LOS ANGELES — Kwame Do exploded for 258 yards and four touchdowns, Casey Dudley returned a fumble for a touchdown and the Occidental College football team pulled off the impossible, beating four-time defending SCIAC champion Cal Lutheran 44-34 at Jack Kemp Stadium on Saturday.
"It feels good anytime you have a game like this," Do said. "It's hard to explain. Beating Cal Lu is huge."
It's the first time Oxy's beaten Cal Lutheran since the 2008 SCIAC championship team beat the Kingsmen 24-21 on Nov. 1, 2008.
"It's just a great win for the program. I felt like we finally put together a complete game for 60 minutes," Oxy head coach Doug Semones said. "We had good offense, we had good defense, we had a good kicking game and we did it for 60 minutes. We didn't play a half like we did against Redlands or Chapman and that's what it takes to beat a good team."
Do broke loose for three scores in the first half, including runs of 61 and 70 yards that gave Oxy (3-3, 2-2 SCIAC) a 20-14 halftime lead. Then late in the fourth quarter, the sophomore running back who came into the game on pace to set Oxy's single season rushing record by one yard, ran in his last score from five yards, putting Oxy up 44-27 and icing the game.
"It felt pretty good sealing up the game. My line was blocking well the whole night," Do said. "If they open up the holes I'm just going to pound and pound and pound… And going one-on-one with that safety, knocking him out, felt pretty good."
Do's season total is now at 876. Gene Moore set the all-time Oxy single season record in 1968 with 1,084 yards on the ground.
In the third quarter, after Marc Kuzbari nailed a 30-yard field goal to extend Oxy's lead to 23-14, Oxy's Aaron Jones and Dudley combined for the biggest play of the game. Jones stopped Cal Lu (2-4, 2-2 SCIAC) running back Ryan Zirbel in his tracks on an outside run on 3rd down, forcing the ball loose. Then Dudley, who also had a key interception to end a first-half drive, swooped up the ball and took it to the house, giving Oxy a 30-14 lead.
Jones, who also had a momentum-changing sack in the first half, was the unsung hero of the game on defense. He also had another tackle for a loss.
"One of our defensive goals every week is to score on D. We're always trying to take the ball away," Semones said. "Casey did an outstanding job of picking that thing up and he was a running back so he knew what to do with it when he got it."
The upset didn't feel real until that play.
And if there was any question whether or not Oxy could hang on after Cal Lutheran countered with a score on their next drive, cutting the lead to 30-20, Bryan Scott and Samuel Stekol affirmed it. Scott, who had been targeting Stekol all night, finally found his man on a 40 yard streak down the right side of the field for a touchdown that extended the Tigers lead to 37-20.
Stekol finished with seven catches for 133 yards and Scott was 12 for 23 with 174 yards and a touchdown.
Scott and Stekol hooked up for another huge completion on 3rd and 6 with 7 minutes left in the fourth quarter, keeping Oxy's clock-eating drive alive. Samuel Crizer followed their lead with a huge first-down run on 4th and 1.
"We did an outstanding job of managing the clock and then getting the first down. Chew up the clock, third down comes, get the first down," Semones said. "We didn't have tackles for loss we just kept moving forward.
Early in the fourth quarter, Do broke free for another 60-yard touchdown run, but it was called back due to holding.
"The kids believe," Semones said. "They've bought in to what we're doing here. We just have to continue to improve."
Oxy enters a key three-game stretch of its season. The Tigers still have Pomona-Pitzer, Whittier and La Verne left on their schedule, starting with the Battle for the Drum at Pomona-Pitzer on Nov. 2 at 1 p.m. If they win out, the Tigers can finish as high as second in the SCIAC.
Next weekend's matchup with the Sagehens will mark the 119th meeting between Oxy and Pomona-Pitzer in the oldest college football rivalry in Southern California. The Tigers have won the last nine games and lead the all-time series 63-48-3.
"Sagehen is served all week at the cafeteria and we're trying to bring back the bonfire. It's been a tradition for years and years to have a Friday night bonfire and we'd love to do that," Semones said. "We'd love to get everyone out and just enjoy it... and then go beat Pomona-Pitzer."