/seasons/2011/contrib/20120311mcxojm

TIGERS WIN TURNOVER BATTLE AND GAME

More news about: Occidental
By Michael Wells
Sports Information Director

 

LOS ANGELES, Calif. – On fourth and one with just under seven minutes left in the game, the Occidental College football team's passing attack did what they've done all season: Come up with big plays down the stretch.

With a battered running game struggling on the ground, quarterback Luke Collis (Pasadena, CA) found Ryan Rodriguez (Oakley, CA) in the end zone for a 27-yard touchdown, giving the Tigers (4-3) a 10-point lead and some breathing room in a 27-17 win over Chapman University.

"Huge play. It really wasn't designed for Rodriguez we were just trying to get a first down," Occidental coach Dale Widolff said. "We were trying to leak the back out, they covered it and Luke just made a great decision and a great throw."

Tigers running back Wes McDaniel (Richmond, VA) was limited offensively with a bad knee and backup quarterback Samuel Crizer (Los Osos, CA)—who Oxy leaned on for a handful of carries to eat the clock in the second half on Saturday — had left the game a play earlier with an injury, making the crucial fourth and short even more challenging. But Collis found the team leader in receptions and Oxy picked up their first home win of the season on homecoming, in front of the largest crowd at Jack Kemp Stadium this season.

"It felt good especially with no home wins yet all year and with all the alums back," Rodriguez said. "Just to get the win and close it out felt good."

Chapman out-possessed, out-gained and generally was more efficient than the Tigers on offense, but Oxy managed to turn the Panthers over four times—two fumbles and two interceptions. Justin Garza (Newburry Park, CA) forced a fumble in the first half and Jordan Lance (San Diego) had the other interception during Chapman's last stab at a desperation comeback late in the fourth.

"That was the key to the game. They win the yardage game, the win the time of possession game. …They're wearing us out," Widolff said. "Everything's kind of going their way, but we created some turnovers and they gave up the ball a couple times on their own."

The usual suspects were at it again for Oxy offensively, with Collis throwing for 271 yards and three touchdowns and Matthew Tuckness (Alamo, CA) pulling down three receptions for 93 yards and a score, but it was freshman Samuel Stekol (Manhattan Beach, CA) that took advantage of his opportunities in the second half, with key receptions in the second half.

"We like him, we like his talent, he's a good practice player and we think he has a great upside," Widolff said. "It was nice to see him do it on the field. He played big for a freshman."

Stekol, who ended up with six catches for 68 yards, had four receptions on the Tigers go-ahead scoring drive, including a crucial fourth down reception that kept the drive alive.

"It started with the line really. Collis had plenty of time and I was able to make some catches," said Stekol, who replaced the injured Will Stanton (Hanford, CA) in the Tigers four wide receiver lineup. "We had a lot of guys hurt this week so it feels good to be able to step up.

The Tigers, while they played turnover free football, weren't without a few problems they have hampered them a bit this season. Oxy struggled stopping the run and moving the ball on the ground themselves. The Tigers ran for 69 yards on 22 carries and gave up 208 on 42.

Matthew Tuckness had a 69-yard touchdown reception to setup Oxy's first scoring drive and a 21-yard TD catch to start the second half, bringing his SCIAC-best touchdown reception total to

Oxy is back on the field next weekend taking on Claremont-Mudd-Scripps in a crucial game for third place.

Oct. 14: All times Eastern
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Mount Ida 14, at Dean 7
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at Ferrum 34, LaGrange 20
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Ohio Northern 27, at John Carroll 20
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Baldwin Wallace 23, at Muskingum 20
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at Mount Union 72, Capital 14
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Rose-Hulman 44, at Manchester 13
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Williams 27, at Middlebury 26
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Marietta 43, at Wilmington 33
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Bethel 24, at Gustavus Adolphus 3
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Whitworth 17, at Pacific Lutheran 14
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at Cal Lutheran 42, Claremont-Mudd-Scripps 20
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at Delaware Valley 49, King's 14
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at Cortland 20, Alfred 17
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at Wesley 29, Kean 9
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Frostburg State 59, at William Paterson 7
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at Wittenberg 49, Allegheny 15
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at Brockport 48, Morrisville State 7
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Washington and Jefferson 49, at Bethany 14
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Ohio Wesleyan 16, at Wabash 13
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at Mount Union 72, Capital 14
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at Wartburg 42, Loras 11
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at Berry 34, Hendrix 10
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Springfield 35, at Merchant Marine 13
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at Mary Hardin-Baylor 65, Howard Payne 0
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St. John's 35, at Carleton 0
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at Illinois Wesleyan 30, Carroll 0
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Concordia-Moorhead 45, at Hamline 0
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Case Western Reserve 63, at Thiel 28
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UW-Oshkosh 28, at UW-Platteville 14
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Linfield 49, at Lewis and Clark 14
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at George Fox 58, Willamette 12
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Hardin-Simmons 35, at Sul Ross State 10
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at Wheaton (Ill.) 42, North Central (Ill.) 20
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Gettysburg at Johns Hopkins
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