First Place Bulldogs Too Much for Sagehens

After their 49-0 victory over the Pomona-Pitzer football team this past weekend, Redlands University is guaranteed a first place spot in SCIAC. The Sagehens committed a season-high of five turnovers and were held to just 177 yards of total offense, while the Bulldogs’ high-powered attack notched 435 yards and just one turnover. Redlands also shut out the Hens in last year’s game. With the win, Redlands improved to 6-2 overall and 6-0 in SCIAC play while P-P fell to 2-6 overall and 2-4 in conference games.

The Bulldogs got off to a quick start when Curran Fudge returned the opening kickoff 68 yards to the Sagehens’ 17-yard line. Four plays later, running back Bobby Brown took a handoff and broke through the P-P defensive line to score from three yards out. Less than five minutes later, after a Sagehens punt, the Bulldogs struck again. Wide receiver Steven Herber capped a 65-yard drive with a 14-yard touchdown reception from quarterback Kevin Russell to put the Bulldogs up 14-0 after the extra point was tacked on.

Redlands linebacker Michael Tootie forced a fumble on the next Sagehens possession, which Redlands recovered on the P-P 45-yard line. Russell connected with Herber again, who found his way down to the Sagehens’ five-yard line. Brown scored his second touchdown of the game on a one-yard run, to give the Bulldogs a 21-0 lead late in the first quarter. 

The Sagehens tried to curtail the Bulldogs’ momentum early in the second quarter after Kyle Roskamp PO ’14 recovered on the 50-yard line, putting the Sagehens in a threatening position. Redlands’ DJ Dawson Jr. intercepted P-P quarterback Alex Bresler PO 17, however, halting the Sagehen comeback. Bresler’s interception, the first of three on the day, set up another scoring drive for the Bulldogs. Russell led Redlands down the field on a seven-play, 68-yard drive capped off by a touchdown reception from senior wide receiver Aaron Atkins. The touchdown gave the Bulldogs a 28-0 lead going into halftime. 

The Sagehens’ best scoring opportunity of the first half came halfway through the second quarter when Bresler and some quality runs by Kyle Lee PO 17 helped lead the offense to the Redlands three-yard line. On fourth and goal from the three, P-P decided to try to convert the fourth down opportunity and Bresler hit wide receiver Jack Pietrykowski PO ’16, but he was stopped inside of the one-yard line.

The Sagehens’ opening drive of the second half came to an abrupt end when Stephen Reyes picked off Bresler on the P-P 41-yard line. Just three plays later, the Bulldogs scored again. Herber notched his second touchdown of the game on a 24-yard completion from Russell to put Redlands up 35-0 after the extra point.

Minutes later, Redlands scored again, this time on a third down and long situation from the P-P 36-yard line. Russell threw his fourth touchdown of the game, as Atkins caught his second scoring pass of the day, to give the Bulldogs a 42-0 lead in the third quarter. To cap the scoring for the game, Fudge intercepted Bresler and then returned the ball 31 yards for a pick-six late in the third.

Redland’s Kevin Russell threw for 237 yards and was 14-20 with four touchdown passes. Bobby Brown led the Bulldogs’ rushing attack with 65 yards on 15 attempts and two touchdowns. On defense, Redlands shut down the passing game and gave the Hens a lot of trouble on third down. They were just 4 of 15 on third-down conversions.

Despite the lopsided loss, two Sagehens stood out for their excellent play. On the offensive side of the ball, first-year Lee rushed for 73 yards on 15 carries in his first game as the primary running back. Roskamp led the Hens on defense, with eight solo tackles and 13 total. He also recovered a fumble, while adding a sack and a tackle for a loss.

Noticeably missing from the contest was Duncan Hussey CGU, P-P’s No. 1 wide receiver. Hussey has notched 40 receptions thus far and has 502 receiving yards in just five games, but the star wide-out has missed the last two games with an injury. Wide receiver Ryan Randle PO ’14 will miss the rest of the season with a broken foot. Brett Harper PO ’16, normally a running back, caught nine passes for 50 yards as the Hens’ leading receiver.

The Sagehens will finish out their season with a rivalry matchup at CMS at 1 p.m. on Saturday in the annual Sixth Street rivalry game. The Sagehens beat the Stags 37-0 in last year’s match-up, and both teams will be coming out with something to prove. Both teams enter with a 2-6 record on the year, with both of Claremont-Mudd-Scripps’s wins coming in overtime.

When asked about how his team will prepare, Coach Roger Caron said, “Despite the big rivalry between us and CMS, we are preparing as we would any other week: working hard, making sure we get our schemes down, and looking forward to playing hard on Saturday.” He also noted that he was optimistic that Hussey will play on Saturday, but that will be a game-time decision. Expect Lee to see some touches on offense after a good game against Redlands. 

Caron also spoke highly of his quarterback, Bresler. 

“Alex has done everything we have asked him to. His original position was at safety, but he really worked hard to succeed as a quarterback when we needed him,” Caron said. 

Caron cited the change in speed from high school to college as a huge adjustment. 

“Alex had a tough game against a very good Redlands team, but he’s still learning and adjusting to the speed of the game and overall has performed very well for us. I think that with maturity his game is going to get even better,” Caron said. 

Bresler’s maturity will certainly be challenged on Saturday, and he and the rest of the P-P offense will have to rebound and play well all game to upend the Stags.

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