Simon Fraser Earns GNAC Team of the Week Honors
Quarterback Ryan Stanford threw for 446 yards Saturday.
Quarterback Ryan Stanford threw for 446 yards Saturday.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

PORTLAND, Ore. - Simon Fraser notched a 41-27 upset victory over preseason favorite Humboldt State in Arcata, Calif. in the first Great Northwest Athletic Conference football game of the season on Saturday.

For its effort, SFU has been tabbed as the first GNAC Team of the Week in the 2013-14 school year.

The Lumberjacks, who suffered only their third home loss in four seasons, were picked to finish atop the GNAC by the coaches in the preseason poll, while Simon Fraser was slated to finish second to last. 

“Looking back to where we were a few years ago and seeing where this program has come is rewarding,” commented SFU head coach Dave Johnson. “Our players have matured and we feel like we have reached the stage where we are going to be able to compete more often than not.”

Johnson has guided SFU since it joined the GNAC in 2010, and the Clan’s 5-6 finish a season ago highlighted their steady improvement over the past three seasons.

“Not too long ago we’d be a little nervous going in to play Humboldt, but this game felt different,” Johnson said regarding the program’s development.

Quarterback Ryan Stanford (QB, 6-3, Jr., Phoenix, AZ) threw for 446 yards and three touchdowns to lead an offense that posted 587 total yards in the game.

Stanford, who transferred to Simon Fraser this season from Phoenix College, completed 33 passes on 46 attempts.

Lemar Durant (WR, 6-2, R-So., Coquitlam, BC – University of Nevada-Reno) was Stanford’s favorite target on the day, as he hauled in 10 passes for 133 and two touchdowns from the quarterback. Durant also grabbed a pass from Bobby Pospischil (WR, 5-10, Jr., Coquitlam, BC – Centennial), a 31-yard play that resulted in a momentum shifting third-quarter touchdown.

Perhaps the highlight of the day was Durant’s incredible 69-yard touchdown reception that pushed SFU in front 14-10 in the second quarter.

Defensively, Casey Chin (LB, 5-10, Sr., Port Moody, BC – New Westminster Secondary) recorded a pair of interceptions and earned Red Lion GNAC Defensive Player of the Week. The senior linebacker was credited with 10 total tackles to tie teammate Mitchell Barnett (LB, 6-1, R-So., North Vancouver, BC – Handsworth) for the team high in the game.

“Casey and Lemar worked hard all offseason to be prepared and it showed,” said Johnson when asked about the players’ performance. “It was uplifting to our team that those guys were able to execute so effectively and really have a positive impact on the outcome for us.”

Derek Jones (DB, 6-1, Sr., Edmonton, AB – J Percy Page) led the Clan with six solo tackles and had an interception of his own, while Dylan Roper (DL, 6-2, Sr., North Vancouver, BC – Carson Graham) contributed 1.5 sacks and seven total tackles.

Ultimately, it was the Clan’s aerial assault that led to the victory. Twenty-one of SFU’s 28 first down conversions came by way of the pass, and the Clan totaled just 69 yards on the ground in the game.

Despite heading to the locker room down 17-14 at the half, SFU refused to give up and stormed back with a monstrous 20-point third quarter.

The Clan possessed the ball for almost 21 minutes in the second half, limiting the Lumberjacks’ scoring opportunities significantly.