Big defensive plays lead to 14-13 win over Willamette

Big defensive plays lead to 14-13 win over Willamette

TACOMA, Washington – The Puget Sound football team overcame a 13-0 deficit and made several key defensive plays in the fourth quarter during a 14-13 win over Willamette in Baker Stadium Saturday afternoon. Puget Sound improved its home record to 3-0 this fall.

Willamette (0-7, 0-5 NWC) grabbed a 13-0 lead with 3:29 left in the second quarter thanks to a five-yard touchdown run by Justin Marshall. The subsequent point-after attempt was pushed wide, and the miss proved to be crucial later in the game.

Puget Sound's (3-4, 2-3 NWC) ensuing drive got going with a 17-yard completion from Tanner Diebold to Jacob Smith. The very next play was a 21-yard completion to Dustin Harrison. From there, Diebold bullied his way into the end zone with a 10-yard run, cutting the deficit to 13-7 just before the half.

Neither team scored in the third quarter, but the Loggers' first drive of the fourth quarter started on their own 45-yard line. Paul Thomas took consecutive carries for 10 total yards, and then Jesten Kainalu Moya ran the ball twice for 20 more yards. Diebold completed another big pass to Harrison – this one for 20 yards – and Thomas followed by punching in the game-tying points from five yards out.

Kyle Continente's extra point stood as the game-winning point.

The Bearcats' following drive reached the Loggers' five- yard line, but the Puget Sound defense tightened up and forced Willamette to attempt a 20-yard field goal. The kick was blocked by Jason Clayton, preserving a 14-13 Logger lead with 7:27 left to play.

Willamette's final drive of the game started on its own 24-yard line, but a 24-yard completion down the middle of the field highlighted a Bearcats drive that reached the Loggers' 14-yard line.

The Bearcats lined up to go for it on fourth-and-one, but were flagged for an illegal substitution with 1:43 left in regulation. After backing up five yards, Willamette's pass attempt was successfully defended by Zackary Teats, sealing a Puget Sound victory with the turnover on downs. 

Despite the win, the Loggers did not play without a couple of key miscues in the fourth quarter. A 79-yard touchdown run by Thomas was called back thanks to a Logger penalty. The following play, another Puget Sound penalty negated a 52-yard completion to Collin Heimbach.

In all, Thomas took 20 carries for 84 yards for the Loggers, and he tied Vance Wood for the team-lead in rushing touchdowns with five. Harrison reached the 100-yard mark (on the nose) for the third consecutive game, reeling in seven catches.

Defensively, Clayton came up with a big interception in the end zone during the first half, which kept the Loggers within striking distance. Max Washam led Puget Sound with 12 tackles, and Keanu Songcuan followed with 11.

The Loggers' last road game of the season is at  No. 6 Linfield on Saturday, Nov. 4, at 1 p.m.




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