Covering Dallas, Monmouth, Independence, Falls City and surrounding areas since 1868
WOU quarterback Cody VonAppen dives for some extra yardage Saturday. VonAppen threw for two touchdowns and added another rushing score for the Wolves.
September 25, 2012
WESTERN OREGON 20, SIMON FRASER 16
MONMOUTH -- With the ball in the hands of talented Simon Fraser quarterback Trey Wheeler, the Clan stood 14 yards away from handing the Western Oregon University football team another last-minute heartbreak.
Then Scotland Foss made a play that might have changed his squad's entire season.
"It seemed like we had soft coverage there -- they were marching down the field, and making good plays," the senior linebacker said of SFU's 10-play, 64-yard drive that gave the Clan the ball on WOU's 14-yard line with 30 seconds remaining in the game.
"I was reading the receiver, I was expecting something down the middle," Foss added.
"So I saw his eyes, turned around and made the play."
"The play" was his game-ending interception in the end zone that sealed WOU's first victory of the season, as the Wolves held off Simon Fraser for a 20-16, come-from-behind win Saturday at McArthur Field.
For the Wolves' fans that witnessed the Sept. 15 shocking overtime loss to Central Washington and the first half of Saturday's contest against Simon Fraser, it was an unexpected ending for a WOU squad that has struggled, to say the least.
The Clan (1-3, 0-3 GNAC) led 7-0 at the half, largely due to WOU running back Kenneth Haynes' fumble on the 3-yard line with 6 seconds to play in the second quarter that stalled his team's chances of going into the locker room with points on the scoreboard. WOU's 99 total offensive yards and five first-half punts didn't aid matters.
The second half -- WOU's Achilles' heel in its first three games -- seemed par for the course, as Simon Fraser added a 22-yard field goal on its first offensive possession to take a 10-0 lead.
But finally, after another failed WOU offensive drive, something clicked -- mainly a 59-yard touchdown pass from Cody VonAppen to Royce Spencer that breathed life into the Wolves and cut the third-quarter lead to four, at 10-6 (the point after kick was blocked).
WOU’s Kenneth Haynes, top, tries to elude a Simon Fraser defender in Saturday’s game. Haynes rushed for 52 yards against SFU.
VonAppen, who had struggled throwing the ball in his first three starts, then showed the crowd of 1,353 his worth in the fourth quarter.
After SFU pinned the Wolves at their own 2-yard line to start the final frame, VonAppen led his offense on a 13-play, 98-yard touchdown drive, capped by his 20-yard pass to a wide-open Joe Harris.
VonAppen (19-of-32 for 253 yards) completed all six of his passes on that drive -- including two big completions to Spencer (20 yards) and Tyrell Williams (11 yards) -- and rushed for 20 yards of his own to cap his best 4 minutes and 31 seconds of the year and give his team a 13-10 lead.
"The first half, we were just missing on little things -- had a couple of big procedure fouls and some big penalties," VonAppen said after the win.
"But in the second half, we just put it all together and finally got a drive going. (The receivers are) doing a great job of getting open and (offensive coordinator) coach (Brian) Harris did a great job of getting the scheme on point.
"Everything was awesome (Saturday)."
SFU responded with a 33-yard touchdown connection from Wheeler (36-of-46 for 404 yards and two touchdowns) to Lemar Durant (12 catches for 112 yards) to take the lead again with 5:18 to go, but VonAppen and the WOU offense responded once more, as the quarterback capped an eight-play, 69-yard drive with a 1-yard touchdown run to give WOU its final lead.
"Cody stepped up," WOU coach Arne Ferguson said. "He's very dynamic, very explosive, and sometimes he's just trying to pinpoint things too much.
He added: "Cody just kept moving the ball, giving us chances and then took care of the football in critical situations. Honestly, his first time starting consistently, the only way you're going to get better is being underneath the fire, so we're proud of him."
VonAppen finished the game with all three of WOU's touchdowns -- two passing and one rushing -- and didn't throw an interception after tallying three picks against Central Washington.
Spencer was his favorite target, catching six passes for 117 yards and a score, while Williams (63 yards) and Tyler Davis (47 yards) tallied five receptions each.
Defensively, Bryce Peila led WOU with 11 tackles and Foss had two interceptions, snagging his first on a Wheeler pass in the first quarter.
Western won despite being out-gained in total offense, 496 to 347.
Western Oregon (1-3, 1-2 GNAC) at Azusa Pacific (0-4, 0-3 GNAC)
When: 6 p.m. Saturday.
Where: Cougar Stadium, Azusa, Calif.
Preview: Azusa Pacific, in its first year as an active member of the GNAC, is still searching for its first win after a 41-17 rout at the hands of Central Washington Saturday. The Cougars dropped a 24-22 decision to Dixie State in Week 3 and fell 42-7 to Humboldt State in Week 2. Running back Terrell Watson leads the way offensively with 419 yards rushing this season, while the quarterback position has been up for grabs -- three players have started behind center. Tyler Tuiasosopo has had the most attempts, completing 30 of 64 passes for 381 yards and two TDs. The two teams have not met since 2010, when Western Oregon defeated the Cougars in Monmouth, 38-17.