Football Report: Humboldt Moves Into Top 10 In AFCA Poll
Rob Smith has led his team to 13 wins in its last 14 games and a No. 10 national ranking (HSU Photo)
Rob Smith has led his team to 13 wins in its last 14 games and a No. 10 national ranking (HSU Photo)

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

PORTLAND, Ore. - Humboldt State has moved into the Top 10 in this week’s AFCA NCAA Division II national football poll.

The Lumberjacks, who are off to a 3-0 start and have won 13 of their last 14 games dating back to their final game of the 2010 season,  are ranked 10th in this week’s AFCA poll.  They are ranked 19th in the poll.

Humboldt State will travel to Saint George, Utah,  this Saturday to take on Dixie State.  Both the Lumberjacks and Red Storm will bring 2-0 conference records into the contest.  Central Washington, which hosts Azusa Pacific in its home opener Saturday, is also 2-0.

In this week’s national statistical report, Dixie State is the highest ranked GNAC team in any category, ranking third in kickoff returns (31.5).  Simon Fraser is seventh in punt returns (25.8), while Humboldt State ranks seventh in  turnover margin (2.33) and eighth in pass efficiency defense (89.0).

In individual categories, Humboldt State running back Nick Ricciardulli ranks sixth in rushing, averaging 157 yards per game.

Simon Fraser wide receivers Lemar Durant and Bobby Pospischil are tied for fifth in receptions with 26 each.  Also in the Top 10 are Western Oregon punter Alexander Bradt (5th, 45.4), HSU defensive end Alex Markarian (6th in sacks, 1.67) and Cache Morgan of Dixie State (8th in kick returns, 34.8).

NATIONAL STATISTICS (Through Sept. 15): Team (Top 30):     Scoring Offense – 25. Humboldt State 40.3. Scoring Defense – 23. Dixie State 16.3.  Total Defense – 23. Dixie State 280.7. Rushing Offense – 21. Humboldt State 225.7.    Passing Defense – 25. Dixie State 155.0.  Pass Efficiency – 26. Simon Fraser 156.9. Pass Efficiency Defense – 8.  Humboldt State 89.0; 15. Dixie State 93.8; 24. Western Oregon 100.8.  Kickoff Returns – 3. Dixie State 31.5. Punt Returns – 7. Simon Fraser 25.8.  Turnover Margin – 7. Humboldt State 2.33.  Individuals (Top 30): All-Purpose – 17. Nick Ricciardulli, HSU, 166.3.  Rushing – 6. Nick Ricciardulli, HSU, 157.0. Pass Efficiency – 23. Alex Rump, HSU, 156.9. Scoring – 24.  Nick Ricciardulli, HSU, 10.0.  Receptions – 5. Lemar Durant, SFU, and Bobby Pospischil, SFU, 8.7.  Receiving Yards – 23. Lemar Durant, SFU, 100.3; 25. Victor Spencer, HSU, 99.0.  Field Goals – 26. Kelly Morgan, WOU,  1.0.  Punt Returns – 25. Victor Spencer, HSU, 13.0.  Punting – 5. Alexander Bradt, WOU, 45.4.  Kick Returns – 8. Cache Morgan, DSC, 34.8. Sacks – 6. Alex Markarian, HSU, 1.67.  Tackles For Loss – 22. Stan Langlow, CWU, 2.00.  


Central Washington 21, Western Oregon 14 (at Monmouth): Johri  Fogerson scored on a nine-yard run to tie the game with 4:13 left in regulation and then scored from 11 yards in overtime as Central Washington rallied from a 14-0 deficit to defeat Western Oregon 21-14.  . .Western Oregon led 14-0 until late in the third quarter on the strength of 56 and 11-yard touchdown passes from quarterback Cody VonAppen to Tyrell Williams in the first quarter and Kenneth Haynes in the third period. . .But CWU then drove 94 yards in six plays to cut its deficit to seven points with 41 seconds left in the third period on a five-yard pass from quarterback Ryan Robertson to wide receiver Robert Akeo-Orr.  The big play of the drive was a 30-yard pass to Tavoy Moore which took the ball to WOU’s 36-yard line. . .Then in the fourth quarter, CWU took advantage of a 56-yard fumble return by defensive back Kevin Puckett to set up a 34-yard, five-play drive for the tying touchdown. . .The game featured nine turnovers as CWU had three interceptions – all by Cedrique Chaney – and two fumble recoveries – and Western Oregon had four interceptions, two by Bryce Peila. . .Western Oregon had five possessions inside CWU’s 40 and the Wildcats had three inside WOU’s 40 which didn’t result in points. . .Western Oregon finished the game with a 459-390 advantage in total offense.  Haynes had 92 yards on 17 rushes, while VonAppen had 63 on 15 carries and Joe Harris had 53 on four rushes. . .Fogerson, who has scored six touchdowns in two games, rushed for 123 yards.  Robertson completed 24 of 37 for 220 yards.  . .Linebackers Riley Wall and Holman Faatili each had 11 tackles for the Wildcats.  Defensive lineman Gustave Benthin  had 10 tackles for the Wolves.

Humboldt State 41, Simon Fraser 21 (at Arcata): Nick Ricciardulli rushed for 204 yards and Humboldt State netted 579 yards in offense in defeating Simon Fraser before a crowd of 4,078 fans at the Redwood Bowl. . .Ricciardulli recorded the ninth 200-yard rushing game in GNAC history; the fifth by a Humboldt State player including four by former standout Lyndon Rowells. . .Ricciardulli, who now ranks sixth nationally averaging 157 yards per game, was a workhorse, toting the ball 33 times.  He was involved in 35 of HSU’s 77 offensive plays, also catching two passes for 18 yards.  His 222 all-purpose yards moved him into 17th place nationally with a 166.3 average. . .Quarterback Alex Rump completed 19 of 28 passes for 306 yards and three touchdowns.  He wasn’t intercepted for the third game in a row, extending his streak of passes without an interception to 73.  He is the only quarterback in the league without at least four interceptions, one reason why the ‘Jacks rank seventh nationally  in takeaways at plus 2.33. . .Victor Spencer had six receptions for 181 yards, including a 75-yard touchdown midway through the third quarter to extend a 27-21 lead to 13 points.  Late in the fourth quarter, HSU got a clinching touchdown on a 26-yard interception return from Kevin Cooper. . .Simon Fraser had 385 yards as quarterback Trey Wheeler completed 34 of 57 passes for 310 yards and two touchdowns.  Wheeler, who leads the GNAC with a 69.8 completion percentage, was picked off four times, twice by Cooper who also had three other pass breakups. . .Two Simon Fraser receivers had double-figure reception totals – Lemar Durant (11-159) and Bobby Pospischil (10-73).  It was the second of the season for both, accounting for four of the six double-figure reception totals this fall in the GNAC. . .Defensive back Kyle Miller led the Clan with 12 tackles.  Linebacker JJ Evans had 10 tackles for Humboldt.

Dixie State 24, Azusa Pacific 22 (at Glendora): Linebacker Nick Largent forced a fumble and defensive back Ray Chapman picked up the ball and returned it 32 yards for a touchdown with 3:54 remaining as Dixie State rallied from a 10-point deficit in the final five minutes to beat Azusa Pacific before 2,850 fans at Citrus Stadium. . .Jamie Cacciatore had given the Cougars a 22-12 lead earlier in the quarter kicking field goals of 23 and 26 yards, his second and third of the game.  He also booted a 32-yarder in the opening period.  He attempted five, missing from 42 and 49.  The latter , with 1:26 remaining in the game for the win, was blocked by Matt Tanuvasa. . .Dixie, however, then drove 82 yards on seven plays to cut its deficit to four points on a 14-yard pass from Kaleo Nawahine to Zack Fox. . .A few plays – and 66 seconds later on the clock – Chapman got the game-winner. . .Dixie won despite scoring just one offensive touchdown and missing all four of its extra-point attempts.  The lone offensive touchdown was a first-quarter 39-yard run by quarterback Griff Robles. . .In the second quarter Cache Morgan gave the Red Storm a brief 12-9 lead with his second career 100-yard kickoff return. . .But, Azusa went back on top later in the period on a five-yard run by Terrell Watson.  That was the end of the scoring until the first of Cacciatore’s field goals in the final period. . .Azusa had a 348-232 total offense advantage, including 261-101 on the ground.  Watson had 87 yards on 25 rushes.  Oliver Petty had 84 yards on 10 carries and QB Tyler Tuiasosopo had 74 yards on 16 carries.  Tuiasosopo also completed seven of 13 passes for 87 yards, including a 25-yard second-quarter touchdown pass to Petty. . .Robles led Dixie with 55 rushing yards on 13 carries.  Fox had five catches for 56 yards. . .Defensive back Daniel Moffett led Dixie with 10 tackles, including nine solos. Morgan had six tackles and his team’s lone interception.  Safety Nick Grunsky had a team-high five tackles for Azusa and also his team’s only interception.

INTERCEPTIONS, SINGLE GAME: Chaney joined teammate Stan Langlow as one of five players in GNAC history to record three interceptions in a single game.  Langlow accomplished that feat on Nov. 6, 2010 against Simon Fraser.  Last year Humboldt State’s Jeremiah Maluia had three in Humboldt State’s conference-clinching home victory against Western Oregon.  The Wolves’ Bret Hughes did it twice against Western Washington – first on Oct. 2, 2004 and then a year later on Nov. 5, 2005.  Duval Seamster of Humboldt State was the first player to turn the trifecta against Saint Mary’s (Calif). on Sept. 13, 2003.

INTERCEPTIONS, CAREER:  Western Oregon had four interceptions against CWU, including the 17th and  18th career steals of Bryce Peila.  Peila returned the latter one 17 yards to set a GNAC career record for most interception return yards increasing his total to 382 and breaking the record of 373 set by Brandon Kennedy of Central Washington between 2005 and 2007.  His 18 interceptions is topped only by CWU’s Jason Patterson who had 22 between 1998 and 2001.

100 YARDS, AGAIN:  Cache Morgan of Dixie State is the only player in GNAC history to return a kickoff 100 yards and now he has done it twice.  He also accomplished that feat on Sept. 3, 2011 against Adams State.  He also now has two career interception touchdowns to tie the GNAC record set by Zach Russell of Western Washington (2002, 04-050 and equaled by Courtney Smith of Central Washington (2008-09).  Next to Morgan, Smith has the next longest return in GNAC history, a mere 98 yards.  Morgan’s record for longest return can never be broken as per rule, kickoff returns are measured from the goal line.

CAREER MILESTONES: Western Oregon kicker Kelly Morgan has missed just one kick this year – from 58 yards.  He is five-of-five on extra points and three-of-four on field goals, including a 53-yarder.  He missed from 58 at the end of regulation Saturday.  Morgan currently ranks third in career kick scoring with 190 points and needs 10 more to join Garrett Rolsma of Central Washington (330, 2006-09) and Michael Koenen of Western Washington (272, 2001-04) as the only kickers in GNAC history to score 200 or more points.

GOING OVERTIME: The CWU-WOU game was the 12th overtime game in conference history.  It was the first for the Wildcats since it beat Dixie State on Aug. 30, 2008 and the first for Western Oregon since it beat Western Washington 52-49 in four overtimes on Oct. 2, 2004.  The last overtime in the GNAC was last year when Simon Fraser outscored Dixie State 62-56.  The last eight overtime games have all been won by the home team with the exception of CWU’s two victories. 

GNAC Players-of-the-Week