Amidst a great atmosphere following the fourth annual Rah Rah Redlands pregame event, the No. 25 University of Redlands football team kicked off its home schedule with a non-conference showdown with first-time opponent Pacific Lutheran University (WA) on Saturday evening. Unfortunately, the result favored the visiting Lutes, as the Bulldogs suffered a 14-28 defeat in Ted Runner Stadium.
The Maroon and Gray ground game started off on the right note, quickly moving the ball 69 yards on its opening drive. Senior running back Brad Crisanty (Granite Bay, CA) joined forces with freshman ball carrier Curtis Tanquary (San Jose, CA) for an effective 10-play drive. However, the stingy pass coverage of the Lutes nabbed a junior quarterback Will King (Scottsdale, AZ) pass to halt Redlands' scoring efforts.
PLU took advantage of this turnover along with one more interception in the opening half, before putting together an effective scoring drive for a 21-point lead.
However, the Bulldog offense found its rhythm late in the game, initiating the third quarter with a touchdown series that seemed to breathe new life into the Maroon and Gray. While making his first start for Redlands, King helped the team take advantage of excellent field position by orchestrating a nine-play, 36-yard drive into the promise land. Senior wide receiver Mark Richardson II (Los Angeles, CA) came up with a clutch 12-yard reception on third-and-seven. Crisanty finished off the drive with a two-yard scamper into the PLU end zone.
Redlands' final touchdown came with 47 seconds left in the game, as King connected with three different receivers for four catches of 15 yards or more. Junior wide receiver Tyler Bassler (San Diego, CA) made the most of open space with a 30-yard grab, while junior wide receiver Taylor Irwin (Rocklin, CA) hauled in two passes for a combined 31 yards, including the scoring reception.
King finished with 184 yards on 18 completions. Irwin served as his top target with 74 yards on six catches. Crisanty carried the ball 22 times for 83 yards.
Defensively, senior captain Nick Kido (Manoa, HI) led the Bulldogs with nine total tackles. Senior defensive back Brandon Morris (Mission Viejo, CA) stepped up his game with eight tackles to go along with two pass break-ups and one blocked field goal.
For Pacific Lutheran, sophomore Dalton Ritchey (Onalaska, WA) connected on 21 passes for 285 yards and two touchdowns. His top receiver was sophomore wide receiver Kellen Westering (Puyallup, WA), who made seven catches for 92 yards. Senior running back Brandon James (Gig Harbor, WA) broke the century mark with 119 rushing yards, which came on 16 attempts.
Senior linebacker Dalton Darmody (Fox Island, WA) recorded a game-high 10 tackles. Junior defensive back Jonny Volland (Federal, Way, WA) and senior linebacker Eric Hoium (Centralia, WA) both nabbed lucrative interceptions for the Lutes.
Redlands (0-2) looks forward to its bye week before opening Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) competition with Occidental College on Sept. 29 at 7 p.m. That game also marks the annual Take a Kid to the Game Night, when all adults accompanied by a child receive free admission.