SFU has now dropped the first two games of the season, losing to the Western Oregon Wolves on September 13 by a score of 38-14. This marked their first game against a GNAC opponent, although it did not count in GNAC standings.
The first quarter was marked by little offence, with neither team putting points on the board, perhaps aided by the astronomical number of penalties against SFU. Although the flags did not contribute to the Wolves’ point total, they did serve to slow down the game and removeany Clan momentum.
In the first quarter, SFU went four of six on third down conversions, which is a good total, but it also speaks to the Clan’s inability to achieve first downs, and ultimately convert.
A bright spot for SFU’s offence appeared during a 5:45-long drive in which the Clan made it to the Wolves’ six-yard line, in part thanks to a 20-yard pass from quarterback Ryan Stanford to newly minted starter Sam Swerhone.
This forward progress was immediately interrupted by an interception in the end zone by Western Oregon with 1:34 left in the quarter. This would be one of SFU’s many missed opportunities and a sign of things to come.
Within two minutes of the second quarter, Wolves running back Joe Harris, who plagued the Clan all afternoon, ran the ball in for a touchdown, opening up the scoring.
SFU returned the favour quickly, however, when Chris Tolbert rushed five yards, tying up the scoreboard. However, Tolbert’s game has been inconsistent to say the least, with one fumble this game and two in the previous match.
SFU was forced to re-kick the ball twice after kicker Tiernan Docherty kicked out of bounds. Things would turn from bad to worse, as the Clan allowed a 62-yard pass to Wolves receiver Tyrell Williams for a second touchdown, returning the lead to the Wolves.
Turnovers would become the main story for the Clan; they ended up with four in the final tally, resulting in each of Western Oregon’s next scoring opportunities. The Wolves would score both a touchdown and a field goal off of turnovers, taking the score to 24-7.
SFU kept themselves in the game with a touchdown with only 12.4 seconds left in the half with a nine-yard reception by third-string running back Cole Tudor.
When the second half begun, however, any good will that the Clan built quickly evaporated when the Wolves scored another touchdown 1:42 in, and another just under half-way through the quarter, bringing the game to its final score of 38-14.
The Clan were unable to put any more points on the board and Western Oregon seemed content killing the clock.
Before the end of the game, head coach Jacques Chapdelaine took Stanford out, concerned that the team around him had given up on the game, particularly in the third quarter collapse.
“Our team just did not seem to have the energy to fight through adversity,” commented Chapdelaine. “That’s concerning to me, I don’t like to see that.”
With most of SFU’s problems being self-inflicted — mainly turnovers and penalties — he added, “We just seem to look for ways to hurt ourselves.”
However, not all was negative. Before being pulled, Stanford threw for 387 yards, while in the absence of wide receiver Lemar Durant, who was out with illness, much of the team stepped up. Bobby Pospischil’s 145 receiving yards were a game highlight, while Jamal Kett, Kyle Kawamoto and Swerhone each had over 50 yards. Linebacker Jordan Herdman led the team in tackles for the second week in a row with nine.
There were a lot of good things out there,” concluded the coach. “The elements are all there, we’ve just got to keep pushing on in the same direction.”