LOS ANGELES — Tommy Edwards and the Occidental College football team had moved the ball almost at will against Redlands and its defense proved more than capable of stopping the Bulldogs.
Despite being a big underdog, the Tigers worked themselves into a 21-21 tie midway through the third quarter when Edwards converted a dramatic 4th and Goal from the 6-yard line that somehow found the diving arms of Cordell Harris in the back-right corner of the end zone. But as he scrambled to avoid a sack on the impromptu roll out, he took a big hit and didn't return to the game.
With their All-SCIAC quarterback in a hat with ice on his throwing elbow on the sidelines, Redlands marched down the field for 17 more points to win 38-21 at Jack Kemp Stadium on Saturday.
"It was fourth down. Usually I probably would have just thrown that ball away, so I just threw it up where our guys were and they made a spectacular play. I heard about it, I didn't see it," Edwards said. "I saw Cordell when I looked back over there and I just threw it with everything I had and heard the crowd roar. It's unfortunate that it happened, but it happens and we'll just have to move on."
Edwards is being evaluated and will have a better idea of the extent of the injury later this week.
"It was 21-21 there in the third quarter. Who knows what happens if I come back in, but we have two guys behind me that are going to be able to do some solid things," Edwards said. "Everyone has faith in (Tom) Stivers and Bryan Scott so this changes nothing. Our goals are the same. My role changes a little bit, but other than that, we'll be fine."
The build up to what was the most exciting and costly play of the game for Oxy, was a 15-play, 80-yard drive that ate the first 7 minutes of the third quarter and made 2,075 fans in attendance wonder if Oxy might be able to beat Redlands for the first time since October, 2009.
The Tigers fall to 1-2 overall and 0-1 in SCIAC play. Redlands earns its first victory of the season after a pair of losses to top 15-ranked teams.
Shay Mueller made the play of the game for the Tigers with a 92-yard interception return for a touchdown in the first quarter to get Oxy on the scoreboard and end a threatening Redlands' drive.
"On that play I was playing the free safety, I saw the drag coming across because they ran a play action and then I saw some guy in the flat. I came up, Garrett Van forced a bad pass and I just never looked back," said Mueller, who also blocked a field goal in the fourth quarter.
Just before halftime, Edwards led a picture-perfect 2-minute drill that culminated with a 14-yard touchdown to Devin Bullock with 19 seconds on the clock, sending the Tigers into the locker room down 21-14. Edwards hooked up with Bullock on several seam routes, the longest a 24-yarder in the second quarter. The sophomore wide receiver had a career-high seven catches for 115 yards.
Oxy running back Kwame Do is proving to be "Mr. Consistency" as the workhorse out of the backfield for the Tigers. Do ran for 66 yards on 17 carries.
The Tigers got a huge roar from the audience in the first quarter when senior Dalton Spinas, who is known as one of the best offensive lineman in the SCIAC, took the snap on a fake punt and ran for 23 yards for a huge first down conversion that kept Oxy's first drive alive. The Tigers went for it again on fourth down near the Redlands 1-yard line, but Do's dive play came up short of the end zone.
Tom Stivers was serviceable as Oxy's backup filling in for Edwards. His longest pass went for 25 yards to Samuel Stekol. It was just Stekol's third catch of the game as the star Oxy receiver got a lot of attention from the Redlands defense in the first half. Stekol finished with four catches for 44 yards. He's now caught 24 passes in three games for 276 yards and two touchdowns.
Freshman quarterback Scott also took a couple of snaps in the fourth quarter, one of them a quarterback keeper for six yards.
Redlands scored touchdowns on three drives in the first half. The Bulldogs marched down the field for five-play, 46-yard opening drive that culminated with Curtis Tanquary finding the end zone with a 7-yard touchdown run. In the second quarter, they went up 14-7 on a 1-yard run by Bobby Brown that finished a 85-yard drive and then they took a 21-7 lead on a 21-yard shovel-pass, end-around to Taylor Irwin.
Brown finished with 175 yards and two touchdowns and Tanquary had 133 yards and one.
Shortly after Edwards left the game in the third quarter, Ross Fiegener made a great play to brake up a pass on 3 and 13, giving the Tigers the ball back with a chance to take the lead. Fiegener also led Oxy with eight tackles, Matthew Malos and Tommy Kim had seven and Evan Buckwalter had six.
Oxy played mistake-free football with no turnovers.
The Tigers return to action next weekend at Claremont-Mudd-Scripps at 1 p.m. The Stags (1-2, 0-1 SCIAC) lost at La Verne 30-6 this week.