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Cal Lutheran Gets Defensive in Victory Over Occidental

College football: Kingsmen buckle down to turn tables on Tigers and win home finale, 45-24.

November 05, 2000|MATT MARINI | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

THOUSAND OAKS — Occidental came into Saturday afternoon's Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference game at Cal Lutheran with the conference's top-ranked defense.

But it was Cal Lutheran's defense that posted its best effort of the season.

Cal Lutheran snapped a three-game losing streak and eliminated the Tigers from title contention with a 45-24 victory in its home finale.

The Kingsmen, who entered the game allowing a conference-worst 512 yards per game, allowed only three yards in the first quarter and a season-low 366 total. The points allowed also were a season low.

Senior lineman Adam Wirtz, who recorded three of Cal Lutheran's six sacks, was excited to play his final home game.

"The emotions were pretty high today," Wirtz said. "Everyone stepped it up for the seniors' final home game."

Cal Lutheran Coach Scott Squires was equally pleased.

"Our defense played great today," Squires said. "Our defensive line controlled the line of scrimmage, and that made a big difference in the game."

The Kingsmen (3-5, 1-3 in conference play) also posted impressive offensive numbers.

Chris Czernek passed for 343 yards and four touchdowns, and Cal Lutheran rolled up 536 yards. Receiver Geno Sullivan, who had played sparingly because of a thigh bruise that resulted in knee problems, had his best game with eight receptions for 162 yards and three touchdowns.

Cal Lutheran opened with a 96-yard drive, capped by Sullivan's 21-yard over-the-shoulder catch in the end zone.

The Kingsmen were stopped on their next possession, but executed a fake punt to perfection. Blocker and backup quarterback Ryan Tukua lofted a pass to Sean McGaughey, who raced for a 61-yard touchdown and a 14-0 lead.

Leading, 17-9, in the third quarter, Czernek connected with Sullivan on 38- and 37-yard touchdown plays, the latter set up by McGaughey's interception.

The Tigers (5-3, 3-1) mounted scoring drives of 70 and 66 yards, cutting the deficit to 31-24.

Brian Woodworth capped an 80-yard scoring drive with a six-yard run with 3:26 remaining.

Czernek connected with Chris Dingman on a 38-yard touchdown pass with 53 seconds to play.

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