita, CA) accounted for all four plays of the drive, culminating in a three-yard scamper into the end zone.

After senior kicker Kevin Grady (Seattle, WA) split the uprights, the Bulldogs led by a score of 7-0 with 13:01 remaining in the first frame.

The scoring frenzy continued with another exciting series for the Maroon and Gray, as junior quarterback Kevin Russell (Lacey, WA) connected with senior wide receiver Taylor Irwin (Rocklin, CA) on a 23-yard strike to move the ball to the Sagehen 14-yard line.  This was the fifth positive yardage play of the drive and previewed sophomore wide receiver Steven Herber's (Rancho Cucamonga, CA) impressive snag for a 14-yard scoring reception from Russell.

After the defense came up with the ball on a forced fumble by junior linebacker Michael Tootle (Las Vegas, NV) that was recovered by junior defensive lineman Jordan Bixler (Redlands, CA), the Bulldogs worked their way into the end zone for a 21-point lead.  Russell hit Herber on another impressive pass-play, this time going all the way to the five-yard line on a 37-yard bomb.  Brown eventually carried it to the house on a one-yard rush for the score. 

Early in the second quarter, the Bulldog defense once again came up with a big play, with junior defensive back DJ Dawson Jr. (Vallejo, CA) nabbing an interception to set up a touchdown.  This seven-play, 68-yard drive was bookended by 15-yard catches, one each by Irwin and senior wide receiverAaron Atkins, who capped off the drive by finding space in the end zone for the score.

After the chaotic fun of Take a Kid to the Game Night, which allowed kids to try out various football skills on the field, the Bulldogs put together three more scoring drives to seal the 49-point victory.

The Sagehens' opening drive of the second half came to an abrupt end with senior defensive back Stephen Reyes (Kinsgburg, CA) making a sweet grab for an interception, which gave the ball back to the Bulldogs on the Pomona-Pitzer 41-yard line.  Three plays later, Russell connected with Herber on another big pass, going 24 yards to the house on first-and-ten.

On Pomona-Pitzer's subsequent drive, the Maroon and Gray halted any chance of a momentum shift by stopping the Sagehens on fourth-and-four with a big tackle by Dawson.

Minutes later, Redlands faced third-and-18 from the Pomona-Pitzer 36-yard line.  However, Russell and Atkins fired up the Bulldog sideline with a stellar throw deep into the end zone, where Atkins calmly reeled in the catch for his second touchdown of the night.

Up 42-0, the Bulldogs continued to utilize as many players as possible, including a quartet of quarterbacks in the process.  In addition, the Maroon and Gray defense played nearly all options while giving up only 177 yards of total offense.

Redlands put the icing on the cake, when Fudge hauled in a pick-six from the Pomona-Pitzer 31-yard line.

Overall, Redlands racked up 435 total yards of offense, with Russell leading the charge.  He recorded 237 yards on a 14-for-20 showing without an interception.  He found nine different receivers, with Herber tallying 75 yards through the air and Atkins gaining 65.

On the ground, the Bulldogs relied on Brown to carry the bulk of the attempts with 15 carries for 65 yards.  Freshman running back Devin Appleton(San Jose, CA) added 49 yards on 10 carries.

Defensively, the Bulldogs gained a team-high six tackles from Tootle, senior defensive back Clayton Dobbs (Oakland, CA), and senior defensive lineman Daniel Kane (Covina, CA). 

Redlands (6-2, 6-0 SCIAC) welcomes the Poets of Whittier College to Ted Runner Stadium for Senior Day on Nov. 16 at 1 p.m.  The Poets grabbed their first win of the campaign earlier tonight, stunning Occidental College by a score of 59-52.  The Bulldogs look forward to closing out their home schedule with the opportunity to win the conference title outright in Saturday's regular-season finale.  

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