CLAREMONT, Calif. – AJ Johnson hauled in 12 catches for 193 yards and two touchdowns, and the Puget Sound football team overcame a 14-point deficit to stun Claremont-M-S on the road, 45-35, Saturday afternoon.
The Loggers start the season 1-0 for the fourth time in five years.
Johnson's first touchdown grab was a 23-yard completion from Nik Bernhardt that gave the Loggers (1-0) a 28-21 lead midway through the third quarter. Johnson's second touchdown stood as the game-winner when Murdock Rutledge tossed a 30-yard strike to the back of the end zone.
Puget Sound trailed 21-7 late in the second quarter, but the Loggers went into halftime with momentum on their side after Bernhardt connected with Michael Zabran for a two-yard touchdown with 10 seconds left in the half.
The Loggers continued their aerial onslaught in the second half, and Jewell Day's 25-yard touchdown reception from Bernhardt tied the game, 21-21, early in the third quarter.
The Stags' subsequent possession lasted just three possessions thanks to an interception by Jason Clayton on the CMS 39-yard line, setting up Johnson's first score.
Puget Sound's defense put pressure on the Stags' quarterback all game. The Loggers totaled 5 sacks, including two from All-Northwest Conference defensive lineman Todd Blakely.
Matt Ahnin provided the exclamation point for Puget Sound's defensive efforts when he returned a fumble 76 yards to pay dirt. The defensive score gave the Loggers a 35-28 edge with five minutes left in the fourth quarter.
Offensively, the Loggers totaled 428 yards, allowed just one sack, and did not turn the ball over.
The 2018 home opener is set for Saturday, Sept. 8, against Redlands at 1 p.m.