By Tim Peterson
(Glendora) – Weston Carr hauled in a nine-yard touchdown pass from Tyrone Williams Jr. with 17 seconds left to give Azusa Pacific a dramatic 7-6 win over Western Oregon Saturday night at Citrus College.
The Cougars got the ball back with just over two minutes left at their own 30 yard line and put together the game winning 70-yard drive. They faced a fourth and six at their own 49 with 1:21 left and Williams hit Gaige Allen for 26 yards to keep the drive alive and set up Carr’s game winner.
“It was an absolute dogfight but the thing is we kept on fighting. Our defense played well throughout and gave our offense a chance to win it,” said Azusa Pacific head coach Victor Santa Cruz.
The offense had struggled for most of the game with a majority of the possessions ending in punts, before they came alive in the final two minutes.
The two teams traded punts in the first quarter. Western Oregon broke through early in the second quarter on a 25-yard field goal by Adrian Saldana for a 3-0 lead.
Later in the second Azusa Pacific went for it on fourth and four on the Western Oregon 36 but Williams was sacked at the 48 where the Wolves took over. But Western Oregon was unable to take advantage and was forced to punt. APU returned the favor and punted as well.
Western Oregon took the 3-0 lead into the half. Azusa Pacific punted five times in the first half while Western Oregon booted it away four.
APU had just 44 total yards in the first half including minus seven on the ground. Western Oregon didn’t fare much better with 102 total yards.
Both teams were beset by turnovers as the third quarter began. Western Oregon quarterback Ty Currie was intercepted by Quentin Frazier but in the ensuing possession, Nate Proctor picked off Williams and Western Oregon was in business at the Cougar 38.
Currie broke off a long run down to the APU 12 but Frazier stripped the ball and the Cougars recovered the fumble at their own 12.
Azusa Pacific drove down into Western Oregon territory but an incomplete pass by Williams on fourth down halted the drive.
Saldana kicked a 31-yard field goal with 3:15 left in the third quarter to put the Wolves up 6-0.
Western Oregon had an opportunity to put the game away when APU punted with 4:26 left. But the Wolves went three and out and had to give the ball back and the Cougars made them pay.
For Carr, who has been slowed by an injury, that was his only catch of the night. Williams was 19 of 36 for 189 yards, a touchdown and an interception. The Cougars had just 53 yards rushing.
For Western Oregon Currie threw for 69 yards and ran for 75. Omari Land ran for 102 yards on 18 carries.
Azusa Pacific improved to 6-3 overall and 5-1 in the GNAC with the victory. Western Oregon dropped to 4-5 and 3-4.
The Cougars have two road games remaining, at Humboldt State next Saturday and at Central Washington November 10.