The University of La Verne, behind six defensive takeaways, routed the University of Puget Sound, 38-14, Saturday at Ortmayer Stadium in La Verne.
The Leopards never trailed in the game, which saw La Verne drive down the field on the opening possession for a touchdown.
Junior quarterback Brian Guerrero’s 11-yard pass to junior fullback Joe Camacho capped off the five-minute drive.
Puget Sound, known mainly as a rushing offense, ran the ball on eight of their first nine plays using most of the clock in the first quarter.
On a second and 16-play, senior linebacker Adrian Medrano intercepted a Puget Sound pass and returned it 40 yards.
Head coach Don Morel and his players understood the importance of limiting Puget
Sound’s rushing attack coming into the game.
“That is all we talked about before the game started,” senior wide receiver Roger Logan said. “As long as we stopped the run, they had to pass and that is not their game.”
Logan finished the game with a team high 122 yards receiving on six receptions.
“We understood that Puget Sound was not a throwing team,” Morel said.
Kicker Dave Rinderknecht added a field goal early in the second quarter to put La Verne on top, 10-8.
On the next possession, after the Leopards held the Loggers to three and out, Guerrero marched the offense down the field capping the drive with a 20-yard touchdown pass to sophomore wide receiver Justin Ankeney. The 11-play 67-yard drive, along with Rinderknecht’s extra point, put La Verne on top, 17-8.
ULV took advantage of senior defensive back Gabe Segovia’s interception with Guerrero this time hooking up with junior running back Phillip Craig for a 29-yard touchdown pass.
Rinderknecht’s extra point put the Leopards up, 24-8.
Four Logger plays later, Segovia intercepted another pass, which set up another Guerrero touchdown pass this time connecting with senior wide receiver Dustin Elliot. The touchdown pass capped off a 6-play 48-yard drive, which put ULV on top, 31-8, a lead they would take into halftime and would never relinquish.
Elliot finished the game with a team high seven catches for 80 yards and a touchdown.
Segovia and Medrano’s interceptions really set the pace for ULV giving them excellent field position on almost every drive.
“We are a much faster team and we played fast early,” Morel said. “The seniors on defense really came through.”
Segovia led the defense with seven tackles and two interceptions on the day.
The Loggers cut the lead in the third quarter with a 9-play 70-yard drive finished by a two-yard rush by running back Andrew Watkins.
The two-point conversion failed leaving the Leopards with a 31-14 advantage.
Craig’s touchdown of eight yards midway through the fourth quarter extended La Verne’s lead, 38-14.
Craig finished the game with 12 carries for 43 yards and a touchdown. Senior running back Mike Anello chipped in with 12 carries for 46 yards.
Besides the defense’s six takeaways in the game, the play of quarterback continued to be consistent. Guerrero’s 384 yards and four touchdowns earned him Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference player of the week honors.
“Guerrero played very well but we believe that he can play even better,” Morel said. “Our offense gets better as Brian gets better.”
After the victory, ULV began to look forward to this weekend, which entails a match up with conference foe Claremont-
“We need to play as good as last week or better and we will blow them out,” senior tight end Leandre Allen said.
Coach Morel was more reserved when speaking of tomorrow’s game against CMS.
“We are going to have to be consistent to beat Claremont,” Morel said. “They do not beat themselves.”
With the victory, ULV improved to (2-1, 1-0) on the year and will face CMS at 1 p.m. tomorrow at Ortmayer Stadium in La Verne.
The Leopards defeated the Stags, 20-14, last year behind running back Steve Smith’s 207 yards rushing.
ULV amassed 311 yards rushing on that night.
Steven Falls can be reached at email@example.com.