With the offense firing on all cylinders and the defense continuing to impress, the University of Redlands football team cruised to a 34-6 victory over Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Colleges on Saturday. With the win, the Bulldogs remain at the top of the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) standings with a 5-0 record and two games to go in the regular season.
After the defense forced CMS to punt on its opening drive, the Bulldogs got the ball back on their own 45-yard line. Three rushes for 21 total yards by senior running back Bobby Brown (Rancho Santa Margarita, CA) set up an exciting 34-yard touchdown catch by senior wide receiver Taylor Irwin (Rocklin, CA).
Midway through the second quarter, junior quarterback Kevin Russell (Lacey, WA) found Irwin again, this time on the first play of the drive for 64 yards to the house. Senior kicker Kevin Grady's (Seattle, WA) point-after-try split the uprights to put Redlands out in front by a score of 14-0.
The Bulldogs' next possession also led to a Russell-Irwin combination but the scoring strike was the culmination a 10-play, 65-yard drive. Russell also found Brown, senior wide receiver Sam Angelo (Woodinville, WA), and senior wide receiver Aaron Atkins (Fallbrook, CA) for a total of 55 yards, while Brown and freshman running back Devin Appleton (San Jose, CA) solidified the ground attack with carries of 14 and 11 yards, respectively.
Redlands entered the locker room with a 21-0 advantage, allowing the team to utilize its depth in the second half while continuing to compete at high level.
On CMS' second drive of the third quarter, the Bulldog defense showed its tenacity with a big stop on third and two on the Stags' own 32-yard line.
This set the stage for the Maroon and Gray's subsequent possession, during which Russell, Brown, and Irwin combined efforts to move the ball down field before giving way to a 20-yard catch by sophomore wide receiver Stephen Rodriguez (Brentwood, CA). Appleton then capped off the Bulldogs' fourth scoring drive with a 39-yard run into the end zone, resulting in a comfortable 27-0 lead with 2:48 remaining in the third quarter.
While taking advantage of opportunity and playing plenty of Bulldogs, the team saw great contributions from many of its reserves. One such highlight was the 14-play, 95-yard drive for a touchdown late in the fourth frame. Sophomore quarterback Mitch Samson (Orangevale, CA) unleashed a 32-yard pass to freshman wide receiver Blake Murphy (Lake Forest, CA) before finding senior wide receiver Daniel Davis (Seattle, WA) for 10 yards. Finally, the excitement continued with freshman running back Taku Shiozaki (Seattle, WA) carrying the ball three times for 23 yards, including an 11-yard touchdown rush.
Despite CMS' last-second touchdown, the Bulldogs left no doubt as to what they accomplished in today's contest, as shared by Irwin in a quick post-game interview. While playing only the first half, Irwin finished with 155 yards on eight receptions for three touchdowns. He averaged 19.5 yards per catch.
Russell amassed 257 yards through the air, going 15-for-23 without an interception.
Overall, the defensive line of seniors Daniel Kane (Covina, CA), Sean Woods (Victorville, CA), Steven Locke Jr. (Barstow, CA) continues to set the tone as a formidable crew of competitors, raising the bar for the team's standard of success each game.
Furthermore, the Bulldog secondary stepped up with a pair of interceptions, including one on the goal-line to halt the Stags' early-game scoring effort. Sophomore defensive back Connor Hoffman (Tustin, CA) and senior defensive back Stephen Reyes (Kingsburg, CA) each came up with big nabs for the Maroon and Gray.
Junior linebacker Michael Tootle (Las Vegas, NV) led the Bulldogs with 11 total tackles.
Finally, freshman punter Christian Dirksen (Ontario, CA) remained steady as the team's punter, landing two of his three punts inside the 20-yard line.
Redlands (5-2, 5-0 SCIAC) hosts Pomona-Pitzer Colleges on November 16 for Take a Kid to the Game Night, during which all kids and all adults accompanied by a child receive free admission. Kickoff against the Sagehens is set for 7 p.m. in Ted Runner Stadium.