Last Saturday, the Clan travelled to Monmouth, OR for a rainy, windy rematch against the Western Oregon University (WOU) Wolves, who bested them at home on September 13.
In that game, the Wolves won 38-14, and gameplay was marked by little offence in the first half; SFU did not take the lead once.
Saturday’s game was not very different — at least, not in the beginning. In the first half, only 17 points were scored between the two teams, with a touchdown each, and an SFU field goal.
SFU’s opening drive seemed to hint at momentum: they gained 50 yards, 18 of which were on a pass, caught by running back Stephen Spagnuolo from quarterback Ryan Stanford. However, after that play, the Clan were only able to notch three more yards and were forced to punt the ball.
SFU made some decent yardage in their drives throughout the first quarter, but it would be the Wolves who drew first blood, scoring the only points of the first quarter — a touchdown..
WOU quarterback Ryan Bergman threw a 35-yard pass to Wolves receiver Tyrell Williams, putting the Wolves on the board, up by seven, and ending the scoring in the first quarter.
SFU, though, answered rather quickly in the start of the second quarter. Having only gained one yard before the quarter switch, Stanford threw a 60-yarder to wide receiver Lemar Durant, putting the Clan at WOU’s 19-yard line. Spagnuolo would gain five and seven yards in two consecutive rushes to put the Clan at first and goal.
However, they lost two yards on their next play, and Stanford was unable to pass into the endzone for the touchdown. SFU was able to put up their first points of the night, however, with a 26-yard field goal by Tiernan Docherty.
With three points on the board, the Clan did not wait long to put up their own seven-pointer.
After the Clan were able to keep the Wolves to just one yard on their previous drive, middle linebacker Jordan Herdman intercepted a Bergman pass. This time, Stanford wasted no time, and threw another bomb — this one 51 yards — to Durant.
SFU had the 10–7 lead going into the half, and with a tight defence, they looked to be headed to their third victory of the season.
Looks can be deceiving, though, and the Clan would only muster two more field goals, while the Wolves found their offence in the second half, putting three touchdowns on the board.
“The weather was a factor and with the lead at halftime that we had, I really thought we could take the extra possession in the second half and try to build on our lead,” head coach Jacques Chapdelaine told SFU Athletics. “We did not do [that] unfortunately.”
Western Oregon scored their second touchdown of the afternoon, just under five minutes into the third quarter, when SFU allowed a 35-yard Wolves pass.
The Clan responded with two consecutive field goals, to reclaim the lead. The first one was a 39-yarder by Docherty, after a 52-yard drive. The second came at the beginning of the fourth quarter, after a 5:33 drive that took the Clan to Western Oregon’s eight-yard line.
The failure to convert for a touchdown, though, on either of these drives foreshadowed the direction in which the game was heading.
After preventing the Wolves from gaining a single yard, the Clan looked primed for another touchdown, or at least a field goal, having made it to the goal line. However, a bad hut would cause Stanford to panic and throw an interception. Although the Wolves only made six yards on the resulting drive, this signalled the end for the Clan.
Western Oregon scored two more touchdowns, off of 29- and 54- yard passes, and the Clan could not manage a first down in either of their responses, feeding the Wolves the 27–16 victory.
Despite the late game turnover, Stanford had a solid night putting up 299 passing yards. However, he had a below 50 per cent passing percentage and had a hard time converting for touchdowns, despite multiple lengthy passes to take the Clan near the endzone.
Durant had a great night, notching 184 receiving yards, as did Spagnuolo who led the team in rushing yards with 132 yards. Jordan Herdman once again led the team in tackles with six solo tackles and four assists.
The team is now 2-2, and remains at sixth place in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference (GNAC), and will play their remaining games at home at Swangard Field.. The Clan have three more games remaining, and will play them all at Swangard Stadium.