Bearcat Rally Falls Short in 20-13 Loss to Eastern Oregon

PENDLETON — After spotting Eastern Oregon University a 20-0 lead, the Willamette University football team’s rally fell short as the Bearcats lost to Eastern Oregon 20-13 in a non-conference game Saturday afternoon.

Despite having the edge in total offense, 337 yards to 313 yards, the Bearcats had trouble putting the ball in the end zone, especially in the first half, as they fell to 1-2 on the season. EOU raised its record to 2-0.

The Bearcat rally started at 6:41 of the third quarter when quarterback Cameron Walton hit flanker Jeff Liepman on a six-yard touchdown pass, culminating a 10-play 65-yard drive. The extra point was blocked as the Bearcats pulled to 20-6.

Brett Meyer caught his second touchdown pass of the season late in the fourth quarter when he caught a 13-yard pass from Walton with 1:26 to play to bring the Bearcats to within 20-13.

The ensuing onside kick was recovered by Eastern and Willamette could not get the ball back.

Eastern moved the ball well in the first half, racking up a one-yard scoring run from Scott Jensen at 10:46 of the first quarter and a three-yard run by Damien Johnson midway through the second quarter to take a 14-0 lead.

Cody Boom added a 33-yard field goal as time expired in the first half, then nailed a 39-yarder early in the second half as Eastern built the lead to 20-0.

The Bearcats had several good scoring opportunities in the first half, the last one coming when Delainey Durgin intercepted Walton in the end zone.

For the game, Willamette racked up 189 yards on the ground led by Josh Barker (8 carries, 62 yards), Ryan Hernandez (5 carries for 58 yards) and Steve Wilbon (six carries for 52 yards). Walton passed for 148 yards, hitting 11 of 20 passes with one touchdown and one interception.

Running backs Quentin Brock and Tristan Lockhart, linebacker Logan Lord and defensive back Tyler Gill did not play due to injuries.

For Eastern, Justin Alsterlund rushed for 126 yards on 28 carries. Quarterback Scott Jensen was 11-22 for 150 yards.

The Bearcats return home next weekend to face Menlo College. Kick-off is 1:30 p.m. at McCulloch Stadium.