Willamette Rolls Up 690 Yards, as Bearcats Move Past Puget Sound, 62-20

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TACOMA, Wash. -- Willamette University rolled up 690 yards of total offense with 345 rushing yards and 345 passing yards, as the Bearcats moved past the University of Puget Sound, 62-20, in a Northwest Conference game on Saturday, Nov. 16.

Taylor Wyman (Jr., RB/P) led the rushing attack with 15 carries for 140 yards and four touchdowns. He scored on runs of 8, 1 and 4 yards, before covering 79 yards on his final touchdown in the third quarter.

Josh Dean (Sr., QB) controlled the passing game, completing 25 of 41 attempts for 345 yards and three touchdowns. Dean also carried the ball 18 times for 92 yards, including one touchdown.

Willamette finished the season at 7-2 overall, 4-2 (3rd place) in the NWC. Puget Sound ended the year at 1-8, 0-6 in the NWC.

Dean concluded the year with 192 completions on 303 attempts (63.4%) for 2,489 yards and 28 touchdowns. He ended the day with 468 career pass completions on 729 attempts for 5,877 yards and 62 touchdowns -- mostly in two years as a starter.

The career numbers, although impressive, are not Willamette records, which were set by Todd Greenough (1984-88, 571 of 1,024 for 7,872 yards) and John Horner (1990-93, 74 TDs).

Tyson Giza (Sr., CB) played on offense, defense and special teams. The cornerback registered four tackles and broke up a pass on defense. He played wide receiver on offense, and caught 6 passes for 129 yards, including the game's opening touchdown on a 45-yard catch. Giza returned two kickoffs for 62 yards (31.0 avg.).

Jack Nelson (Jr., ILB) led the WU defense with 10 total tackles (9 unassisted), plus 3.0 tackles for losses, one quarterback sack for 11 yards, and one interception. For the season, Nelson achieved a team-high 112 total tackles, while leading the team with 67 unassisted tackles and 45 assists. He tied for the team lead with 9.5 tackles for losses.

The Bearcats needed just over a minute to score the game's first touchdown. Dean rushed for a total of five yards on the first two plays, then threw a 25-yard pass to Giza. On the next play, Dean connected with Giza again for 45 yards and a touchdown with 13:57 on the clock. Kyle Derby (Sr., PK/P) kicked the extra point, giving WU a 7-0 lead.

Puget Sound took the ensuing kickoff and drove from its own 33 until the Loggers earned 1st-and-goal at the WU 5-yard line.

On first down, Kupono Park carried the ball for two yards to the 3-yard line, then gained just one yard on second down and one yard on third down. Tyler Ropp (Fr., DL), who tackled Park on third down, stopped him for no gain on fourth down at the 1-yard line.

Willamette responded with a 10-play, 99-yard drive to take a 14-0 lead. Dean was 5 for 5 passing for 55 yards during the drive. The big play was a 37-yard pass to Derek Traeger (Jr., WR) that brought the ball to the UPS 16. Dean rushed for 29 yards on two carries during the drive, including a 13-yard touchdown run.

The Bearcats added another touchdown on their third possession. The drive covered 11 plays and 70 yards, and ended with an 8-yard scoring jaunt by Wyman with 13:58 remaining in the half.

Connor Savage of Puget Sound blocked the extra point, which bounced up perfectly for Roy Fuchigami, who returned the ball. Derby tracked into Willamette territory to stop Fuchigami near the 30-yard line to prevent a two-point defensive score.

Puget Sound put up its first points of the game on a 6-yard pass from Braden Foley to Dustin Harrison with 5:11 left in the first half. The extra point by Sawyer Petre was blocked by Nikk Ryan (Fr., DL), leaving WU with a 20-6 advantage.

Willamette took charge of the game with two scores in the final 2:18 of the second quarter. The first score was achieved on a 1-yard run by Wyman to complete a 68-yard drive. The possession might have ended on the first play, but Ryan recovered a fumble at the WU 27.

It also could have ended after three plays, but on 3rd-and-12 from the WU 30, Dean sent a pass to Traeger for 20 yards to the midfield stripe. Two plays later, Dean connected with Austin Jones (Fr., WR) for 28 yards. A penalty two plays later led to 2nd-and-13 at the UPS 22. Dean hit Giza for 21 yards, and Wyman scored on the next play.

Four plays after the kickoff, Foley was sacked by Kyle Davey (Sr., DL) at the Puget Sound 45-yard line to return the ball to Willamette on downs.

On the second play, an interception by UPS was wiped out by a defensive holding penalty, giving WU 1st-and-10 at the Loggers' 28. After an incomplete pass, Giza made a 17-yard reception to the UPS 11. On 3rd-and-3 from the 4-yard line, Wyman scored his third touchdown of the half with 20 seconds on the clock. Derby's PAT increased the lead to 34-6.

Although UPS tallied the first points of the second half on a 3-yard pass from Foley to Brennan Schon, the Bearcats continued to pull away in the third quarter.

WU offset the touchdown by Schon with a 14-yard touchdown catch by Traeger at the 5:32 mark. After forcing a punt near midfield, the Bearcats quickly scored again. On the second play, Wyman dashed 79 yards to the end zone for his fourth touchdown of the afternoon. Derby kicked the extra point and the Bearcats led 48-13.

The teams combined for three scores in the final period. Foley threw a 6-yard touchdown pass to Harrison with 11:58 left for UPS. Traeger hauled in his second touchdown pass of the day for WU with 9:56 remaining on a 16-yard throw from Dean. Zackery Chang (Fr., RB) scored for Willamette with 3:27 to go on a 6-yard run.

Traeger led all receivers with 11 catches for 141 yards and two touchdowns for the Bearcats.

While Willamette amassed 690 offensive yards, the Bearcat defense limited Puget Sound to 300 yards. Foley was 23 of 41 passing for 212 yards, three touchdowns and one interception. Harrison led the Loggers with 8 catches for 65 yards, while Park rushed 14 times for 59 yards.

Nelson's 10 tackles led a solid day for the WU defense. The Bearcats recorded eight quarterback sacks (48 yards) and 12 tackles for losses (56 yards). WU also forced two turnovers with the interception by Nelson and a fumble recovery by Tait Stephens (Sr., S).

The Bearcats outscored their nine opponents 370 to 266, as Willamette averaged 41.1 points per game. WU gained 2,551 passing yards during the season, and rushed for 1,696 yards and 4.7 yards per rush. The Bearcats attained 4,247 total yards, an average of 471.9 yards per game.

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