LOS ANGELES, Calif. — Knocking off the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference champions was going to be no easy task, but the Occidental College football team did not expect it to go as poorly as it did.
Cal Lutheran (8-1, 8-0) scored on its first five drives and never looked back, beating the Tigers (5-4, 3-3) 70-20 at Jack Kemp Stadium on Saturday. With the loss, the Tigers finish the season in third place in the SCIAC.
"That Cal Lu team is just on another level than the other teams in the conference this year," Occidental coach Dale Widolff said. "We certainly didn't play the way we can, but they are also a very talented team.
Oxy's struggled to hang on the football on a rainy day in Eagle Rock, coughing up the ball three times in the defeat.
The wet weather did not help the Tigers top-rated passing attack either.
Oxy quarterback Luke Collis (Pasadena, CA) was consistently hurried in the pocket, giving the SCIAC receptions leader Ryan Rodriguez (Oakley, CA) and SCIAC touchdown receptions leader Matthew Tuckness (Alamo, CA) little time to break open on their routes. Collis finished the game just 18 of 42 for 186 yards, but did find Tuckness twice in the second half for scores.
It is an unfortunate way to end an otherwise good season that was marked by injuries to key players for the second half of the year. Defensive starters Nate Proulx (Bothell, WA), Kevin May (Calabasas, CA), Carter Norfleet (Solana Beach, CA), among others, all missed games throughout the season. Greg Holsworth (Arlington, WA), one of Oxy's defensive captains, even had to fill in offensively for the last four games of the season at tight end.
Even if they Tigers beat the Kingsmen, the chances that they would have received at at-large bid to the NCAA Division III postseason tournament were slim, considering that Cal Lu earned the conference's automatic bid and with University of Redlands likely to receive at at-large bid as the second SCIAC team in.
One Oxy bright spot was Josh Mun (Manoa, HI) hitting his longest field goal of the season, a 42-yarder just before halftime.