A late failed point-after attempt by host Puget Sound and a Boxer defense that forced five turnovers led visiting Pacific to a 23-22 win over the host Loggers on Saturday in Tacoma.
The Boxers (3-3, 2-1 NWC) relied on an all-around team effort in the win and overcame a 14-7 halftime deficit in the win. Pacific senior quarterback J.T. Greenough completed 17 of 38 passes for 207 yards and two touchdowns. Sophomore running back Josh Harris ran the ball 17 times for 73 yards and a touchdown.
The Pacific defense slowed down a Puget Sound offense, who entered the game with 426.6 yards per game, forcing five turnovers including four interceptions. The four interceptions are the most by a Boxer defense since Pacific picked off five passes against the Loggers on October 12, 2013. Coming away with two of the interceptions was Jordan Hall along with Chase Hofmann and Declan Brown, who each had their first career interceptions.
"This group of guys just keeps battling. I am proud of their resiliency," said Pacific head coach Keith Buckley. "It was a rough first half but they came out playing for each other in the 2nd half and made the plays we needed to win the game. The defense continues to step up at big moments to change the field and the momentum of the game."
The Loggers (4-2, 2-1 NWC) nearly had rallied to tie the game, late in the fourth quarter, on a 14-yard touchdown passes with 6:45 left to play. The ensuing extra-point attempt by the PLU kicker failed. Later in the quarter, PLU marched down the field before interceptions by Hoffman and Hall ended drives.
Pacific got on the board, taking advantage of a 34-yard interception return by Brown for the first turnover of the day. Brown returned the interception to the seven yard line and two plays later, Greenough connected with Hayden Von Almen for an early 7-0 lead with 1:01 left in the first quarter. The Loggers answered with a 11 play, 75-yard drive to tie the game at 7. Then, later in the quarter, Puget Sound went ahead Murdock Rutledge completed four of his next eight passes including a 20-yard touchdown completion to Alvin Johnson for a 14-7 lead.
Pacific tied the game at 14, early in the third quarter, when the Boxers went five plays and 45-yards for a game-tying touchdown. On the drive, Greenough connected with Kainalu Reyes-Hackney for a 37-yard reception on 3rd and 13. Two plays later, Greenough connected with Ty Hargis for an 11-yard touchdown pass to tie the game.
A safety by the Loggers, later in the quarter, put Puget Sound ahead 16-14. Again, the Boxers had an answer with a two play, 50-yard drive that included a 19-yard pass completion between Greenough and Hargis and a 31-yard touchdown run by Josh Harris put Pacific ahead 20-16. Pacific extended its lead on its next offensive drive with a 22-yard field goal by Caden Almer after an 8 play, 57-yard drive.
The Loggers came back with an 11 play, 73-yard touchdown drive when Nick Bernhardt threw a 14-yard touchdown pass to Jewell Day. However, the point-after attempt came up short for what proved to be the difference in the game.
Next, Pacific will host Lewis & Clark for the annual homecoming tilt on Ledbetter Field at Hanson Stadium at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 20.