Bearcats Score Twice on Kickoff Returns in 64-34 Win over Cowboys

Dean Completes 24 of 32 Passes for 342 Yards and 3 TDs

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

SALEM, ORE. -- Willamette scored touchdowns on its first two kickoff returns, including a 94-yard return by Terrell Malley (Sr., RB/WR, Portland, OR/Roosevelt HS) on the opening kickoff, as the Bearcats defeated Hardin-Simmons University, 64-34, on Friday, Sept. 6 at McCulloch Stadium.

Malley's return was one yard short of the WU record of 95 yards, set by Marcus Lawrence against Eastern Oregon University on Oct. 12, 1991.

The other kickoff return for a score was an 85-yard return by Tyson Giza (Sr., CB, Salem, OR/Sprague HS) early in the second quarter following HSU's first touchdown.

With the victory, Willamette's football program has reached the 500-win mark. The Bearcats, now in their 115th season, began playing in 1894. Willamette is the fourth college in Oregon to reach 500 wins, joining the University of Oregon, Oregon State University and Linfield College.

During Friday's game, several players for both teams built up impressive statistics on offense.

Josh Dean (Sr., QB, Dana Point, CA/Dana Hills HS) of Willamette completed 24 of 32 passes for 342 yards and three touchdowns. In 11 career starts dating back to last year's win at Hardin-Simmons, he has thrown for 37 touchdowns. On Friday, De'zhon Grace (Fr., WR, Casto Valley, CA/Bishop O'Dowd HS) caught 13 of Dean's passes for 205 yards and a touchdown.

Derek Traeger (Jr., WR, Mount Angel, OR/John F. Kennedy HS) grabbed five passes covering 74 yards for the Bearcats. Malley rushed 15 times for 69 yards and finished with 167 all-purpose yards.

For Hardin-Simmons, Bryce Johnson rushed 23 times for 172 yards and two scores. Tevin Mitchell carried the ball 29 times for 169 yards and one touchdown. Jessie Ramos caught five passes for 70 yards, while Weston Garner hauled in five passes for 55 yards.

The Bearcats led 29-0 with 1:53 left in the first quarter and held a 46-13 lead at halftime. Hardin-Simmons got as close as 49-34 with 9:09 left in the game, but Grace caught a 66-yard touchdown pass from Dean with 7:41 remaining, to give WU a 56-34 lead.

WU also recorded a series of key defensive plays, as the Bearcats registered three interceptions and recovered a fumble. Tait Stephens (Sr., S, Sammamish, WA/Skyline HS), who led all players with 15 total tackles, earned one of the interceptions, and forced and recovered the HSU fumble at the WU 23-yard line late in the first half.

The interception by Stephens gave WU the ball at the HSU 32 and led to a 1-yard touchdown run by Jones with 7:38 remaining in the second quarter. Stephens' fumble recovery ended a 12-play drive by the Cowboys and led to a 23-yard field goal by Kyle Derby (Sr., PK/P, Oakdale, CA/Oakdale HS) with 24 seconds left in the half.

Giza picked of two passes by HSU quarterback Josh Christian in the second half.

His first interception was in the third quarter at the HSU 42-yard line. It led to a 43-yard field goal by freshman Anders Mintz (Folsom, CA/Vista Del Lago HS) with 1:59 left in the quarter. Giza returned the second interception 24 yards to the HSU 9, setting up a touchdown pass from Dean to Traeger with 6:33 left in the game.

Dean finished with 342 passing yards and 52 rushing yards, including a 33-yard touchdown run for WU's second touchdown just three minutes into the game. He also contributed a quick kick punt for 57 yards to the HSU 2-yard line in the third quarter.

Johnson scored two touchdowns for Hardin-Simmons. He reached the end zone on a 5-yard run with 9:22 left in the second quarter and added a 58-yard scamper with 14:45 left in the game, as the Cowboys cut the lead to 49-27. When Jarvas Morris scored on a 4-yard run at the 9:09 mark, it pulled HSU within 49-34.

Grace completed his solid night for Willamette with the 66-yard touchdown catch that thwarted the comeback just 1:28 after Morris' touchdown.

Three Bearcats finished with double-digit tackles. Stephens led the way with his 15 tackles, followed by Jack Nelson (Jr., ILB, Portland, OR/Jesuit HS) with 14 tackles and T.J. Matsumoto (Sr., FS, Union City, CA/James Logan HS) with 10. Stephens and Nelson each achieved 10 solo tackles. Jonathan Wilder led the Cowboys with 10 total stops.

Willamette hosts Sewanee: University of the South on Saturday, Sept. 14 at McCulloch Stadium at 1:30 p.m. (PDT).

BOX SCORE

Willamette University 64
Hardin-Simmons University 34

Photo gallery
(By Naomi Stukey, Photographer for Willamette Athletics)

Post-Game Interviews

Terrell Malley returned the opening kickoff 94 yards for a touchdowns. Later, Tyson Giza scored on an 85-yard kickoff return.

Terrell Malley returned the opening kickoff 94 yards for a touchdowns. Later, Tyson Giza scored on an 85-yard kickoff return.