Bearcats Win Big at Menlo, 48-10, Improve to 8-2 on the Season

By Robert McKinney, Athletics Communications Director, (503) 370-6110

ATHERTON, CALIF. -- Willamette University scored 35 points in the first half and shut out Menlo College in the second half, as the Bearcats defeated the Oaks, 48-10, in Northwest Conference action on Saturday, Nov. 14. The Bearcats, ranked #20 in the AFCA Coaches Poll and #22 in the Top 25, finished the regular season at 8-2, including 5-1 in the NWC (2nd place).

Willamette University 48
Menlo College 10

Menlo ended the year at 4-6 overall. The Oaks finished 3-3 in the NWC to tie for third place.

The Bearcats and other teams in NCAA Division III will find out on Sunday (Nov. 15) if they are selected for the NCAA Playoffs. The 32-team field has just six at-large berths. An announcement regarding playoff selections will be aired by ESPNews between 12 p.m. and 12:30 p.m. (PST) on Sunday.

Willamette's chances for receiving a playoff bid are considered slim due to the small number of at-large berths. Linfield College (9-0, 6-0 NWC) will receive the NWC's automatic bid to the playoffs. Last year, Willamette earned the automatic bid and advanced to the second round before falling to the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.

In Saturday's win over the Oaks, Scott Schoettgen (Jr., WR, Columbia, CA/Sonora HS) led the Bearcats by scoring on three pass receptions. He earned touchdowns on a 14-yard catch in the first quarter, a 22-yard catch in the second quarter and a 3-yard reception in the third period.

Schoettgen caught eight passes for 116 yards during the game. This season, he has caught 49 passes for 840 yards and 14 touchdowns.

Willamette's balanced offense gained 234 rushing yards and 222 passing yards for 456 total against Menlo. The Bearcats rushed 49 times and averaged 4.8 yards per carry. Meanwhile, the Willamette defense held the Oaks to just 61 rushing yards on 33 carries (1.2 avg.). Menlo completed 13 of 36 passes (36.1%) for 166 yards and gained only 206 yards of total offense.

Lukkes Gilgan made a tackle for a loss that helped force Menlo to kick a field goal early in the game.The WU defense provided two big stops in the first half or the game might have been closer at halftime. Both stops took place inside the Willamette 10-yard line and were followed by touchdown drives from the Bearcats.

Menlo recovered a fumble on the first play of the Bearcats' second possession and took over at the WU 10. On 2nd-and-goal at the five, Shawn Souza was tackled by Lukkes Gilgan (Sr., FS, Sherwood, OR/Sherwood HS) for a 2-yard loss. Payton Holt threw an incomplete pass on third down and the Oaks settled for a 25-yard field goal by Eddie De Leon to take a 3-0 lead.

The Bearcats took over at the WU 49 following a 34-yard kickoff return by Terrell Malley (Fr., FL, Portland, OR/Roosevelt HS). Chad Pollard (So., FL, Bakersfield, CA/Liberty HS/Bakersfield College) rushed for 33 yards on the first play of the drive.

Six plays later, on 4th-and-goal, Jose Green (Jr., FB/TB, Downey, CA/Warren HS) completed the drive with a 1-yard touchdown run. The conversion kick by Mitchell Rowan (So., PK/P, Cotati, CA/Rancho Cotate HS) gave WU a 7-3 advantage.

Schoettgen caught his first touchdown pass of the game on a 14-yard throw from Brian Widing (Fr., QB, Oregon City, OR/Canby Union HS) for a 14-3 lead with 18 seconds left in the opening quarter. WU drove 74 yards on 10 plays.

Willamette's Kevin Ramay (Fr., QB, Simi Valley, CA/Grace Brethren HS) scored on an 8-yard run with 12:29 left in the second quarter and Pollard crossed the goal line on a 38-yard pass from Ramay just 1:52 later, as WU built a 28-3 lead.

Menlo scored on a 35-yard pass from Cruz Castillo to Kenny Cavness with 7:11 remaining in the half to pull the Oaks within 28-10. On Menlo's next possession, the WU defense earned its second goal-line stand of the game.

Rowan punted with Willamette at its own 2-yard line. Cavness returned the kick 14 yards to the WU 19. A pass interference penalty on third down gave Menlo a 1st-and-10 at the 12. On 3rd-and-2, Gilgan dropped Castillo for a 1-yard loss. On 4th-and-3 at the 5, Castillo threw an incomplete pass.

Kevin Ramay threw for two touchdowns and ran for another against Menlo.The Willamette offense responded with a 95-yard drive that lasted 11 plays. Ramay completed 5 of 8 passes on the drive, including three to Schoettgen for 64 yards. One of the catches by Schoettgen covered 37 yards and gave WU a first down at the Menlo 43. The drive ended with Schoettgen's second touchdown catch of the game on a 22-yard toss by Ramay.

Willamette continued to pull away in the third quarter. Schoettgen scored on a 3-yard pass from Widing at the end of an 8-play, 67-yard drive with 7:56 remaining in the quarter. Rowan's extra point attempt was blocked by Beau Bussani.

On Menlo's fourth play following the kickoff, Castillo was intercepted by Bubba Lemon (Sr., CB, McMinnville, OR/Tualatin HS/Linfield College). Lemon returned the interception six yards to the Menlo 47, setting up a touchdown by the Bearcats five plays later.

The drive included a 15-yard run by Malley and a 23-yard pass from Widing to Tony Krikorian (Sr., FL, Costa Mesa, CA/Costa Mesa HS). Malley scored the touchdown on a 4-yard run. Rowan converted the extra point to increase the lead to 48-10.

In the fourth quarter, Willamette's defense stopped Menlo on downs at the WU 14 and the WU 15 to keep the Oaks off the scoreboard in the second half. The Oaks gained just 78 total yards in the final two quarters.

Leading tacklers for the Bearcats were Gilgan, Harmon Bruno (So., OLB, Danville, CA/San Ramon Valley HS) and Ralph Pineda (Jr., ILB, Los Angeles, CA/Cathedral HS/San Jose State Univ.), each with six total stops. Five of Bruno's tackles were unassisted. He also intercepted a pass. Gilgan registered 2.5 tackles for losses.

Willamette registered six sacks and 11 tackles for losses. Cory Lowe (Sr., DE, Beaverton, OR/Beaverton HS) led all players with 2.0 sacks.

Menlo's defense received nine tackles each from Bussani and Brett Klee. Bussani topped the Oaks in unassisted stops with eight.

Chad Pollard caught a 38-yard TD pass and rushed nine times for 69 yards.The Willamette running game was led by Pollard, who finished with 69 yards on nine carries (7.7 avg.). He also caught two passes for 48 yards and a touchdown.

Abney gained 44 yards on 12 carries and Malley finished with 43 yards on eight carries. Mikey Lemon (Jr., FL, McMinnville, OR/McMinnville HS/Linfield College) rushed for 33 yards on three carries. Souza topped Menlo with 35 yards on 15 rushing attempts.

Widing completed 8 of 12 passes for 105 yards, two TDs and one interception. It was his only interception of the regular season and ended a string of 94 consecutive passes without being picked off. Ramay connected on 6 of 11 passes for 117 yards and two touchdowns.

Castillo was successful on 10 of 26 passes for Menlo. He threw for one touchdown and was intercepted twice.

Nick Ruhl completed 2 of 5 passes for the Oaks, while Payton Holt completed 1 of 5 passes. Keith Daniels led Menlo with three catches for 30 yards. Cavness caught two passes for 54 yards.

Note: Photos taken earlier this season by Naomi Stukey.

Scott Schoettgen caught eight passes for 116 yards against Menlo. He scored three TDs on catches of 14, 22 and 3 yards.

Scott Schoettgen caught eight passes for 116 yards against Menlo. He scored three TDs on catches of 14, 22 and 3 yards.