Boxers rediscover their winning ways
Pacific wallops Puget Sound for the program's first victory in more than two decades
It was a long time coming, but the Pacific football team finally got to make a mark in the win column.
The Boxers won their first football game in two decades on Saturday, hammering Puget Sound 44-25 in front of a near sellout crowd on homecoming weekend in Forest Grove to cap an arduous two-year journey from the program's reinstatement to its first victory.
'It's the most amazing feeling,' said Pacific quarterback T.C. Campbell, who tied his own school record by throwing five touchdown passes. 'We've worked so hard these last two years to come and earn this. To win at home, on homecoming, in front of our fans, means so much to us.'
Pacific (1-7, 1-4 NWC) racked up an impressive 469 yards of total offense behind Campbell, who completed 21 of 27 passes for 387 yards. Freshman wideout Caleb Roher had three catches for 123 yards and two touchdowns, and sophomore Jordan Fukumoto had five catches for 115 yards and a pair of scores.
The win was the first for a Pacific football team since Nov. 10, 1990, when the Boxers beat Oregon Tech 15-14. The program was discontinued following the 1991 season before being reinstated two years ago. Pacific went 0-9 in its debut season in 2010 and started this year with seven straight losses.
'For these kids to rebound ... and come out and put this type of effort together and stay together as one team, for the tough weeks we've been through is tremendous,' Pacific head coach Keith Buckley said. 'We understand it's one win, but it's a special win and it's one that these kids will be able to remember for a long, long time.'
The game proved to be an air show between two of the top passing offenses in the nation. Pacific outgained the Loggers 469-381 in total offense. Pacific had 387 yards passing, while Puget Sound netted 351 yards in the air.
Puget Sound (0-8, 0-5) got on the board first, scoring on a 43-yard field goal by Everett West with 4:59 to go in the first quarter. The Boxers did not need much time to score on their next drive, with Campbell connecting on a 44-yard touchdown pass to Roher with 1:16 left in the period to take the 7-3 lead.
The Loggers got as close as 14-11 with 8:28 left in the half, but Pacific scored the next three touchdowns on big plays.
Campbell capped the first half by finding Fukumoto for a 27-yard strike that gave the Boxers a 21-11 lead at halftime, and he followed that in the second half with a 67-yard scoring pass to Roher and a 72-yard bomb to Fukumoto that gave the Boxers a commanding 35-11 lead.
Puget Sound marched 59 yards in 14 plays for a touchdown that made it 35-17, but Pacific answered when Campbell connected with Brian Taylor for a 17-yard scoring pass just 20 seconds in the fourth quarter. The Boxers added two more points late with Josh Brinkworth sacking backup quarterback James Korn for a safety.
Pacific will wrap up the season on Saturday, travelling to Puyallup, Wash., to face Pacific Lutheran. Kickoff is scheduled for 1:30 p.m.