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Wildcats, Wolves Try To Move Ahead In Football Title Chase
Michale Roots earned GNAC Offensive Player of the Week honors after he rushed for 221 yards and three touchdowns against Simon Fraser. He also surpassed 2,000 career rushing yards while at CWU.
Michale Roots earned GNAC Offensive Player of the Week honors after he rushed for 221 yards and three touchdowns against Simon Fraser. He also surpassed 2,000 career rushing yards while at CWU.

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Both Western Oregon and Central Washington would love to move ahead in the race for the GNAC football championship, but something will have to give in order for either team to claim the title outright.

The Wolves and Wildcats both own 3-1 conference records with two weeks of GNAC games to go. Both teams will engage in conference contests this week, with WOU playing at Simon Fraser and CWU playing at Azusa Pacific.

After opening the season with three straight losses and four losses in its first five games, Central Washington has rebounded to win its last three games. After shocking WOU in an overtime thriller last week, the Wildcats stormed at home for a 62-10 rout of Simon Fraser on Saturday.

Junior running back Michael Roots paced the offense as he carried 14 times for 221 yards and three touchdowns. It was his second 200-plus yard rushing performance of the season and he became the 15th player in GNAC history to go over 2,000 career rushing yards. For his efforts, Roots was named the GNAC Offensive Player of the Week.

The Wildcats also had the Defensive Player of the Week in senior linebacker Grady Graff. He finished with nine tackles in the victory with 1.5 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks and a forced fumble.

Western Oregon bounced back from the loss to CWU with a solid home non-conference win over Midwestern State, 37-22. Western finished with an impressive 541 yards of total offense.

The Wolves received solid performances from senior Ty Currie, who completed 14 of 25 passes for 301 yards and three touchdowns, and sophomore running back Omari Land, who finished with 114 yards on 19 carries.

THIS WEEK'S GNAC PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
OFFENSIVE
Michael Roots, Central Washington
RB • 5-10 • Junior • Sacramento, Calif.

Roots carried 14 times for a GNAC season-high of 221 yards and three touchdowns in Central Washington’s 62-10 win over Simon Fraser. He also caught two passes for 16 yards to finish with 237 all-purpose yards. In the process, Roots surpassed 2,000 rushing yards for his CWU career, making him the 15th in GNAC history to cross that plateau.

Also Nominated: Gil’Scott Jackson (Azusa Pacific), Solomon Hines (Simon Fraser), Ty Currie (Western Oregon).

DEFENSIVE
Grady Graff,  Central Washington
LB • 6-0 • Senior • Pasco, Wash.

Graff led the Central Washington defense with nine tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks in the Wildcats’ 62-10 win over Simon Fraser. He also forced a fumble in the first quarter, which the Wildcats converted into a field goal.

Also Nominated: Griffin Barrett (Simon Fraser), Nate Proctor, Jr. (Western Oregon).

SPECIAL TEAMS
Ramzee Jaridly, Azusa Pacific
P/K • 6-1 • Freshman • Chino Hills, Calif.

Jaridly made both of his field goals in the Cougars’ 49-27 loss to Colorado Mines on Saturday, connecting on kicks of 35 yards and 45 yards. The 45-yarder was a career-long. Jaridly now has three field goals of 40 yards or longer this season.

Also Nominated: Patrick Hegarty (Central Washington), Curtis Anderson (Western Oregon).

AROUND THE GNAC
AZUSA PACIFIC
LAST WEEK: Oct. 26: Lost to Colorado Mines, 49-27
THIS WEEK: Nov. 2: vs. Central Washington, 6:30 p.m.

• Azusa Pacific traded scoring opportunities with No. 9 Colorado Mines on Saturday, but seven Orediggers touchdowns was the difference in the 49-27 loss for the Cougars at Citrus Stadium.

• The Cougars scored three touchdowns in the contest, but saw its first two scoring opportunities come down to field goals. Freshman Ramzee Jaridly made both of his opportunities, connecting from 35 yards in the first quarter and on a GNAC season-long 45-yarder in the second quarter. Combined with 3 for 3 on point-after attempts, Jaridly earned selection as the GNAC Special Teams Player of the Week. Jaridly is 16th in Division II with 1.29 field goals per game.

• Azusa Pacific finished with 414 yards of total offense, going above its average in the category for the first time in three weeks. Junior Tyrone Williams, Jr., reassumed starting quarterback duties as he completed 18 of 22 passes for 328 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions. Williams is third in the GNAC with 164.6 passing yards per game and fourth with 185 yards of total offense per game.

• Junior running back Gil’Scott Jackson finished with 156 all-purpose yards. He caught two passes for 92 yards and a 77-yard touchdown reception in the third quarter. He also carried the ball nine times for a team-leading 64 yards. Freshman wide receivers Jasiah Richard-Lewis and Noah Bogartus had the other two APU touchdowns.

• Junior defensive back Quentin Frazier led the APU defense with 12 tackles,  which included seven solo tackles. Frazier ranks fifth in the GNAC with 6.6 tackles per game. The Cougars also finished with eight tackles for loss. Junior cornerback Josh Olave made his second interception of the season.

• Azusa Pacific enters the week averaging 349.4 total offense yards per game and 22.4 points per game. The Cougars are second in the GNAC with 255.3 passing yards per game. Azusa Pacific leads the GNAC with 36.8 yards per punt.

• Azusa Pacific will close out its home schedule this Saturday, hosting Central Washington.

CENTRAL WASHINGTON
LAST WEEK: Oct. 26: Beat Simon Fraser, 62-10
THIS WEEK: Nov. 2: at Azusa Pacific, 6:30 p.m.

• Central Washington rolled up 573 yards of total offense  and limited Simon Fraser to just 158 yards to score a 62-10 rout over the Clan on Saturday at Tomlinson Stadium.

• The Wildcats did most of their damage on the ground with 354 rushing yards and four rushing touchdowns. Junior running back Michael Roots led the way with a GNAC season-high 221 rushing yards and three touchdowns on 14 carries, which included scoring runs of 56 yards and 82 yards. In the process, Roots became the 15th player in GNAC history to surpass 2,000 career rushing yards. Roots also caught two passes for 16 yards. The effort earned Roots selection as the GNAC Offensive Player of the Week. Roots leads the GNAC and is sixth in Division II with 137 rushing yards per game. He also ranks fourth in Division II in total rushing yards (1,096), eighth in rushing touchdowns (8) and 16th in scoring (9.6 points per game).

•Sophomore quarterback Christian Moore completed 15 of 32 passes for 219 yards and threw for four touchdowns. He also rushed four times for 28 yards. Moore is second in the GNAC and 21st in Division II with 271.7 yards of total offense per game. He also leads the GNAC and is 26th in Division II with 240.3 passing yards per game.

• Sophomore wide receiver Tyson Rainwater led the receiving corps with 94 yards on six catches. Freshman wide receiver Mykel Campbell caught three passes for 52 yards, two of which were for touchdowns.  

• Senior linebacker Grady Graff was named the GNAC Defensive Player of the Week after he led the Wildcats with nine tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks and a forced fumble that was recovered by CWU. Sophomore linebacker Daeon Hudson and senior defensive end Billy Greer added eight tackles each with Greer contributing 2.5 tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks. Greer leads the GNAC with 1.36 tackles for loss per game and 0.86 sacks per game.

• Central Washington leads the GNAC and is seventh in Division II with 509.8 yards of total offense per game. The Wildcats lead the GNAC and rank 12th in Division II with 301.4 passing yards per game and rank 21st in scoring offense with 38.8 points per game. Central is also ninth in first downs (196), 16th in fumbles lost (3) and 22nd in red zone offense (.889).

• Central Washington hits the road this weekend, playing at Azusa Pacific on Saturday night.

SIMON FRASER
LAST WEEK: Oct. 26: Lost at Central Washington, 62-10
THIS WEEK: Nov. 2: vs. Western Oregon, 1 p.m.

• After a solid offensive performance the week before, Simon Fraser was limited to just 158 yards of total offense in a 62-10 loss at Central Washington.

• Of those 158 yards, 137 of those came in the passing game. Freshman quarterback Brandon Niksich completed 5 of 16 passes for 37 yards while senior quarterback Mihai Lapuste completed 9 of 19 passes for 100 yards. Niksich is second in the GNAC and 29th in Division II with 233.9 passing yards per game.

• Sophomore wide receiver Robert Meadors led the SFU receiving corps, making four catches for 48 yards with a long catch of 29 yards. Senior wide receiver Rysen John was well covered, making four catches for 27 yards. John leads the GNAC with 81.4 receiving yards per game and ranks 21st in Division II with eight receiving touchdowns.

• Freshman cornerback Solomon Hines was the Clan’s leading rusher, carrying 12 times for 25 yards. He also accounted for the team’s lone touchdown on a four-yard run in the third quarter. Hines ranks fifth in the GNAC with 36.9 rushing yards per game and is fourth with 83 all-purpose yards per game.

• Junior Griffin Barrett led the Simon Fraser defense with 12 tackles, which included five solo tackles. Sophomore defensive back Kolby Buljevic finished with 10 tackles. Barrett continues to lead the GNAC and is ninth in Division II with 10.9 tackles per game.

• Simon Fraser enters the week averaging 294.9 yards of total offense per game. The Clan is third in the GNAC with 246.8 passing yards per game and leads the conference in PAT kicking, making 8 of 9 on the season.

• Simon Fraser will finish its season with a pair of home GNAC contests over the next three weeks. The Clan will host Western Oregon this Saturday.

WESTERN OREGON
LAST WEEK: Oct. 26: Beat Midwestern State, 37-22
THIS WEEK: Nov. 2: at Simon Fraser, 1 p.m.
 
• Western Oregon never trailed as it hosted Midwestern State on Saturday, netting 541 yards of total offense in a 37-22 win over the Mustangs at McArthur Field.

• The Wolves proved potent in both the passing and rushing games. Senior quarterback Ty Currie paced the passing game as he completed 14 of 25 passes for 301 yards and three touchdowns. He also carried the ball nine times for a total of 40 yards. Currie leads the GNAC and is 18th in Division II with 276.2 total offense yards per game. He also ranks second in the GNAC with 195.4 passing yards per game.

• Sophomore running back Omari Land had his fifth game with 100 or more rushing yards this season, carrying 19 times for 114 yards. He also caught two passes for 56 yards, including a 34-yard touchdown reception to end the first half. Land is second in the GNAC and 22nd in Division II with 94.2 rushing yards per game. He also ranks 22nd in Division II with 754 total rushing yards.

• A total of nine WOU players caught passes. Sophomore wide receiver Thomas Wright led the way as he caught three passes for 66 yards and a touchdown. junior tight end Evander Willingham caught one pass, a 58-yard touchdown reception in the second quarter. Wright is seventh in the GNAC with 40.9 receiving yards per game.

• Senior linebacker Nate Proctor, Jr., led the WOU defense once again with five tackles, one tackle for loss for 15 yards, one sack for 15 yards, a pass breakup and two quarterback hurries. Senior linebacker Tyler Wharf also had five tackles and a half-tackle for loss. Proctor is sixth in the GNAC with 6.5 tackles per game while Wharf is 11th with 5.9 tackles per game.

• Western Oregon leads the GNAC and is 14th in Division II with 243.6 rushing yards per game. The Wolves rank second in the GNAC with 459.1 total offense yards per game. Defensively, WOU leads the GNAC in scoring defense (29.1 points allowed per game), rushing defense (127.6 yards allowed per game), pass defense (232.8 yards allowed per game) and total defense (360.4 yards allowed per game).

• Western Oregon will play its final road game of the season on Saturday, traveling to Simon Fraser.

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