FOREST GROVE – Simon Fraser bounced back from an 11-point third quarter deficit to come alive late, scoring 19 points in the fourth quarter and snuffing a late Pacific rally to complete a 36-28 come-from-behind victory over Pacific in both team's 2011 football season opener at Lincoln Park Stadium.
The Boxers (0-1) led 14-10 at halftime and built the advantage to 21-10 on a Jordan Fukumoto (So., Mililani, Hawaii) 36-yard touchdown reception early in third quarter. The Clan (1-0) responded with four unanswered touchdowns, taking the lead on 72-yard run by Bo Palmer with 11:12 left in the fourth quarter. Greg Bowcott scored the next two touchdowns made it a 36-21 lead when he strolled into the end zone on a two-yard run with 2:40 to go.
Pacific came back with a quick 1 minute, 57 second drive, cutting the deficit to seven points when Campbell found Matt Nyberg (Fr., Valencia, Calif.) 11-yard pass with 43 seconds left. The Boxers recovered the onside kick on the ensuing kickoff, taking over at midfield. Campbell worked quickly, finding Fukumoto for a 23-yard pass play, who then lateraled to Nyberg for nine more yards to put the ball on the Clan's 25-yard line with two seconds left.
Campbell found Fukumoto in the right corner of the end zone for the final play, but a high pass and solid coverage by the Simon Fraser defense kept the high-flying receiver from making the catch.
Head Coach Keith Buckley said he is impressed with the growth that his Pacific team has made from their start a year ago and the growth since camp began three weeks ago. "Going into halftime was a lead was definitely progress," he said. "We lost some juice in the second half against a bigger and stronger Division II team, but we should walk off the field with confidence that we have taken steps forward."
Campbell put together an impressive passing effort to begin his second season with the Boxers, completing 23 of 38 passes for 343 yards and two touchdowns.
Fukumoto made seven catches for 117 yards while Davis Jacobs (So., Tigard, Ore.) had 24 carries for 59 yards. The Boxers finished with 383 yards of total offense and dominated time of possession, holding onto the ball for over 41 minutes.
Bo Palmer led the potent Simon Fraser ground attack with 181 yards and two touchdowns, which included a breakout 72-yard run to begin the fourth quarter scoring frenzy. In all, 259 of the Clan's 311 yards came on the rush. Quarterback Trey Wheeler completed 6 of 14 passes for 52 yards.
Simon Fraser used their hurry-up offense to hurry into the end zone on the opening possession. The Clan used just 1 minute, 55 seconds to move down the field to set up Palmer for a 23-yard run to take the early 7-0 lead. The Pacific defense clamped down from there, allowing the Clan just one more score the rest of the half, which came on an Ian Sternau 27-yard field goal with 1:34 left in the first.
After a blocked field goal killed Pacific's first possession, Campbell marched the Boxers 58 yards on the next series. He found Gunther Schutze (So., Bellflower, Calif.) for a 9-yard touchdown pass to make it a 7-7 game. Campbell then found Blake Anthony (Fr., Valencia, Calif.) for a 39-yard strike on the next series, which set up Bryce Kershner (So., Jordan Valley, Ore.) for a two-yard run with 11:49 left in the second quarter. The Boxers would take that 14-10 lead into halftime.
"I was excited with the play that we had in the first and second quarters," Buckley said. "We had nearly 21 minutes of possession. We kept their offense off the field and kept our offense on. We kept plugging our way down the field and we did a good job of running."
After trading drives to open the second half, the Boxers started their third quarter scoring series when Devin Lagorio (So., Stockton, Calif.) recovered Trey Wheeler's fumble with 9:02 to go. The Boxers needed just two plays to take a 21-10 lead with Campbell finding Fukumoto for a 36-yard scoring pass with just over eight minutes left in the quarter.
Simon Fraser's string of four unanswered touchdowns started with the defense. Adam Berger scored when he intercepted Campbell and returned the ball 54 yards to cut the lead to 21-17.
In the fourth quarter, the Clan seemed to run on the Boxers at will, rushing for 145 yards in the final 15 minutes. Palmer gave Simon Fraser the lead when he found a hole to run 72 yards for the score at the 11:12 mark of the stanza. After forcing the Boxers into a three-and-out, the Clan used three plays to take the 29-21 lead on Bowcott's 8-yard run. After another Pacific three-and-out, the Clan marched off 50 yards in seven plays as Bowcott waltzed in on a 2-yard run for a 36-21 leaf with 2:40 remaining.
Pacific was not out of fight despite the two-touchdown deficit. Campbell quickly moved the Boxers down the field and found Nyberg for an 11-yard touchdown pass in the far left corner of the end zone with 43 seconds left. Moses Villareal-Gomez (Fr., Stockton, Ore.) successfully completed the onside kick on the ensuing kickoff, which was recovered by Lagorio at midfield.
A pair of incomplete passes put the Boxers in a fourth down situation, and Campbell came through when he found Fukumoto for a 23-yard pass. The receiver then made a head's up play, batting the lateral back to Nyberg on the fly to move the ball to Simon Fraser's 25-yard line. Campbell had two plays to try for the tie, but both passes came up incomplete.
Chris Santiago (Fr., Waipahu, Hawaii) led Pacific on defense, finishing with four tackles. Landon Aano (So., Ewa Beach, Hawaii) had the Boxers' lone sack while Tim Hastie (So., Auberry, Calif.) came up with a third quarter interception that eventually led to a touchdown. Kyle Miller had nine tackles to lead Simon Fraser. Justin Capicciotti had two sacks as the Clan knocked Campbell down six times on the day.
The Boxers return to the home field next weekend, entertaining Menlo under the lights on Saturday. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.
Simon Fraser Shuts Down Second Half Pacific Rally