TACOMA, Wash. – The passing game picked up right where it left off; however, the Puget Sound football team dropped its 2011 opener 30-12 to Occidental College on Saturday. The Loggers racked up 395 yards through the air with senior George Ka'ai passing for 367 yards in his first Logger start.
Ka'ai was 41-of-67 on the day as the Loggers actually outgained the visiting Tigers 425 yards to 403 yards. Preseason All-American Adam Kniffin hauled in a game-high 16 catches for 114 yards. Ross Zuhl made 10 grabs for the Loggers for 71 yards.
The Tigers (1-0) broke the silence with less than a minute left in the first quarter. When Luke Collis found Matt Tuckness for a 19-yard TD strike, but the Loggers blocked the extra point attempt. The two hooked up again in the third quarter for a 9-yard score that gave Ocidental a 23-6 lead.
A second quarter field goal put the Tigers up 10-0 before the Loggers finally lit up the scoreboard. Kniffin hauled in an 18-yard pass from Ka'ai but a 2-point conversion was stopped inside the 1-yard line.
With time winding down in the second, Collis hit Bobby Phillips for a 15-yard touchdown to give the Tigers a 16-6 lead. Collis threw for four TDs, hitting Wes McDaniel for a TD in the fourth quarter to round out the scoring.
With 11:27 left in the fourth, Ka'ai hit Thiesen Chang for a 60 yard pass on 4th and 12 to set up the Loggers next score. On the next play, Ka'ai found Kniffin in the end zone for the second time to pull the Loggers closer at 23-12.
However, the Loggers were unable to find the end zone the rest of the way. Mike Raub recovered a fumble deep in Occidental territory but Ka'ai's first pass was picked off by Nate Proulx to dash the Loggers hopes.
Ka'ai threw four interceptions on the day and the Loggers lost the turnover battle 5-1 with all five turnovers coming in the red zone for the Loggers.
The Loggers will stay home next week for Homecoming and Family Weekend when they host Sewanee at 1 p.m.