Willamette Offense Rolls in 50-21 Victory against Whitworth

Dean Throws for 5 TDs; Traeger Scores 3 TDs on Pass Receptions

By Robert McKinney, Athletics Communications Director, (503) 370-6110

SALEM, ORE. -- Willamette University, ranked #25 nationally in the D3football.com Top 25, gained 532 yards of total offense in a 50-21 victory over Whitworth University in a Northwest Conference game on Friday, Oct. 11 at McCulloch Stadium. It was Willamette's first NWC game of the season.

The Bearcats improved to 4-0 overall, 1-0 in the NWC. Whitworth dropped to 2-4 overall, 0-2 in the NWC.

Willamette owned a 22-0 lead at halftime. The Bearcats extended their advantage to 50-7 early in the fourth quarter.

Starting quarterback Josh Dean (Sr., Dana Point, CA/Dana Hills HS) of Willamette completed 22 of 28 passes for 331 yards and 5 touchdowns. Wide receiver Derek Traeger (Jr., Mount Angel, OR/John F. Kennedy HS) caught three touchdown passes for the Bearcats in the first half that covered 41, 31 and 29 yards.

Traeger hauled in 10 catches for 168 yards in the first half and finished with 11 catches for 171 yards.

After limiting Whitworth to two first downs on the opening possession of the game, the Bearcats took over at their own 12-yard line following a punt.

Dean moved the offense down the field quickly, as the Bearcats scored seven plays and 1:54 later on a 41-yard pass to Traeger. Kyle Derby (Sr., PK/P, Oakdale, CA/Oakdale HS) kicked the extra point, giving Willamette a 7-0 lead with 7:27 left in the first quarter.

Ryan Foote (So., DB, Sherwood, OR/Valley Catholic HS/Allan Hancock JC) of Willamette forced Whitworth punt returner Drew Clausen to fumble at the Pirates' 36-yard line late in the first period and the Bearcats recovered at the Whitworth 42.

The fumble allowed the Bearcats to increase their advantage on the scoreboard early in the second quarter.

Traeger, who began the possession with a 15-yard reception, registered the touchdown three plays later on a 31-yard catch. Taylor Wyman (Jr., RB/P, Bellevue, WA/Issaquah HS) ran for two points on the conversion after surging forward as the Pirates tried to tackle him at the 1-yard line.

Willamette drove 77 yards on eight plays the next time the Bearcats had control of the ball. Dean was 4 for 4 passing on the drive, which ended with a 29-yard toss to Traeger. Derby's extra point kick, Willamette held a 22-0 lead with 9:29 left in the half.

The Pirates threatened to score late in the second quarter, as Whitworth drove from its own 25-yard line to the Willamette 27. On 2nd-and-6 at the 27, a pass by quarterback Ian Koste was intercepted by Tyson Giza (Sr., CB/ROV, Salem, OR/Sprague HS) at the Bearcats' 9-yard line.

Giza returned the interception 46 yards to the Whitworth 45 and a personal foul for a horse collar tackle on the play advanced the ball to the Pirates' 30 with just 13 seconds left in the half. Dean rushed for seven yards on the first play, and the Bearcats called timeout with two seconds on the clock. Derby missed on a 40-yard field goal as the second quarter ended.

Willamette marched 61 yards on six plays for a touchdown after Giza returned the kickoff 35 yards to start the second half.

Dean hit De'Zhon Grace (Fr., WR, Castro Valley, CA/Bishop O'Dowd HS) for 29 yards on the second play from scrimmage and Dylan Jones (Jr., RB, Santa Maria, CA/Ernest Righetti HS) rushed for 17 yards to the Whitworth 12 on the third play. Three plays later, Dean hit Grace with an 8-yard touchdown pass. Derby kicked the PAT as Willamette took a 29-0 lead.

After the Bearcats stopped the Pirates on 4th-and-1 at the Whitworth 43, the Bearcats drove for another score. Wyman reached the end zone on a 10-yard run with 8:43 left in the third quarter. Wyman also had a 12-yard carry during the drive.

Whitworth registered its first points of the game with 1:49 remaining in the third quarter with a 5-yard run by Griffin Hare at the end of a 14-play, 75-yard possession. Kyler Gracey kicked the extra point, leaving the Bearcats with a 36-7 lead.

Willamette answered just 1:02 later on a 20-yard touchdown pass from Dean to Ryan Johnston (Sr., WR, The Dalles, OR/The Dalles HS). The quick 5-play, 65-yard drive also included a 13-yard run by Dean, an 11-yard pass to Jones and a 21-yard run by Jones.

The Bearcats increased their advantage to 50-7 after a two-play drive near the start of the fourth quarter. Dean completed a 31-yard pas to Grace to open the drive before Jones scampered 27 yards to the end zone on a well-blocked outside running play. Derby kicked his sixth extra point of the game with 13:54 remaining.

Whitworth scored twice in the final five minutes of the game, as Michael McCune connected with Kekoa Turbeville on a 15-yard touchdown pass at the 4:29 mark and threw a 30-yard scoring strike to Erik Kove with three second left. Gracey kicked both extra points.

Despite having the ball for just 19:44 during the game, the Bearcats passed for 372 yards and rushed for 160 yards. Dean, in addition to throwing for 331 yards, rushed nine times for 60 yards. Back-up quarterback Trent Spallas (Fr., Elk Grove, CA/Franklin HS) completed 3 of 7 passes for 41 yards. Jones rushed for 74 yards on eight carries.

Derby's 6-for-6 effort on extra points allowed him to set the Willamette career record for extra point attempts. The previous record was 127 attempts by Mitchell Rowan ('12), who was successful on 115 of his kicks from 2008 to 2011. Derby, who set the career record for successful extra points earlier this season, is now 124 of 130 on PATs.

DJ Tripoli of Whitworth carried the ball 21 times for 85 yards. Hare added 84 rushing yards on 16 carries. The Pirates gained a total of 241 rushing yards on 58 carries. Whitworth was 14 of 28 passing for 170 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. Koste was 6 of 13 for 63 yards, while McCune was 6 of 11 for 93 yards.

Inside linebacker Jack Nelson (Jr., Portland, OR/Jesuit HS) of Willamette led all players with 11 tackles. Brendan Manion (Jr., OLB, Los Altos, CA/Archbishop Mitty HS) added nine tackles -- eight solo -- for the Bearcats. Strong safety Casey Monahan from Whitworth topped the Pirates with seven tackles, including six unassisted stops.

Willamette will play at Lewis & Clark College next weekend. Game time on Saturday, Oct. 19 is scheduled for 1 p.m. (PDT).


Willamette University 50
Whitworth University 21

Highlights (YouTube, compiled by Capital Community Television)

Post-game Interviews

Photo Gallery (Photos by Naomi Stukey, Photographer for Willamette Athletics)

Derek Traeger caught three touchdown passes in the first half, covering 41 yards, 31 yards and 29 yards.

Derek Traeger caught three touchdown passes in the first half, covering 41 yards, 31 yards and 29 yards.

Ryan Johnston scored on a 20-yard catch in the third quarter.

Ryan Johnston scored on a 20-yard catch in the third quarter.