Sep 26, 2018

Game Preview: Bruins Open Conference Play On The Road Against Boxers

A Winning Tradition

  • One post-season appearance (1960 Crusader Bowl)
  • One AFCA Division III Coaches' All-American (Nolan Schuler, 2017)
  • One CoSIDA Academic All-American (Caleb Dalzell, 2017)
  • Two CoSIDA Academic All-District (Caleb Dalzell, 2017; Grant Schroeder, 2017)
  • Three All-Americans
  • Four All-Region Honorees
  • 37 All-NWC Athletes 
  • Five Team of the Week
  • Nine NWC Student-Athlete of the Week Awards 
  • One Cliff Harris Award Finalist (Charles Riga, 2017)
  • Two NSCA All-American (Justin Kruse, 2015; Dane Jensen, 2017)
  • Two NFL Draft Picks 

By: Jake Bienvenue

NEWBERG –  After a 40-6 rout of Pomona-Pitzer two weeks ago and a bye week on Sept. 22, George Fox's football team (2-1, 0-0 NWC) looks to stay in a groove against Pacific University in the squad's Northwest Conference opener Saturday, Sept. 29, on Pacific's home turf in Forest Grove, Oregon.

The last time the Bruins and Boxers met, George Fox showed off in front of its home crowd, scoring 21 unanswered points in the second quarter, highlighted by a blocked field goal that led to a 94-yard touchdown return by Charles Riga. The 27-7 win was the first of five NWC wins against just two losses.

This fall's meeting is both different and similar to 2017's tilt. The Boxers hadn't taken the field in three weeks before last year's matchup. This season, both teams are fresh off of bye weeks, and both schools had games the week before. The Bruins come into the matchup 2-1, as they did in 2017, while the Boxers are 1-2.

Pacific kicked off the season with a road loss against Chapman, falling 36-6 in a game they were outgained 436 yards to 174. The team's lone score came on a pass from senior quarterback JT Greenough to freshman receiver Hayden von Almen. After a 21-10 loss to Dubuque in week two, the Boxers bounced back with a 21-16 home victory against Cal Lutheran.

Greenough is key for the Boxers as a returning senior on a young team. Through three games, he has completed 60.2 percent of his passes while racking up 522 yards and two scores and throwing only one interception. The Boxers' defense is led by senior safety Ryan Sinkking, who has 23 tackles and 2.5 sacks in three games. Senior defensive lineman Tristan Smith will be a force as well. Against Cal Lutheran in week three, Smith recorded three sacks and eight solo tackles, five of which were for a loss.

Pacific University's defense should be an interesting test for a Bruin offense that's found its stride on the ground of late. Freshman quarterback Jaden Sheffey paces George Fox in rushing, having racked up 211 yards and three scores thus far. Wesley Riddell and Anthony Garcia share the workload at running back for the Bruins, combining for 304 yards and four scores through the first three games.

Senior linebacker Charles Riga is the leader of a stacked Bruin defense. He comes into the game with 29 tackles, two sacks, 4.5 tackles for loss and an interception. Meanwhile, the Bruin secondary has been on a tear of late, recording eight interceptions, four of which came against Pomona-Pitzer in week three.

The Boxers have picked up 636 yards of total offense thus far. Of those, a whopping 588 have come through the air. Sparks should fly as the Bruin secondary looks to deter Pacific's downfield style of play. The matchup of George Fox's ground game against a solid Boxer defense should prove pivotal as well.

Pacific is providing a live stream for fans who can't make it to the game. To view the game, click here.