WOU Named Red Lion Team Of Week With DI Triumph
Western Oregon defeated Sacramento State 38-30 in the season opener on Saturday.
Western Oregon defeated Sacramento State 38-30 in the season opener on Saturday.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

PORTLAND  – Western Oregon football had a memorable start to its 2016 season, upsetting NCAA Division I-FCS opponent Sacramento State on the road by a score of 38-30 to earn the selection as the first Red Lion/GNAC Team of the Week of the season.

The Wolves have never shied away from scheduling tough opponents for their non-conference schedule and on Saturday, it paid off as they earned their second consecutive non-conference win after beating No. 6 North Alabama last fall. The last time any GNAC school upset a Division I-FCS squad was in 2011, when Humboldt State defeated UC Davis, 23-17. The Wolves have now won seven of their last eight contests dating back to the start of last October.

Western Oregon received a significant boost from Paul Revis, who individually had a record-setting game. In the first quarter, the receiver hauled in a 19-yard pass and later in the quarter returned a punt 74 yards for a touchdown to give WOU a 14-0 lead. The punt returned for a touchdown was the third in his career, which is now stands alone as the GNAC record. He also moves up to fifth in GNAC history in career punt return yards.

“Anytime you play a Division I opponent, you know you will have mountains to climb,” Western Oregon head coach Arne Ferguson said. “I felt our players rose to the challenge and played together as a team. To see us execute is exciting, especially against a big, fast and well-coached team.”

Malik Braxton also had a memorable offensive performance. He threw the 19-yard touchdown pass to Revis and later brought down a 10-yard pass for a touchdown. The last time a GNAC player threw and caught a touchdown in a game was Blake Robertson of Azusa Pacific. Nobody else throughout the course of the 2015 season both threw and caught a touchdown pass.

The Wolves never trailed in the contest and in the fourth quarter Torreahno Sweet ran in a 30-yard touchdown to cap off an 8-play 80-yard drive that gave WOU a 38-22 lead. After a Sacramento State touchdown and quick stop, the Hornets had the ball trailing by only eight. With a final chance to heave up a pass to the end zone, Danny Hankins intercepted the pass to guarantee the victory.

“We had great special teams performances with the returns of Paul Revis and our defense stepped up in a pressure spot in the fourth quarter,” Ferguson added. “They performed great and Danny Hankins had one of his best game including the pick with 17 seconds.”

The WOU defense was paced in the victory by Bo Highburger, who recorded a team-high 14 tackles, including a solo sack for a 10-yard loss and also landed on a fumble, which was one of three turnovers the WOU defense produced.

Western Oregon returns to the field on Saturday to host Central Washington at 1 p.m. Pacific.