Willamette Loses to No. 8, 25-22 in Two Overtimes

BELTON, TX — Zach Newcomb kicked a 37-yard field goal and the Bearcats suffered three blocked kicks as the No. 8 ranked team in Division III, the University of Mary Hardin Baylor, (1-0) knocked off the Willamette University football team, 25-22, in double overtime.

Eerily reminiscent of the Oregon State University game against Louisiana State University last week, Willamette (1-1) had a pair of extra points and a field goal blocked against one of the top team in the country. It was the second of those two blocks that really cost the Bearcats.

Down 13-9 at halftime, the Bearcats took their first lead of the game when Steve Wilbon scored on a two-yard run, capping a four-play, 73-yard drive. Walton made the big play on that drive, racing 63 yards to put the Bearcats in the Red Zone.

The extra point was blocked and UMHB picked up the loose ball, racing 90 yards for a safety to tie the game at 15-15. That was block #2.

On the ensuing free kick, UMHB returned the ball to the 43-yard line and promptly engineered a seven-play drive to take back the lead at 22-15.

The Bearcats roared back on their next possession. Tristan Lockhart rambled 18 yards for his first touchdown and a Matt Bicocca extra point tied the game at 22-22.

In the first overtime, both teams had chances to score. Walton took the Bearcats with the 15-yard line on their first play from the 25. But UMHB held and Bicocca’s kick from 31 yards sailed wide left.

On UMHB first possession, Justin Bryson brought UMHB to the six-yard line and a first and goal. But UMHB decided to go for the field goal on second down and Newcomb missed an 18-yarder to the left.

The Bearcat defense was solid in the second overtime, but this time Newcomb nailed a 37-yard field goal to give UMHB the 25-22 lead.

On Willamette’s possession, back-up quarterback Jeff Liepman barely missed connecting with an open Ryan Hernandez on a half-back option play. The field goal from 31 yards on fourth down was block #3 and UMHB escaped with the win in their season-opener.

The Bearcats took the early lead in the first half when Calvin Keyser-Allen (99 yards, 15 carries) scored on a 43-yard run. That’s when the Bearcats suffered their first blocked kick.

UMHB came back with 13 straight points on a pair of Newcomb field goal and a touchdown pass from Andy Padrone to Austin Schrader.

Bicocca’s field goal brought the Bearcats to within four at halftime, 13-9.

For the game, UMHB had 367 on yards in total offense on 74 plays. Willamette had 357 yards on 64 plays.

The Bearcats rushed for 2890 yards, led by Keyser-Allen’s 99 yards and Walton’s 82 yards on 11 carries. Bryson led UMHB with 137 yards on 28 carries.

In other action involving Northwest Conference teams, the Linfield Wildcats beat Western Oregon (losers to the Bearcats 38-21 a week ago, 58-13.

The Bearcats travel to Eastern Oregon University next week. Kick-off is 1:30 pm. You can listen to the game live on the internet or on KBZY Radio, 1490 AM