Vikings blank Western Oregon, 49-0
Oct. 23, 2004
BELLINGHAM, Wash. - Western Washington University quarterback Steve Nichols (Sr., Stevenson) threw three touchdown passes in the first 17 minutes, lifting the Vikings to a 49-0 victory over Western Oregon University in a Great Northwest Athletic Conference football game Saturday at Civic Stadium.
The Vikings, who posted their first shutout since 2001, improved to 5-3 overall, 2-2 in the GNAC with the victory, which avenged a 52-49 loss in four overtimes at Western Oregon on Oct. 2. The Wolves fell to 1-7 overall, 1-3 in the GNAC.
Nichols, one of eight Western Washington seniors playing his final home game, completed 15-of-23 passes for 215 yards and four touchdowns while playing a little more than two quarters. He opened the contest 11-of-18 for 166 yards prior to sitting out the final 13 minutes of the first half.
The Vikings scored on their first two possessions of the game. Following the opening kickoff, they went 80 yards in seven plays, capped by a 16-yard touchdown pass from Nichols to wide receiver Andy Olson (Jr., Chehalis/W.F. West), the fifth time in the last six games the Vikings have scored on their opening offensive series. It marked the seventh straight game with a touchdown reception for Olson, tying a school record.
Then after a short Western Oregon punt put the ball at midfield, Western Washington needed just two plays to double the lead. Running back Duncan Sherrard (Jr., Seattle/Roosevelt) gained 31 yards on a run down the right sideline, then wide receiver James Laurence (Sr., Kent/Kent-Meridian) made a leaping catch over two defenders in the end zone of a pass from Nichols.
Western Washington extended the margin to 21-0 later in the first quarter on a 7-yard run by Sherrard, and just 1:37 into the second period, Nichols found Olson for a 24-yard score to make the score 28-0.
Olson finished with six receptions for 89 yards and two scores. Sherrard rushed for 105 yards and a touchdown on 21 carries, helping the Vikings to a 474-176 advantage in total offense.
"It's a crazy game, you play a team earlier in the year and it goes four overtimes, then you play again and have this type of game," said Western Washington coach Rob Smith. "I was really pleased with the focus of our players, and their determination to go out and play well today. It was a great job by our defense."
It was the first shutout posted by the Vikings since a 77-0 triumph over Western Montana in 2001, and their first in conference play since a 58-0 victory at Humboldt State in 1999.
The Vikings added a pair of touchdowns in the third period, Nichols throwing a 20-yard scoring pass to slotback Chris Robinson (R-Fr., Tacoma/Clover Park), and linebacker Craig Keenan (Jr., Salem, MA/Hamilton-Wenham) returning an interception 39 yards after the ball was deflected by safety Rob White (Sr., Woodinville/Inglemoor). Running back Darrius Tuggle (So., Spanaway/Spanaway Lake) closed the scoring on an 18-yard run in the fourth quarter.
The result also marked just the second time in the last 10 meetings between the schools either team had won by a touchdown or more.
Western Oregon, which did not get past the Viking 49 in the second half, had two good chances to score in the opening half. Midway through the first quarter, a 37-yard rush by running back Kyle Blank put the ball at the Viking 19, but the drive stalled and Bruce Voges missed a 37-yard field goal. Late in the second quarter, a fumble recovery by Brian Sprague gave the Wolves the ball at the Viking 21, but on fourth-and-16, a reception by Tyler Smith came up inches short of a first down.
Quarterback Denny Bies was 13-of-25 with an interception for the Wolves, but for only 69 yards in almost three quarters of action. Kyle Blank led the Western Oregon rushing attack with 59 yards on 10 attempts.
Michael Koenen (Sr., Ferndale) averaged 54.2 yards on four punts for Western Washington, sent three kickoffs for touchbacks, and made all seven of his extra-point attempts.
The Vikings visit archrival Central Washington University in a GNAC contest on Sat., Oct. 30. The contest is the ninth annual Cascade Cup game.
Western Washington Vikings Sidebar Links
|Email this article||Printer-friendly format|