SFU can’t overcome early Cougar attack, lose 41–28
The Simon Fraser football team went out for their last game of the season last week. They took on the Azusa Pacific University Cougars, who were one position below the Clan in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference standing. Unfortunately, the Clan were unable to mount another miraculous comeback like they did against Humboldt State, and lost the game 41–28.
The Cougars scored early and often in the first quarter. They started with a 23-yard field goal after a few solid passing plays and an 18-yard rush from Cougars running back Ronald Douglas. The Clan tried to respond, but quarterback Trey Wheeler was picked off, giving the ball back to the Cougars on their own 36-yard line. Both teams used both of their quarterbacks to try and get an advantage. It worked for the Cougars; after JoJo Bones rushed for 10 yards and the first down, Nick Owens went in. He tossed up a 42-yard bomb to wide receiver Ed Dillihunt, who ran it in for a touchdown, pushing their lead to 10–0.
On the ensuing Clan drive, running back Bo Palmer was able to get the Clan moving with a 27-yard rush that got them down to the Cougars’ 48-yard line. They did not get much farther, as the Cougars’ defense and a costly penalty kept the Clan from scoring. The punt pinned the Cougars deep in their own zone, so they had to start from their own one-yard line.
The Clan’s run defense was their Achilles’ heel once again, as the Cougars pounded the ball up the field using the run nine times, including a 41-yard rush by Terrell Watson. He ended up finishing the drive with a six-yard run into the end zone. The first quarter ended with the Clan down by 17 points.
The Clan defense continued to struggle with the run in the second quarter when Owens went for a 63-yard jaunt to the SFU 33-yard line. Their defense stepped up after that and kept the score at 17–0. The Clan sacked Owens on fourth and 10 for eight yards, giving them the ball at their own 41. Palmer rushed the ball for 25 yards, and the eventual touchdown on the drive, pulling the Clan within 10. As the half ended, the Clan were in need of another huge second-half performance to win.
It was the Cougars who scored the first points out of the locker room to start the half. Bones capped off a nine-play, 66-yard drive with a rushing touchdown, putting the Cougars up 24–7. After some back-and-forth action, the Clan had a good drive going as they headed into the fourth quarter, but they were stuck at the APU 16-yard line on fourth and one to go. Wheeler found Jamal Kett for a first down. Palmer did the rest, completing his second touchdown of the game and closing the gap to 10 points once again.
The fourth quarter saw both teams putting up points. The Cougars matched their first-quarter total with two touchdowns and a field goal. The Clan scored touchdowns on their last three of four possessions, but it was not enough to overcome the deficit this time. They lost their final game of the season.
Palmer, who was named to the GNAC All-Academic team, had 159 yards on 26 carries, and two touchdowns. Trey Wheeler threw for 289 yards and a touchdown, and was 25–44 on the day.
They finished the season 5–6 overall with a 4–6 record in the GNAC. This leaves them fourth in the conference, tied with the Cougars and ahead of Dixie State (3–7). This is an improvement from last year, when they finished with a 3–7 record.