Western Oregon Football Named Team of the Week
Western Oregon quarterback Ryan Bergman threw for 234 yards and led an offense that did not commit a turnover in its 30-9 win over Simon Fraser.
Western Oregon quarterback Ryan Bergman threw for 234 yards and led an offense that did not commit a turnover in its 30-9 win over Simon Fraser.

Monday, September 30, 2013

PORTLAND, Ore. – After failing to score in the first quarter, Western Oregon’s football team responded in a big way as the Wolves rolled to a 30-9 road victory over Simon Fraser to earn GNAC Team of the Week honors.

The Wolves defensive effort was crucial to their success, as SFU failed to score a touchdown and was just 3-of-14 on third down conversions.

“Any time you can keep a team from scoring a touchdown it’s a great group effort,” commented head coach Arne Ferguson regarding his team’s defensive performance. “You have to give credit to both their offensive and defensive lines, and it didn’t surprise us how physical of a game it was especially in the first half.”

Leading the defensive unit was GNAC Defensive Player of the Week Kraig Akins (DL, 6-2, Jr., Springfield, OR – Thurston), who totaled 11 tackles, with three going for a loss including two sacks.

“Akins had his best game at Western Oregon against the number one passer in the conference,” said Ferguson about the junior defensive lineman, who also forced two fumbles.

Offensively, Western Oregon presented a balanced attack that created scoring opportunities from a variety of different angles. Quarterback Ryan Bergman (QB, 6-2, Jr., Issaquah, WA – Issaquah) completed 14-of-33 passes for 234 yards, a touchdown and no interceptions, while running back Joe Harris (RB, 6-1, So., Coquille, OR – Coquille) eclipsed the 100-yard rushing mark and twice carried the ball across the goal line.

Both teams protected the ball well, as neither side fumbled in the game. The only turnovers created were a pair of interceptions for WOU, as the Wolves didn’t mishandle the ball all game.

“Controlling the ball and not having turnovers was a big part of our success, and it was great to see our o-line and running backs working together in the fourth quarter,” Ferguson responded when asked about his team’s success in the running game.

Tyrell Williams (WR, 6-4, Jr., Salem, OR – Cascade) and Antoinne Wafer (WR, 5-8, Sr., Seattle, WA – West Hills) each hauled in a pass of more than 40 yards, with the pair on the receiving end for 167 of the Wolves’ 234 passing yards.

“I felt that both of those guys played well, and Tyrell had several critical second and third down catches,” said Ferguson in praise of his receiving core. “Antoinne had some big catches as well, and that really helped to open things up for us.”

After dropping their first two games of 2013, the Wolves have now won two straight, outscoring their opponents 81-41 over the last two weeks.

“We challenged the guys to be more disciplined and focused at Simon Fraser,” Ferguson commented regarding his team’s preparation for the road game. “They did what we asked, and the mental focus and energy was the best that I have seen,” Ferguson added.

Western Oregon enjoys back-to-back home games in the next two weeks, as the Wolves host Azusa Pacific on Oct. 5 and Humboldt State the following Saturday in their homecoming game.

“In the GNAC, every game is close and comes down to a couple plays,” Ferguson said. “We feel that we are starting to play better, but still have room to improve. We will need that extra effort against Azusa at our place, and we know it will be a tough game.”