Boxers can't connect on last-second pass play in a loss to Simon Fraser
Simon Fraser bounced back from an 11-point second-half deficit to come alive late, scoring 19 points in the fourth quarter and snuffing a late Pacific rally to complete a 36-28 come-from-behind victory in both team's 2011 football season opener at Lincoln Park Stadium.
The Boxers led 14-10 at halftime and built the advantage to 21-10 on a 36-yard touchdown pass from T.C. Campbell to Jordan Fukumoto early in the third quarter.
Simon Fraser responded with four unanswered touchdowns, taking the lead on a 72-yard run by Bo Palmer with 11:12 left in the fourth quarter. Greg Bowcott scored the next two touchdowns, giving Simon Fraser a 36-21 lead when he strolled into the end zone on a 2-yard run with 2:40 to go.
Pacific came back with a quick drive, cutting the deficit to seven points when Campbell found Matt Nyberg for an 11-yard scoring pass with 43 seconds left. The Boxers recovered the ensuing onside kick, taking over at midfield. Campbell worked quickly, gaining 23 yards on a pass to Fukumoto, who then lateraled to Nyberg for nine more yards to put the ball on Simon Fraser's 25-yard line with two seconds left.
Campbell tried to connect with Fukumoto in the right corner of the end zone for the final play, but a high pass and solid coverage by the Simon Fraser defense kept the high-flying receiver from making the catch.
Pacific head coach Keith Buckley said he is impressed with the growth that his Pacific team has made from their start a year ago and since camp began three weeks ago.
'Going into halftime with a lead was definitely progress,' he said. 'We lost some juice in the second half against a bigger and stronger Division II team, but we should walk off the field with confidence that we have taken steps forward.'
Campbell put together an impressive passing effort to begin his second season with the Boxers, completing 23 of 38 passes for 343 yards and two touchdowns. Fukumoto was equally impressive, catching seven passes for 117 yards, and sophomore running back Davis Jacobs had 59 yards rushing.
The Boxers finished with 383 yards of total offense and dominated time of possession, holding onto the ball for over 41 minutes.
Bo Palmer led the potent Simon Fraser ground attack with 181 yards and two touchdowns, which included the breakout 72-yard run to begin the fourth quarter scoring frenzy. In all, 259 of the Clan's 311 yards came on the ground.
After a blocked field goal killed Pacific's first possession, Campbell marched the Boxers 58 yards on the next series. He found Gunther Schutze for a 9-yard touchdown pass to tie the game, then found Blake Anthony for a 39-yard strike on the next series, setting up Bryce Kershner for a 2-yard touchdown run. The Boxers would take that 14-10 lead into halftime.
'I was excited with the play that we had in the first and second quarters,' Buckley said. 'We had nearly 21 minutes of possession. We kept their offense off the field and kept our offense on. We kept plugging our way down the field and we did a good job of running.'
The Boxers started their third quarter scoring series when Devin Lagorio recovered a fumble at the 33-yard line. The Boxers needed just two plays to take a 21-10 lead with Campbell finding Fukumoto for a 36-yard scoring pass with just over eight minutes left in the quarter.
The Boxers return home this weekend, entertaining Menlo under the lights on Saturday. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.