Mounted by a fourth quarter comeback, the Pacific University Football team saw their conference championship aspirations and post-season hopes disappear as the Willamette University Bearcats escaped with a victory on Nov. 9.
After going into the half with a 7-7 tie, the Boxers dominated the third quarter and took a 17-7 advantage after forcing two Willamette fumbles.
The Boxers, however, were unable to seal the deal, as the Bearcats were able to break off a few long passes on their way to a 21-17 victory.
The Boxers were held to just 266 yards of total offense, which although is still high and respectable, it was the lowest output by the Boxers’ offense this season.
Just a week earlier on Nov. 2, the Boxers came out with an offensive explosion as they cruised to a 68-28 victory over the Lewis & Clark College Pioneers.
The Boxers pounded the Pioneers on the ground with 386 of team’s 560 total offensive yards coming from the rushing game. Seven of the Boxers’ ten touchdowns came on the ground.
Going into the game against Willamette, Pacific had earned the No. 25 ranking in the American Football Coaches Association Division III Coaches Poll, but the loss to the Bearcats will more than likely knock them out of the top 25.
The loss to the Bearcats also puts the Boxers out of the race for the Northwest Conference Championship.
To have had a shot at being crowned co-conference champions, Pacific had to beat both Willamette and Linfield in the final game of the regular season.
In the preseason coaches’ poll, Pacific was picked to finish fifth in the final NWC standings but is now guaranteed at least a top four finish. If the Boxers are able to pull off the upset against Linfield, the Boxers would finish at least tied in third place with Willamette.
In a season that has exceeded expectations, the Boxers will look to finish strong in a home matchup Nov. 16 against the unbeaten Wildcats.
In the process, the Pacific Football team will say farewell to 38 seniors who have been instrumental in rebuilding Pacific’s football program.
But before the celebrations and praising can begin, the Boxers will first have to look to taking care of business against the Wildcats.
An upset victory over the reigning four-time NWC Champions would be the perfect ending to the season and for the first senior class since re-birth.
Kickoff for the final game is scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 16, at 1 p.m. at Lincoln Park Stadium.