Bearcats capitalize on six Pacific turnovers to secure a 51-17 non-conference victory

In the first of two meetings between the programs this season, Willamette took advantage of a rash of Pacific turnovers Saturday to break away for a 51-17 victory over the Boxers in non-conference football action.

The Boxers (1-2) finished with six turnovers on the afternoon, four of which led directly to Willamette touchdowns in the second and third quarters. Those opportunities allowed the Bearcats (3-0), under first-year coach Glen Fowles, to show off their new potent passing game. Willamette finished with 559 yards of total offense, 448 of which came in the air.

Pacific also returned to the passing game after gaining the majority of its offense on the ground two weeks ago in a victory against Occidental.

Quarterback P.J. Minaya threw for 260 of the Boxers’ 360 yards, completing 22-of-36 passes and throwing one touchdown, but he was intercepted four times. Darin Kamealoha was Minaya’s top target, finishing with 112 yards on six catches.

Willamette quarterback Josh Dean completed 33-of-46 passes for 353 yards and four touchdowns, while Jake Jones completed 7-of-11 for 95 yards and a score. Jake Kencht led the Bearcats with 106 yards and a touchdown on 10 receptions.

Pacific kicker Moses Villareal-Gomez connected on a 23-yard field goal with 2:35 left in the first quarter to make it a 6-3 game, but Willamette scored on its next three possessions to break open the game.

Kyle Derby opened the second quarter with a 30-yard field goal. An interception by Dominic David gave the Bearcats the ball on the Pacific 17-yard line. Dean needed just four plays to march Willamette to the score, with a 22-yard pass to Dylan Jones, making it a 15-3 lead.

The Bearcats’ offense was back on the field right away with the Boxers fumbling just two plays into the ensuing possession, and they marched 32 yards in six plays to take a 23-3 lead.

Pacific opens Northwest Conference play at home this Saturday by hosting Whitworth for a 1 p.m. kickoff.

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