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Cougars One Win Away From Fourth GNAC Football Title
Azusa Pacific forced five turnovers against Simon Fraser, with GNAC Defensive Player of the Week Robert Bohanna forcing two fumbles.
Azusa Pacific forced five turnovers against Simon Fraser, with GNAC Defensive Player of the Week Robert Bohanna forcing two fumbles.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Azusa Pacific will look to claim the championship trophy this weekend while Central Washington hopes to pull an upset to keeps its title hopes alive.

The Cougars will look to secure its third GNAC title in just their fifth season in the conference when it hosts Central Washington on Saturday night. Ranked No. 15 in the AFCA Division II Coaches Poll and fifth in the first NCAA Super Region 3 Rankings,  Azusa Pacific enters the week leading the conference in scoring with an average of 39.1 points per game.

The Wildcats will try to keep their playoff hopes alive with a win. Central Washington earned a national ranking for the first time this season, earning the No. 23 spot in the D2Football.com Poll as well as the No. 6 position in the Super Region 3 rankings.

The game will also put against each other the league’s top two defense. The Wildcats are allowing opponents 311 yards per game while the Cougars are allowing 327 yards per game.

While Central Washington enjoyed a bye last weekend, Azusa Pacific took another step forward in a 57-0 shutout at Simon Fraser. The defense keyed the victory as the Cougars not only limited the Clan to 117 yards of total offense, but the defense scored all four first half touchdowns.

Last week’s other game presented a shootout on national television. Humboldt State and Western Oregon combined for 977 yards of total offense as the Lumberjacks ended a two-game losing streak with a 42-37 win over the Wolves.

Both quarterbacks put on spectacular performances in the game aired on the American Sports Network as part of the Division II Football Showcase. Western Oregon’s Phillip Fenumiai was named GNAC Offensive Player of the Week after he passed for 300 yards and three touchdowns and rushed for 145 yards and a touchdown. Humboldt State’s Robert Webber passes for 357 yards and four touchdowns in the win.

Humboldt State will host Simon Fraser in this week’s other conference game. Western Oregon will enjoy a bye week before traveling to Azusa Pacific for its next game on Nov. 5.

THIS WEEK'S GNAC PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
OFFENSE
Phillip Fenumiai, Western Oregon
QB • 6-3 • 225 • Junior • Juneau, Alaska

Fenumiai finished with 445 yards of total offense in the Wolves’ nationally-televised 42-37 loss to Humboldt State. Fenumiai completed 22 of 40 passes for 300 yards and three touchdowns and also rushed 17 times for a team-leading 145 yards and a touchdown. In the fourth quarter, Fenumiai went 11 of 18 for 122 yards and two touchdowns.

Also Nominated: Robert Webber (Humboldt State), Brandon Jackson (Azusa Pacific).

DEFENSE
Robert Bohanna, Azusa Pacific
DE • 6-1 • 225 • Freshman • Fresno, Calif.

Bohanna finished with seven tackles, four tackles for loss for 36 yards, three sacks and a pair of forced fumbles to pace Azusa Pacific in a 57-0 shutout of Simon Fraser. He led an APU squad that limited SFU to 117 yards of total offense and provided for four defensive touchdowns.

Also Nominated: Derek Parnell (Western Oregon).

SPECIAL TEAMS
Torreahno Sweet, Western Oregon
RB • 5-10 • 195 • Freshman • La Puente, Calif.

Sweet was the Wolves’ primary kick returner against Humboldt State, finishing with 133 yards on six kickoff returns. His total included a 33-yard return in the third quarter.

Also Nominated: Tyree Davis (Azusa Pacific).

AROUND THE GNAC
AZUSA PACIFIC
• Azusa Pacific’s won the day Saturday, limiting Simon Fraser to 117 yards of total offense and scoring four first half touchdowns in a 57-0 rout of the Clan in Burnaby.

• The Cougars had three interceptions and returned all of them for touchdowns to set a GNAC single game record. The preious record for interception touchdowns was two set by Central Washington in 2005 and matched in 2014. The effort also tied a NCAA Division II single game record set by many teams, but had not happened since Bloomsburg accomplished the feat vs. East Stroudsburg on Oct. 31, 1998.

Jonathan Thropay returned a pick 68 yards for a touchdown in the first quarter. Tyree Davis returned an interception 38 yards for the score with 2:25 left in the second quarter and Aaron Berry returned a third pick 58 yards for a touchdown with 14 seconds left in the first half.

• Defensive end Robert Bohanna was named GNAC Defensive Player of the Week after he finished with seven tackles, including four tackles for loss for 36 yards, three sacks and two forced fumbles, one of which was returned for a touchdown.

• Quarterback Andrew Elffers completed 16 of 22 passes for 143 yards and touchdown to lead APU offensively. Brandon Jackson was the top target, catching nine passes for 110 yards and a touchdown. Elffers enters the week third in the GNAC in passing with 175.5 yards per game. In the NCAA Division II stats, Elffers is sixth with a pass efficiency rating of 172.2

• With the win, Azusa Pacific moved up to No. 15 in the AFCA Division II Coaches Poll and No. 17 in the D2Football.com Poll. The Cougars were ranked No. 6 in the first NCAA Super Region 3 Rankings, released on Monday.

• Should Azusa Pacific beat Central Washington on Saturday night, the Cougars will clinch their third GNAC championship in the last four years. The Cougars won the conference title in 2013 and 2014.

• As a team, Azusa Pacific leads the GNAC in scoring (39.1 points per game), pass efficiency (165.6), scoring defense (13.8 points allowed per game), pass defense efficiency (106.7) and turnover margin (1.75). The Cougars lead Division II with seven defensive tackles and a .476 red zone defense percentage.

CENTRAL WASHINGTON
• Central Washington had a bye last weekend. The Wildcats will try to keep their title hopes alive with a game at Azusa Pacific on Saturday.

• In its last game, Oct. 15, CWU limited Western Oregon to 107 yards of total offense to pick up a 35-0 shutout of the Wolves in Monmouth. In the process, defensive lineman Tovar Sanchez earned GNAC Defensive Player of the Week honors and punter Jonathan Kuhn was named GNAC Special Teams Player of the Week.

• Central Washington earned its first national ranking this week as the Wildcats are No. 23 in the D2Football.com. The Wildcats also received votes for the second straight week in the AFCA Division II Coaches Poll.

• Quarterback Justin Lane enters the week ranked second in the GNAC in total offense (256.9 yards per game), passing (250.9 yards per game) and pass efficiency (158.3). He is 15th in Division II in pass yards per completion (15.27), 20th in pass efficiency and 29th in passing touchdowns.

• Defensively, Sanchez leads the GNAC and is 12th in Division II with his average of 1.07 sacks per game. He is also leads the GNAC and sixth in Division II with 2.3 tackles for loss per game. Defensive back Kevin Haynes is second in the GNAC with 9.7 tackles per game.

• As a team, Central Washington leads the GNAC in total defense (311 yards allowed per game), pass defense (218 yards allowed per game) and opponent first downs (114) and is second in scoring offense (36.6 points per game), rushing offense (144.3 yards per game), pass offense (278 yards per game), total offense (422.3 yards per game), pass efficiency (160.0), scoring defense (18.7 points allowed per game) and pass defense efficiency (116.6). The Wildcats lead Division II with an average of 10.6 tackles for loss per game.

• Central Washington set a GNAC single game record by forcing Simon Fraser to punt 13 times on Oct. 1. That beat the previous record 12 set on five occasions, most recently by Western Oregon at Portland State on Sept. 26, 2015.

HUMBOLDT STATE
• Humboldt State came out on the winning side of a shootout on national television Saturday, holding off a late Western Oregon run to win at McArthur Field 42-37.

• The two teams combined for 977 yards of total offense, with Humboldt State coming up with 453 of those yards. Quarterback Robert Webber accounted for the majority of the HSU offense, completing 29 of 41 passes for 357 yards and four touchdowns.

• Wide receiver John Todd was Webber’s top target, catching 12 passes for 141 yards and a touchdown. Sage Burmeister caught five passes for 82 yards.

• Running back Ja’Quan Gardner led the Humboldt State rushing game, carrying 27 times for just 67 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Gardner enters the week leading the GNAC in rushing with 104.9 yards per game and is third in total offense with 138.4 yards per game. Gardner is sixth in Division II with 14 receiving touchdowns, 19th with 839 rushing yards and 27th in receiving yards per game.

• Webber enters the week leading the week leading the GNAC and ranked 14th in Division II with 298.4 passing yards per game. He is 12th in Division II with 2,387 passing yards and 29th with 18 passing touchdowns.

• Humboldt State enters the week leading the GNAC in rushing offense (147.1 yards per game), pass offense (299.5 yards per game), total offense (446.6 yards per game), first downs (190) and time of possession (31:29 per game). The Lumberjacks are third in Division II with four blocked punts, 18th in punt returns (14.60 yards per return) and 25th in first downs offense (190).

• On Sept. 24, Humboldt State set GNAC single game records with 44 pass completions and 24 first downs passing. In the same game, Robert Webber set GNAC single game records with 502 passing yards and 44 pass completions and tied a GNAC record with 64 pass attempts.

• Humboldt State returns home this Saturday, hosting Simon Fraser for a 6 p.m. kickoff.

SIMON FRASER
• Simon Fraser managed just 117 yards of total offense in taking a 57-0 home loss to Azusa Pacific.

• Quarterback Miles Richardson led the SFU offense, completing 14 of 25 for 96 yards, but was intercepted four times. His top target was Justin Buren, who caught five passes for 34 yards.

• Linebacker Jordan Herdman added to his GNAC all-time record with five tackles. He now has 398 for his career, well past the previous record of 385 set by Central Washington’s Buddy Wood betweem 2008 and 2008. His four assisted tackles also added to his GNAC career record, which now stands at 309. Herdman had five assisted tackles to add to his career record in the category, which is now at 209. Herdman leads the GNAC and is sixth in Division II with 11.9 tackles per game and is 25th in Division II with 5.7 solo tackles per game.

• Wide receiver Gavin Cobb was the Clan’s primary return man, bringing back six kickoffs for 136 yards, averaging 22.7 yards per return. Cobb enters the week fourth in the GNAC with 18.3 yards per kick return and is 27th in Division II with 545 combined kick return yards.

• Simon Fraser enters the week second in the GNAC and ranked ninth in Division II with 17.50 yards per punt return. The Clan is also ninth in Division II with 8.9 tackles for loss per game.

• Simon Fraser set a GNAC record with 13 punts against Central Washington on Oct. 1, surpassing the mark of 12 set by five different teams, most recently Western Oregon vs. Portland State on Sept. 26, 2015. Punter Colin Cossette kicked the ball away all 13 games to surpass the individual single game record of 12 set three times, most recently Western Oregon’s Alexander Bradt against Western Oregon in 2015. Cossette averaged 30.8 yards per punt in the game.

• Simon Fraser is on the road this weekend, playing at Humboldt State.

WESTERN OREGON
• Western Oregon saw a big fourth quarter comeback fall short in a nationally televised game as the Wolves lost 42-37 at home to Humboldt State.

• The Wolves led the game most offensive categories, finishing with 524 yards of total offense.

• Most of the offense came from quarterback Phillip Fenumiai, who was named GNAC Offensive Player of the Week despite the loss. He completed 22 of 40 passes for 300 yards and three touchdowns and rushed 17 times for 145 yards and a 73-yard touchdown run. The junior is third in the GNAC with 212.1 yards of total offense per game, fourth in passing with 173.4 yards per game and fifth in rushing with 38.8 yards per game.

• Running back Torreahno Sweet was named GNAC Special Teams Player of the Week after he returned six kicks for 139 yards, averaging 23.2 yards per return.

• Receiver Paul Revis had another solid game, catching five passes for 116 yards and two touchdowns. He was quiet in return department as the Lumberjacks kicked away from him, returning one punt for 39 yards and one kickoff for 24 yards. Revis enters the week leading Division II with 24.3 yards per punt return and is seventh in Division II with 182.5 all-purpose yards.

• As a team, Western Oregon leads the GNAC and is fourth in Division II with 23.31 yards per punt return.

• The Wolves will enjoy a bye week before returning to action on Sat., Nov. 5, when they travel to Azusa Pacific.

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