ATHERTON, Calif. – Jack Michels (So., Kirkland, Wash.) scored the game-winning touchdown late in the fourth quarter to give Pacific their best start since 1964, lifting the Boxers to a 28-21 win over Menlo in football action on Saturday at Conner Field.
The tight end's first collegiate points proved to be the Boxers' only touchdown of the second half and brought Pacific back from a one-point deficit after Menlo took their only lead of the game on Thomas Reynolds' touchdown just two-and-a-half minutes before.
The victory moves Pacific to 3-0 on the year, their best start since the 1964 season. It is also Pacific's first win over the Oaks (1-3), who defeated the Boxers in both 2010 and 2011.
Despite a close second half in the scoring column, the Boxers proved the offensively dominant team all afternoon, racking up 423 yards of total offense to Menlo's 299. Quarterback P.J. Minaya (Sr., Wahiawa, Hawaii) completed 10 of 17 passes for 152 yards and two touchdowns, while T.C. Campbell (Jr., Kaimuki, Hawaii) completed 9 of 15 for 125 yards and a score.
Jacob Lawrence (Jr., Sherwood, Ore.) led receivers with 76 yards and a touchdown on four catches. Deven McKinney (Jr., Spanaway, Wash.) led the ground attack with 56 yards on six carries.
Menlo quarterback Wade Hawkins was limited to 89 yards while completing 14 of 26 passes with one interception. Thomas Reynolds rushed 20 times for 148 yards and all three Oaks' touchdowns while Matt Belardes caught three passes for 42 yards.
After forcing Menlo to go three-and-out on the opening series of the game and gaining great field position off the punt, Pacific took little time to score in a rainstorm more characteristic of Oregon than the Bay Area. On the first play from scrimmage, Minaya found Lawrence for a 50-yard touchdown pass to put Pacific ahead 7-0.
Pacific scored just once in the first quarter despite the Pacific defense forcing the Oaks to go three-and-out on their first three possessions. The Boxers missed a chance to go up 10-0 with 3:34 left in the quarter when Moses Villareal-Gomez's (Jr., Stockton, Calif.) 21-yard field goal attempt went wide left, partly hurt by a bad snap.
The Boxers returned to the end zone on their opening drive of the second, with Campbell finding Kelson Kawai (Sr., North Kohala, Hawaii) for a 15-yard touchdown at the 6:59 mark. Villareal-Gomez made up for his earlier miss with a 36-yard field goal with one second left, allowing the Boxers a 17-7 halftime lead.
Menlo started making their charge early in the second half after the Boxers went three-and-out on their first possession of the period. Hawkins and Reynolds milked an 11-play, 55-yard drive over 4 minutes, 26 seconds, which ended on a nine-yard Reynolds scoring run that brought the Oaks within 17-14.
The defenses held the rest of the quarter, and Pacific finally got back on the board early in the fourth when Villareal-Gomez chipped in a 22-yard field goal with 11:26 remaining. The Oaks then forced two Pacific turnovers on fumbles, the last coming when Jaden Rosselli stripped McKinney of the ball and Denzel Guewell returned it to the Menlo 18-yard line.
Reynolds ran for paydirt on the next play, dashing 82 yards for the score. Benjamin Vega's extra point put Menlo ahead for the first time, 21-20, with 5:41 left.
The Boxers went to the air to move quickly down the field on the ensuing possession, ending when Minaya found Michels for his 11-yard reception that proved to be the winning touchdown.
Menlo committed their third turnover of the game on their next play as Shane Feuerbach (Sr., Rocklin, Calif.) recovered Hawkins' fumble with 2:21 left. The Oaks' defense kept Pacific out of the end zone, and a 42-yard field goal attempt by Villareal-Gomez that would have put the game out of reach went wide right. Menlo would by unable to move the ball beyond their own 19-yard line in the final 48 seconds.
Jack Perez (So., Petaluma, Calif.) led Pacific defensively with nine tackles and one forced fumble. Sean Bangs (Sr., Portland, Ore.) had eight tackles, including 1.5 sacks for a loss of 14 yards. Bryan Mills (Sr., Imbler, Ore.) had Pacific's lone interception of the game while Feuerbach and Alex Willeford (Jr., Keizer, Ore.) had fumble recoveries. As a unit, the Pacific defense sacked Hawkins four times and had 10 tackles for loss for 40 yards.
Rosselli led the Menlo defense with 10 tackles and one forced fumble. James Yoder added seven tackles.
Pacific will now take a bye weekend before returning to the road to open Northwest Conference play on Sat., Oct. 5, at Whitworth. Kickoff is scheduled for 1 p.m. A live audio broadcast of the game will be available at GoBoxers.com and in the Portland area on KUIK-AM (1360).
BOXER BYTES: The game featured a first ever meeting between former UC Davis teammates Keith Buckley and Mark Grieb, both of whom graduated in 1996. Grieb, a former longtime Arena Football League quarterback with the San Jose SaberCats, took over as Menlo head coach this season…Pacific's three wins matches their win total from 2012 and marks the third time in the last eight seasons that the Boxers have risen to three victories.
Michels Jacks In Winning Score As Boxers Move To 3-0