December 12, 2011

RESILIENT TIGERS TEAM FINISHES 2011 SEASON

More news about: Occidental
By Michael Wells
Sports Information Director
 

LOS ANGELES — The 2011 Occidental College football team won't go down as one of the elite Oxy teams that have made the program the class of the SCIAC over the last 30 years, but the 2011 Oxy squad can certainly lay its claim as one of the more resilient.

Led by senior quarterback Luke Collis, a pair of standout wide receivers, and a playmaking defensive back, the Tigers overcame three fourth quarter deficits and were a perfect 4-0 on the road, finishing the year 5-4 overall and 3-3 (third place) in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.

It was a 42-40 home loss to the University of Redlands on Oct. 22 though that 30th year head coach Dale Widolff said best represented the character of the team.

Oxy came into the game clear underdogs and despite two interceptions, a blocked punt a missed field goal and a missed point after touchdown, they still had the ball and a chance to send the game into overtime with 10 seconds left.

But after pulling within two on a 21-yard Collis touchdown pass to junior Matthew Tuckness, the two point conversion attempt to freshman Teran Mawhinney fell incomplete along with the improbable comeback.

Had they won, the Tigers would have finished tied with the Bulldogs for second place and set up a championship game in the season finale against Cal Lutheran University.

DATE OPPONENT RESULT STORY PHOTOS VIDEO RECAP
Sept. 10, 2011 @ Puget Sound W, 30-12 Full Story Album  
Sept. 17, 2011 Menlo L, 41-17 Full Story Album  
Oct. 1, 2011 @ Whittier  W, 31-17 Full Story Album Highlights
Oct. 8, 2011 La Verne L, 30-21 Full Story Album Highlights
Oct. 15, 2011 @ Pomona-Pitzer W, 42-35 Full Story Album Highlights
Oct. 22, 2011 Redlands L, 42-40 Full Story Album Highlights
Oct. 29, 2011 Chapman W, 27-17 Full Story Album Highlights
Nov. 5, 2011 Claremont-Mudd-Scripps W, 35-31 Full Story Album
Nov. 12, 2011 Cal Lutheran L, 70-20 Full Story Album  

Oxy fell behind, had things go the wrong way but didn't quit in a performance that Widolff said was indicative of the Tigers character all season.

"It says a lot about the character of the team. Even though it's not a moral victory, I thought our effort against Redlands was outstanding," Widolff said. "This was one of the most tight knit groups I've had in my 30-plus years at Occidental."

Besides coming up short on that occasion and a few others, the Tigers still managed to fend off their two biggest rivals.

Oxy beat Pomona-Pitzer 42-35 on Oct. 15 in the "Battle of the Drum," Southern California's longest standing college football rivalry, and Whittier College 31-17 on Oct. 1 to keep the "Shoes" trophy.

The Tigers had no problem moving the ball through the air this season; they just struggled stopping it on the ground. The Tigers were sixth in the SCIAC in run defense, surrendering 219 yards per game.

Offensively, Oxy's top rated passing attack outgained any other SCIAC school by 70 yards per game.

Collis led the league in passing, Tuckness ranked in the top five in the nation with 14 touchdown receptions and junior Ryan Rodriguez caught more passes than anyone in the conference.

Senior defensive back Ayrton Bates was second in the league in interceptions and forced fumbles often bailing out the Tigers late and holding together a battered secondary that had player after player go down with injuries.

With starters Nate ProulxAdam DiBenedetto and Carter Norfleet all missing significant time throughout the season, Bates accounted for eight turnovers — five interceptions and three forced fumbles — including a pair of picks in the fourth quarter to beat Claremont-Mudd-Scripps 35-31 on the road Nov. 5.

"Defensively we overcame injuries, especially in the secondary," Widolff said. "We forced turnovers so that was helpful and Bates had maybe the play of the year with that interception in the end zone."

Kevin May, one of the team's best defenders as a LB/DB, missed all but the first game of the year due to injury.

Six Oxy players — three on offense and three on defense — were named All-SCIAC.

Collis, Rodriguez and Tuckness earned the distinction on offense and Bates, junior defensive lineman Casey Shibuya and senior linebacker Greg Holsworth were recognized on defense. Collis, Tuckness and Bates made the first team.

Holsworth, who spent most of his career as a team captain on defense, stepped in halfway through the season to fill the Tigers need at tight end playing both ways. Against Claremont-Mudd-Scripps, the senior had a pair of catches, one a crucial third down conversion in the fourth quarter.

Sep. 1: All times Eastern
7:00 PM
Coast Guard at Anna Maria
7:00 PM
Defiance at Baldwin Wallace
Live Stats
7:00 PM
Washington and Lee at Johns Hopkins
7:30 PM
Trine at Manchester
8:00 PM
Millsaps at Belhaven
Sep. 2: All times Eastern
TBA
Muhlenberg at Wilkes
6:00 PM
Mass-Dartmouth at Mount Ida
6:00 PM
Delaware Valley at Wesley
7:00 PM
N.C. Wesleyan at Stevenson
7:00 PM
Western New England at Springfield
7:00 PM
Fitchburg State at Becker
Video Live Stats
7:00 PM
Albright at Salisbury
7:00 PM
WPI at MIT
7:00 PM
Salve Regina at Worcester State
7:00 PM
Bridgewater State at Curry
7:00 PM
Morrisville State at St. Lawrence
10:00 PM
Adrian at Pacific
Sep. 3: All times Eastern
TBA
Endicott at Framingham State
TBA
Kean at Christopher Newport
TBA
King's at Moravian
Live Stats
TBA
Lebanon Valley at Franklin and Marshall
TBA
Marietta at Denison
TBA
McDaniel at Catholic
TBA
Wisconsin Lutheran at Trinity Int'l
TBA
UW-Platteville at George Fox
Live Stats
12:00 PM
Washington U. at Carnegie Mellon
Live Stats
12:00 PM
Chicago at Case Western Reserve
12:00 PM
Husson at Alfred
12:00 PM
SUNY-Maritime at Maine Maritime
Video
12:00 PM
Cortland at Heidelberg
12:00 PM
Otterbein at Buffalo State
12:00 PM
Ursinus at Bethany
12:00 PM
Sewanee at Kenyon
1:00 PM
Plymouth State at Castleton
Live Stats
1:00 PM
RPI at Norwich
1:00 PM
Randolph-Macon at Dickinson
1:00 PM
Oberlin at Kalamazoo
1:00 PM
Emory and Henry at Ferrum
1:00 PM
Wooster at Washington and Jefferson
1:00 PM
Alfred State at William Paterson
1:00 PM
St. Vincent at Alma
1:00 PM
Concordia (Wis.) at Finlandia
1:00 PM
Olivet at St. John Fisher
1:00 PM
Rowan at Widener
1:00 PM
Hobart at Brockport
1:00 PM
Union at Ithaca
1:00 PM
Susquehanna at Lycoming
1:00 PM
Utica at Misericordia
1:00 PM
The Apprentice School at Methodist
1:00 PM
TCNJ at UW-Whitewater
1:30 PM
Wilmington at Bluffton
1:30 PM
Monmouth at Hope
1:30 PM
Bridgewater at Gettysburg
1:30 PM
Muskingum at Waynesburg
1:30 PM
Juniata at Grove City
2:00 PM
Lakeland at Carroll
Video Live Stats
2:00 PM
UW-Stevens Point at St. Norbert
2:00 PM
Austin at Hendrix
2:00 PM
Maranatha Baptist at Martin Luther
Live Stats
2:00 PM
Millikin at Greenville
Live Stats
2:00 PM
Eureka at Knox
Live Stats
2:00 PM
MacMurray at Rockford
2:00 PM
Gustavus Adolphus at Westminster (Mo.)
Video Live Stats
2:00 PM
UW-La Crosse at Luther
2:00 PM
Beloit at Lake Forest
2:00 PM
Concordia-Moorhead at Jamestown
2:00 PM
Crown at Hamline
Live Stats
2:00 PM
Carleton at Macalester
2:00 PM
Bethel at Dubuque
2:00 PM
St. Scholastica at St. John's
Live Stats
2:00 PM
St. Olaf at Grinnell
2:00 PM
Buena Vista at Mayville St.
2:00 PM
Simpson at UW-Stout
2:00 PM
Aurora at Carthage
2:00 PM
UW-River Falls at Coe
2:00 PM
Ripon at Concordia-Chicago
2:00 PM
Elmhurst at Loras
2:00 PM
Huntingdon at Louisiana College
2:00 PM
North Central (Ill.) at Robert Morris-Chicago
2:00 PM
Benedictine at Wheaton (Ill.)
2:00 PM
John Carroll at UW-Oshkosh
2:30 PM
Southern Virginia at Earlham
Live Stats
2:30 PM
Lawrence at Presentation
4:00 PM
La Verne at Puget Sound
Live Stats
4:00 PM
Central at Whitworth
5:00 PM
Hartwick at Western Connecticut
6:00 PM
Wabash at Albion
6:00 PM
Maryville (Tenn.) at Berry
6:00 PM
Augustana at Mount St. Joseph
6:00 PM
Thomas More at Franklin
Live Stats
6:00 PM
Hampden-Sydney at Averett
6:00 PM
Redlands at Trinity (Texas)
7:00 PM
Hiram at Westminster (Pa.)
7:00 PM
Thiel at Allegheny
7:00 PM
Capital at Wittenberg
7:00 PM
Shenandoah at Gallaudet
Live Stats
7:00 PM
Illinois College at Rose-Hulman
Video Live Stats
7:00 PM
Hanover at Centre
7:00 PM
Geneva at Frostburg State
7:00 PM
Nichols at Westfield State
7:00 PM
Greensboro at Guilford
Live Stats
7:00 PM
LaGrange at Birmingham-Southern
7:00 PM
Hardin-Simmons at Southwestern
7:00 PM
Anderson at North Park
7:00 PM
Ohio Wesleyan at Mary Hardin-Baylor
7:00 PM
East Texas Baptist at Texas Lutheran
7:10 PM
St. Thomas at UW-Eau Claire
Video Live Stats
8:00 PM
Willamette at Rhodes
8:00 PM
Cornell at Iowa Wesleyan
Live Stats
8:00 PM
Augsburg at Northwestern (Minn.)
Live Stats
8:00 PM
Southwestern Assemblies at Howard Payne
8:00 PM
Sul Ross State at UT-Permian Basin
Dec. 18: All times Eastern
Final
Mount Union 49, at St. Thomas 35
@ Salem, Va.
Box Score Recap Recap Photos