Around the GNAC: Huge win for Azusa over No. 2 Grand Valley to open season

Around the GNAC

Coming up

Azusa Pacific, which climbed eight positions in this week’s American Football Coaches pre-season poll, travels to Arcata, Calif. Saturday for a non-conference game with Humboldt State. Kickoff is at 6 p.m.

The game is one of four non-conference contests on this week’s schedule.

Elsewhere Dixie State plays at Central Washington, Western Oregon visits Simon Fraser and South Dakota Mines plays at Black Hills State. Those three games all begin at 1 p.m. local time.

gnacAzusa Pacific and Humboldt State were the only GNAC teams to win on the opening weekend. Thus Saturday’s winner will emerge as the lone unbeaten team in the conference.

Last week

The Cougars stunned No. 2 ranked Grand Valley State 26-23 in double overtime before a APU record crowd of 6,199 at Citrus Stadium in Glendora, Calif.

Meanwhile, Humboldt State went on the road and got a 27-14 win at Texas A&M-Kingsville to end a 13-game losing streak dating back to late in the 2012 season.

Azusa Pacific’s victory enabled the Cougars to climb eight spots in this week’s AFCA poll to No. 14. APU, which has won nine straight, is also ranked 17th in the poll.

Terrell Watson rushed for 202 yards, including 50 in the two overtime sessions, to key APU’s victory and earn GNAC Offensive Player of the Week honors. It was Watson’s fourth career 200-yard game, a GNAC record.

Watson also increased his career rushing total to 3,805 yards. In three seasons in the GNAC, he has a conference record 3,108 yards and his the only player in GNAC history to rush for 3,000 yards.

APU cornerback C.J. Broussard, who had eight tackles and two takeaways (fumble recovery, interception) shared Defensive Player of the Week honors with Humboldt State linebacker Travis Hansen.

Hansen had six tackles, including three for losses of eight yards, as the Lumberjacks rallied from a 14-3 second-half deficit to beat Texas A&M–Kingsville 27-14. Last year the Texas team beat Central Washington 21-14 in its opener.

It was HSU’s first victory since defeating Central Washington 14-10 on Oct. 27, 2012. Last year, the Lumberjacks’ were winless in 11 contests.

“Last year we had one of those seasons,” HSU head coach Rob Smith said. “It was a perfect storm where everything that could go wrong, went wrong.

“Tonight our kids were resilient,” Smith said after the win. “Even down 14-3 at the beginning of the second half, there wasn’t doubt. We needed someone to step up and make a play (and they did).”

Two of the players that stepped up were freshman – quarterback Robert Webber who passed for 191 yards and wasn’t intercepted (18-31-0) and running back Ja’Quan Gardner who averaged 9.2 yards (17-156).

GNAC Highlights

Watson and Gardner were among four players to rush for 100 yards on the opening weekend.

Dixie State had two in its 44-37 overtime loss at Colorado Mesa as Colton Peterson netted 112 yards and Myles Burton had 104.

Meanwhile, five QBs threw for 200 or more yards, led by Ryan Bergman of Western Oregon who threw for 413 – equaling the 14th best total in GNAC history – in a 45-38 loss to Portland State.

Dixie’s Hayden Gavett made his debut netting 413 yards – 339 passing and 74 rushing – in the Red Storm’s loss.

Montana transfer Trent McKinney had 311 passing yards in South Dakota Mines’ 43-19 loss to Colorado Mines.

Meanwhile, Simon Fraser’s Ryan Stanford threw for 260 yards and three touchdowns in a 31-24 home loss to Menlo and Jake Nelson of Central Washington had 217 yards in a 48-14 loss at Montana.

Stanford has seven 200-yard games last year, while Nelson had just one.

Three players had 100-yard receiving games, led by Lemar Durant of Simon Fraser (11-151).

Western Oregon had two as Kamakana Apelu had 131 yards on nine catches and Paul Revis had 109 yards on eight catches. Both players are freshmen.

Opening Week Features Two Overtimes

Two games in the opening weekend went into overtime as Azusa Pacific edged Grand Valley State 26-23 and Dixie State lost to Colorado Mines 44-37.

That was the first time in GNAC history two overtime games have been played on the same weekend. The last overtime game came on Oct. 8, 2011 when Simon Fraser outlasted Dixie State 62-56.

The games were also the 12th and 13th overtime games in GNAC history. Dixie State has played in four of the last five, losing all four.

Azusa Pacific 0-0 .000 1-0 1.000 1-0 0-0 0-0 W1
Humboldt State 0-0 .000 1-0 1.000 0-0 1-0 0-0 W1
Central Washington 0-0 .000 0-1 .000 0-0 0-1 0-0 L1
Dixie State 0-0 .000 0-1 .000 0-0 0-1 0-0 L1
Simon Fraser 0-0 .000 0-1 .000 0-1 0-0 0-0 L1
South Dakota Mines 0-0 .000 0-1 .000 0-1 0-0 0-0 L1
Western Oregon 0-0 .000 0-1 .000 0-0 0-1 0-0 L1

Around the GNAC is written by GNAC Information Director Bob Guptill and follows the weekly milestones and events in Great Northwest Athletic Conference football.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @oldschoolag

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2014, all rights reserved.

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