APU records another huge win during Homecoming, shutting out the Simon Fraser Clan
The Cougars ended homecoming week on a high note with a huge win against the Simon Fraser Clan. Azusa Pacific football was able to keep their Great Northwest Athletic Conference opponent from scoring any points, with the final being 61-0 in favor of the Cougars. This was the first time APU has shutout a GNAC opponent at home since entering the NCAA Division II in 2012.
After beating Simon Fraser 83-7 in a record-breaking performance earlier this season, the Cougars would dominate the Clan again. This season alone, the Cougars have outscored Simon Fraser by a total of 144-7.
In the first quarter, the Cougars offense came out strong. Senior quarterback Andrew Elffers connected to sophomore wide receiver Weston Carr for two touchdowns within the first 12 minutes of the game. Elffers also had a rushing touchdown of his own in the first. The Cougar defense was also putting on show, forcing Simon Fraser’s punter to come out three times in the first quarter alone. The Clan was also forced to sacrifice a safety, ending the first quarter at 23-0.
Elffers credits the practices and extra work put in to their success on the field during games.
“I’m always grabbing my receivers and all these guys after practice to get more work in, and that’s where we build the chemistry. I am trusting that they’re going to be in that spot, even if my vision is blinded,” Elffers said. “I love throwing to Weston [Carr]. He just creates great separation, and he has such a high football IQ.”
After a 10-catch, 178 yards and two touchdown performance, Carr finished in eighth all-time in APU football for receptions.
“It’s exciting to know that I am in the top 10, but we just want to be able to keep the offense rolling,” Carr said. “It’s especially nice to have a quarterback who has the experience and knows what to expect from the game and from me.”
The second quarter brought about a little bit of a lull for the Cougars up until the end. Junior running back Kurt Scoby ran the ball into the end zone in the 12th minute of the quarter, putting the Cougars up by 30 points. Elffers would then find redshirt-freshman wide receiver Jordan Bogardus in the end zone with just five seconds left on the clock, thus entering halftime with 37 points on the board.
The Cougars’ defense racked up eight sacks against Simon Fraser. Senior defensive end Jason Schwartz had recorded three of those sacks against the Clan, a personal career best.
“We had great coverage from our defensive backs. It made our job up front really easy. They say that the best pass rush is a good coverage, and we had all the time in the world to get in there thanks to the guys in the back,” Schwartz said.
The Cougar defense held Simon Fraser to only 122 yards of total offense. In addition, APU eliminated the entire Simon Fraser run game, as they held the Clan at negative 54 yards rushing on the night.
After halftime, once again, Elffers hit Bogardus for a 19-yard touchdown. Elffers, along with many other APU starters, soon exited the game to minimize injury. After throwing for 247 yards on the day, Elffers became only the second QB in APU history to throw for over 2,000 yards in consecutive seasons.
Redshirt-freshman Tyrone Williams Jr. took over at quarterback for APU in the third, and the Cougars were able to work their way down the field, but the drive stalled in the red zone. Junior kicker Jacob Hall came in for a 24-yard field goal, which would be his first non-extra point kick, and giving the Cougars a 47-0 lead.
The final quarter also brought in Azusa’s last quarterback for the night. Senior Preston Campbell stepped in and ran the ball into the end zone for his own touchdown. The last scoring play was a 13-yard rush from sophomore running back Ray Riley.
The Cougars enter into a new week with Central Washington as their next foe. APU lost to them earlier in the season in a rollercoaster of a game, losing by only one point. The matchup will be next Saturday at 1 p.m. in Ellensburg, Wash..
“We’re hungry, and we’re not just hungry for today. We can’t ebb and flow in our preparation, and that has been the biggest learning point during practices. We’re going to work really hard to be the best us,” head coach Victor Santa Cruz said.