CLAREMONT, California – Sawyer Petre hit a 24-yard field goal in overtime as the Puget Sound football team overcame a 13-point deficit to shock Claremont-M-S on the road Saturday afternoon, 22-19.
"I am so proud of our team for playing hard and believing in each other," said Puget Sound head coach Jeff Thomas. "To scratch and claw for this win bodes well for us this season and beyond."
The Loggers' overtime victory marks their first since beating CMS, 34-28, in three overtimes on Sept. 20, 2008.
The Loggers (1-0) trailed 19-6 through the first three quarters, and the Staggs (0-1) opened the fourth quarter with possession until Matt Gilbert recovered a fumble on the Puget Sound 32-yard line. On second down with six yards to go, Hans Fortune hit Brennan Schon for a 64-yard touchdown, cutting the deficit to 19-13.
It didn't take long for the Loggers to regain possession. Senior captain Chris Beaulaurier intercepted Trey Reynolds in the Staggs' very next offensive play, and the linebacker returned the pick 22 yards to the CMS eight-yard line.
It took just one play for Fortune to find Kevin Miller for the game-tying touchdown (missed PAT) with 11:52 left in regulation. The Puget Sound defense forced two punts and recovered another fumble to force overtime.
CMS opened overtime with the first possession, and the Logger defense remained stout. The Staggs picked up nine yards, but Puget Sound forced an incompletion on 4th-and-1.
Tanner Diebold's big 16-yard run on 2nd-and-9 set up Petre's game-winning kick for Puget Sound.
Puget Sound squandered several scoring opportunities in the first half, including a pair of interceptions in the end zone and two missed field goals. Still, a 10-yard touchdown scramble by Diebold allowed Puget Sound to remain in striking distance at halftime, 12-6.
"Our offense had a lot of yards, but we need to get much better in the red zone," said Thomas. "That will be an area of focus for us heading into next week. We will be a much improved team against Occidental (Sept. 12)."
Reynolds connected with Tyler Stanek for 14 yards to give CMS a 19-6 edge midway through the third quarter, but those were the last points surrendered by Puget Sound.
The Loggers allowed CMS to convert on just 36 percent (5-for-14) of its third-down plays, while the Puget Sound offense came away with a 55 percent mark (6-for-11). Puget Sound totaled 482 yards on offense, including 355 through the air.
Diebold (72) and Max McGuinn (50) combined for 122 of the Loggers' 127 rushing yards. Puget Sound had three games of 100+ rushing yards in all of 2014.
Saturday's win marks the Loggers' second-consecutive season-opening victory. Puget Sound beat CMS at home last year, 13-10.
The Loggers play their first home game of 2015 when they host Occidental on Saturday, Sept. 12, at 1 p.m.
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