The No. 21 University of Redlands football team headed north to George Fox University in Newberg, Oregon, for Saturday's non-conference showdown against the Bruins. Despite racking up 363 yards of offense and earning 22 first downs, the Bulldogs struggled to score and fell behind by 10 points early in the second quarter. Nonetheless, the Maroon and Gray rallied back to tie it up late in the third quarter, only to see it slip away on a Bruin field goal in a 10-13 decision.
After the Bruins scored once in each of the opening, two quarters, Redlands battled through a few tough drives to finally rebound with a pick-six by senior defensive back Daniel Gonzales (Mentone, CA) on a third-and-10 pass attempt. After hauling in the interception on the GFU 25-yard-line, he took it to the house to make it a 7-10 ball game, as the teams headed into the locker room for halftime.
A defensive battle ensued early in the second half, with neither team giving an easy inch of yardage. Sophomore defensive back Chad Virgil (Menifee, CA), junior defensive lineman Joe Munroe (Costa Mesa, CA), and junior defensive back DJ Hollingshead (Citrus Heights, CA) stepped up with critical tackles to limit George Fox's advance down the field. Gonzales made another grab to halt the Bruins at their own 15-yard line, which set up a 21-yard field-goal by junior kicker Nathan Hierlihy (Redondo Beach, CA).
With the score knotted at 10 apiece, the Redlands defense kept pressing in an effort to make something happen for the Maroon and Gray. Gonzales hauled in his third interception of the game to cut off GFU's next drive on just the second play. Unfortunately, the Bulldogs were not able to capitalize on that opportunity.
The Bruins managed to split the uprights one last time to start the fourth quarter with a slight 13-10 lead.
The Maroon and Gray's defense continued to work, as it forced GFU to punt on its first two drives of the final frame. Gonzales remained a defensive presence, while sophomore defensive lineman Alieu Corr (Banjul, The Gambia), junior linebacker Nick Castro (La Verne, CA), and senior linebacker Mitch Shepherd (Seattle, WA) came up with key stops.
But missed opportunities plagued the Bulldog offense in the final 15 minutes, as George Fox's defense stepped up to stifle any chance of a Redlands comeback, resulting in the 10-13 loss for the visiting team.
Defensively, sophomore defensive back PJ Wilson (Modesto, CA) and Castro paced the Maroon and Gray with eight tackles apiece.
Senior running back Alex Andrighetto (Portola Valley, CA) and senior wide receiver Cole Blackburn (Sammamish, WA) each provided an offensive highlight for the Bulldogs. Andrighetto carried the ball 30 times for 99 yards, while Blackburn hauled in 10 catches for 95 yards.
Following another bye, Redlands (1-1) faces Occidental College on Saturday, September 30, in the teams' first Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) game of the season. Kick-off is set for 7 p.m. in Eagle Rock.