September 16, 2007

Bears Fall 49-13 At San Diego

Sept. 16, 2007

Final Stats |  Notes

San Diego, CALIF. - The University of Northern Colorado football team fell at the hands of the San Diego Toreros 49-13 at Torero Stadium to drop to 0-3 on the season.


The Bears tallied a season-high 18 first downs in the game (12 passing, six rushing), as well as a season-high 333 total offensive yards (227 passing, 106 rushing). The team also had one interception and two sacks on the defensive side of the ball.


Junior running back David Woods gained 96 yards on 17 carries to lead the team, while senior wide receiver Andy Birkel caught nine passes for 85 yards. Junior quarterback Mike Vlahogeorge completed 13-of-27 passes for 122 yards and one touchdown, while senior quarterback Dominic Breazeale was 8-for-12 for 105 yards. Woods also returned four kickoffs for 77 yards, while defensive back Eric Brown had three returns for 71 yards. Woods ended the evening with 180 all-purpose yards in the game, while Birkel tallied 101.


Defensively, senior defensive back D.J. Craft led the team in tackles for the third straight game with nine and Joe Silipo had a sack and forced fumble, while Mark Rodden had an interception for 25 yards.


"This was a game of missed opportunities," said head coach Scott Downing. "We had several scoring chances early in the game and were unable to convert. I thought we improved in a lot of areas from the first two games of the year, but we still have a lot of improving to do. I am extremely proud of the way this team fought until the very end."


The Bears saw San Diego score two quick touchdowns in the first quarter, but rallied to drive 50 yards on three plays in just 40 seconds to get on the scoreboard. The scoring play was a three-yard shuffle pass from Vlahogeorge to junior tight end Ryan Chesla, but Michael York's extra point attempt bounced off the right upright. NC notched five first downs, gaining 121 yards on 20 plays. Vlahogeorge was 9-for-13 for 75 yards in the first quarter which includes a season-long 34-yard pass to junior Cory Fauver in the scoring drive.


In the second quarter, Joe Silipo recorded a sack on quarterback Josh Johnson, forcing a fumble which John Eddy recovered, but the Torero defense recorded a sack of their own and forced the Bears into another punt. After a defensive stop by the Bears, NC drove down the field with Breazeale leading the team, but a bad snap in the red zone gave the Toreros the ball back. USD then drove down the field scoring another touchdown with just under a minute left in the half for the 28-6 lead.


The Northern Colorado offense tallied 225 yards in the first half, which is a season high for the Bears (181 - Hawaii, 214 - Chadron State). They also tallied 11 first downs, which was the game total against the Warriors and there were 14 in the game against the Eagles. Vlahogeorge ended the half 9-for-18 for 75 yards and one touchdown with two sacks, while Breazeale was 4-for-5 for 76 yards.


The Toreros returned the opening kickoff of the third quarter for a touchdown and added two more in the quarter for the 49-6 advantage.


Breazeale started the opening drive of the fourth quarter for NC, driving the Bears down the field for a touchdown. Woods carried the ball into the end zone, but fumbled it and Brian Barmann fell on the football to give the Bears six and York's kick was good for the 49-13 score. Junior Mark Rodden, making the switch to defense this year picked off back-up quarterback, but on the return fumbled the ball giving USD the ball right back. On the very next play, Casey Herron notched the fifth sack of his career and with another tackle for loss on the ensuing play for the Bears, forced the Toreros into a punt. The game ended with the score 49-13.


Northern Colorado begins Big Sky Conference play next Saturday as it travels to Flagstaff, Ariz., to take on the Northern Arizona Lumberjacks - a team that lost to FCS #1 Appalachian State earlier this afternoon.