Last Saturday, the Clan faced the Humboldt State University (HSU) Lumberjacks, the number one defence and second placed offence in the Great Northwest Conference (GNAC). Despite this, SFU had the Lumberjacks’ number last season, winning two matchups 41-27 and 38-17.
This game, however, did not go in the Clan’s favour, with the Lumberjacks’ offence capitalizing on SFU’s early mistakes.
“We’ve just been suffering from slow starts for a lot of this season, that’s something we’ve got to change,” said offensive lineman Felix Gacusana Jr. “We need to start faster.”
On the first drive of the game, the Lumberjacks picked off an eight-yard pass from quarterback Ryan Stanford, and completed their drive minutes later; Lumberjack running back Nick Ricciardulli — second in the GNAC for rushing yards — ran the ball in for a touchdown.
HSU, desperate for a chance to make the regional championship, attempted a two-point conversion and missed, putting them up by only six points.
On the next drive Stanford threw another interception, but this time, the Lumberjacks could not capitalize. The Clan would keep the Lumberjacks off the board for the rest of the first quarter.
HSU scored a field goal next, but the Clan made big gains in their responding drive, taking the ball to the goal line, thanks in good part to Stephen Spagnuolo, who had 33 rushing yards on that drive alone.
However, this turned out to be the first of many missed opportunities for the Clan. At the goal line, they could not convert for a touchdown, and found themselves pointless after a 74-yard drive, as Tiernan Docherty missed the 24-yard field goal.
“We had some good drives, and we had a chance, [but] when we get into a situation of opportunity, it just seems like it’s too big for us,” said head coach Jacques Chapdelaine.
Another turnover for SFU, and a touchdown for HSU would mark the second quarter. The Clan did manage to put a field goal on the board, off of an interception by Joshua Jackai, as the clock went to zero in the first half, sending SFU into halftime down 16-3.
For some of the second half, it looked as if the momentum might swing in the Clan’s favour, as after only allowing a field goal, they scored their first touchdown of the game with 6:32 left in the third quarter.
The Clan scored two touchdowns on the night — the second in the fourth quarter — however, Humboldt responded immediately to both with touchdowns of their own, negating any possible comeback for the Clan.
After the two seven-pointers, offence was non-existent on either side in the fourth. SFU had one last attempt with Stanford throwing a 21-yarder to Lemar Durant. However, his next pass was intercepted, and neither team could put up a drive of more than 10 yards.The game ended 33-17 in Humboldt’s favour.
“We just kept shooting ourselves in the foot, we have so much potential to be good, but for some reason we’re just not executing as well as we should be,” said Gasucana. “Today we had glimpses of us reaching our potential but we’ve got to play a complete game.”
One of the positives of the game was Spagnuolo, who ran for 106 yards, including one touchdown.
Jordan Herdman put up the standout performance of the game, with 27 total tackles, increasing his total to 159 on the season and breaking the current GNAC record of 158 with two games left in the season. For his effort, Herdman was awarded the GNAC defensive player of the week.
The Clan will look to win their remaining games at home; currently sitting at 2-3 in the conference, they will attempt to bring their record to .500 in the conference.
The Clan honoured the 1994 SFU football team, including BC Lions star Angus Reid. Seventeen former players attended the halftime ceremony, along with former head coach Chris Beaton, as well as his assistant coaches.