Last Minute Heroics Give Bearcats 21-17 Win Over UPS

TACOMA, WA — Michael Plank hauled in a 25-yard touchdown pass from Cameron Walton with 57 seconds to play as the Willamette University football team spoiled homecoming with a 21-17 win over the University of Puget Sound Saturday afternoon.

Walton (pictured left) also rushed for 128 yards, including a 58-yard TD run as the Bearcats won their second straight game to go to 2-3 on the season and 1-0 in the Northwest Conference. UPS is now 2-2 overall, 0-1 NWC.

Defensive back Tyler Gill gave the Bearcats the ball back with just over three minutes to play when he recovered a Rory Lee fumble at the UPS 46-yard line. Down 27-14, Walton and Quentin Brock took turns rushing the ball to the UPS 25. On a third and five play, Walton found Plank for the winning score.

Willamette fell behind in the first quarter when Lee rambled 22-yards for a score to cap a nine-play, 62-yard drive. The PAT made it 7-0.

Willamette tied it up on its first possession of the second quarter after stopping UPS on a fourth-and-five on the Bearcat 30-yard line. Walton rambled 52 yards to the UPS four-yard line. Brock carried it to the 2 before Steve Wilbon got the TD. Matt Bicocca’s PAT tied the score at 7-7.

The Bearcats took their first lead with under a minte to play in the first half when Walton rushed for a 58-yard touchdown, capping a 2-play drive that started at the Willamette 42. Bicocca again was good with the PAT and the Bearcats took a 14-7 half-time lead.

Puget Sound tied the score on a 10-play, 99 yard drive, capped by a five-yard TD run by Lee. With momentum, the Loggers quickly recovered a Brock fumble and drove again inside the Bearcat 10-yard line. But Willamette’s defense refused to allow the TD and UPS settled for a Joe Stuckrath 24-yard field goal to take a 17-14 lead just after the fourth quarter began.

Neither team could mount a sustained drive until Gill pried the ball loose from Lee, setting the stage for the Bearcat’s late TD.

Walton led the way offensively for the Bearcats, rushing for 128 yards on 14 carries. He also completed six of 14 passes for 86 yards. Brock carried 14 times for 70 yards.

Lee rushed for 105 yards on 27 carries to lead UPS.

Linebacker Phillip Sweet led the Bearcats with 12 tackles. Chris Mulitalo added nine stops and Devin O’Rourke had seven. Tim Alton got the Bearcats other turnover with an interception.

The Bearcats return home next weekend when they face Southern Oregon University in a non-conference game at McCulloch Stadium. Kick-off is 6 p.m.

Cameron Walton