Poets win opener, 31-28, over Sul Ross State
EL PASO, Texas - Sophomore quarterback Alesana Sausau and senior running back Paul Schilling combined for 347 yards and four touchdowns as they led the Whittier College football team to a 31-28 come-from-behind victory over Sul Ross State on Saturday morning at the Socorro Athletic Complex.
Schilling filled in mightily for graduated running back Anthony Pomponio as he ran for 117 yards and three scores. The former defensive back averaged over five yards per carry and scored on runs of one-yard, six yards and seven yards.
The Poets (1-0) had three players rush the ball over 10 times led by Schilling (20 carries). Sausau added 13 rushes for 92 yards and a score and sophomore Rodrigo Muratalla pitched in with 11 carries for 44 yards.
Last season the purple and gold ran for just 131 yards per game and on Saturday they posted 310 yards on the ground.
The Poets faced four fourth downs and came away with three conversions; none bigger than the converted fourth and two with 4:55 to play in the third.
Schilling punched it in from six yards out to cap a 14-play, 75-yard drive that ate up over 10 minutes to open the third quarter. The score gave Whittier a 24-21 lead.
After Sul Ross State (0-2) and Whittier traded punts on their ensuing possession the Lobos reclaimed the lead, 28-24, on a Laurence Smith 35-yard run. The drive took a mere 1:06 and lasted just two plays.
Whittier got the ball back with 13:09 left in the game and needed only six plays to score the eventual game winning touchdown.
Freshman Daniel Enriquez carried the ball on consecutive plays for 14 and five yards, respectively, and freshman Marcus Langkilde hauled in a 40-yard pass to set up Schilling's third score of the game. The six-play, 66-yard drive ate up just 2:07 but gave the Poets a 31-28 advantage.
The defense for Whittier started slow but ended strong as junior Josh Lomeli sealed the win for the Poets with an interception on Sul Ross' final drive.
Whittier forced a pair of turnovers and held the Lobos to just 58 yards through the air. Sophomore Jared Cato led the defense with 10 tackles.
WC held the ball for 40:22 which includes 13:09 in the third quarter alone.
Freshman Roman Ferreira converted his first collegiate field goal with two seconds remaining the second quarter to pull the Poets within four at 21-17. Ferreira's attempt was from 22 yards.
Junior Josh Ollison led all Poet receivers with 60 yards on three catches.
Whittier returns to action on Saturday, September 26, as it hosts Menlo College at 7 pm at Memorial Stadium.