Azusa Pacific’s football team (3-2, 3-1) stretched their lead to 15 in the fourth quarter—the largest lead of the game—before they collapsed within the final minutes. The Cougars narrowly escaped the Western Oregon Wolves’ (2-3, 2-2) comeback and held on for the 34-32 win.
Junior RB Terrell Watson bounced back after an off performance against the Central Washington Wildcats in which he rushed for a total of 40 yards on 13 carries. He continued where he left off in the previous weeks, rushing 28 times for 109 yards and a touchdown.
Senior QB Dasmen Stewart led the Cougars offense, going 16-of-23 passing for 191 yards and ran the ball 11 times for 90 yards and two touchdowns. Stewart’s scrambling ability complimented Watson’s running ability to keep the defense guessing.
Senior LB Sean Barber had another career game, finishing with 16 total tackles and two forced fumbles in the game. This is the third consecutive week that Barber had a career performance, either tying or passing his career-high in tackles. The third turnover the Cougars caused was a forced fumble by sophomore LB Matthew Hackett.
The Cougars opening drive resulted in a 40-yard field goal from sophomore kicker Jamie Cacciatore. The ensuing kickoff, Wolves’ junior DB Patrick Tepea returned the kick for a 90-yard touchdown to gain their only lead of the game. The extra point was blocked and the Wolves were up 6-3.
Another Cougar field goal from Cacciatore knotted the game up 6-6. In the second play of the Wolves’ next drive, junior quarterback Kyle Bergman fumbled the football and APU’s junior DL Pasiaka Fahina recovered it at the 9-yard line. The following play was a 9-yard rushing TD for Watson, making the score 13-6.
Defensive plays such as the mentioned forced fumble opened plays for the Cougars for the majority of the game.
With seven minutes in the fourth quarter, the defensive play of the Cougars opened opportunities for the Wolves.
The drive directly after the 26-yard Cacciatore field goal that stretched the Cougars lead to 15 was a 14-play, 80-yard drive for the Wolves that resulted in a 6-yard touchdown pass from Bergman to senior wide receiver Antoinne Wafer.
The Wolves then recovered their own onside kick and drove 54 yards down the field in nine plays for a 23-yard touchdown pass to junior wide receiver Tyrell Williams. The two-point conversion resulted in a pass attempt from Bergman that fell incomplete and the Cougars held on to the lead for a two-point victory.
The Cougars’ game this Saturday is their Homecoming game at Citrus Stadium. They are set to host Simon Fraser at 6:30 p.m.