In a contest defined by defense, physical play and penalties, the University of Redlands held off the University of La Verne by a 27-7 verdict in SCIAC action Saturday at Ortmayer Stadium.
Though the Leopards held Redlands to 212 yards of offense, it was the Bulldog defense that provided big plays as a pair of Leopard turnovers were converted into two first-half touchdowns to help give the visitors a 20-7 halftime advantage.
The Bulldogs suffered the first turnover of the game on their very first possession when a fumble by running back Brad Crisanty was recovered by Ryan Baranek on the Leopard 44-yard line.
The Leopards failed to convert the miscue into points and were forced to punt. Redlands would gain 24 yards on 5 plays during their next possession as the Leo defense forced the drive to stall on the La Verne 47.
The Leopards regained possession at their own 13. Six plays into the drive at its own 31, Redlands linebacker Jordan Garcia intercepted a Leopard pass at the 32 and ran 30 yards to the Leopard 2-yard line. Three plays later, Bulldog fullback Tyson Moll scored from 2 yards out to put UR up 7-0 with 5:10 remaining in the first quarter.
La Verne responded to knot the score at 7-7 when quarterback Thomas Arguello eluded would-be tacklers at the line of scrimmage and outraced the remaining Bulldog defenders down the sideline for a 69-yard scoring sprint with 4:52 left in the opening quarter.
Redlands (6-1, 4-1 SCIAC) would regain momentum when Tyler Aubrey took the kickoff and ran 54 yards to the Leopard 31 to set up a Joe MacMillian field goal from 32 yards out to give the Bulldogs a 10-7 advantage.
The Bulldog defense struck again when defensive back Vince Aiello returned a Leopard interception and ran into the end zone for 29-yard touchdown to give Redlands a 10-point advantage at 17-7 with 1:22 remaining in the first quarter.
Both defenses controlled action throughout the second quarter as a MacMillian field goal from 25 yards out pushed the Bulldog lead to 20-7 with 2:12 left before intermission.
The third quarter was nearly a repeat of the second, as both teams failed to produce any points. La Verne (0-7, 5-4 SCIAC) has possession for 11:18 of the third quarter, much of it coming on a 15-play drive which lasted 8:53. The drive stalled at the Redlands 42-yard line and were forced to punt with 1:05 left in the quarter.
After the two teams traded possessions, the Bulldogs would produce the final touchdown on an 8-play, 60-yard drive resulting in a 5-yard scoring pass from Dan Selway to Evan Reuter with 6:17 remaining.
Despite the loss, the Leopards outgained Redlands 277-212 in total offense and held a 33:08-26:52 edge in time of possession. The Leopards however committed an uncharacteristic 13 penalties totaling 98 yards.
Selway collected 189 yards on 18-of-29 passing while Reuter had a game-high 7 receptions for 90 yards. Nine different Bulldog receivers caught at least one pass.
Arguello completed 14 of 30 passes for 103 yards on the day in addition to totaling 56 rushing yards and a TD. Allen Daniels caught 4 passes for 56 yards. On defense, Wardell Campbell collected 9 total tackles for the Leopards including a pair of tackles for losses. Filip Marcelin added 6 tackles.
La Verne continues SCIAC action next weekend as it host Pomona-Pitzer for its annual Homecoming Game, set for 1 pm Saturday at Ortmayer Stadium.