Burnaby, B.C.-- Senior transfers Demetrius Sumler (San Diego, Calif./Cathedral Catholic HS) and Johri Fogerson (Kent, Wash./O'Dea HS) combined to rush for 257 yards and six touchdowns, leading the Central Washington University football team to a 56-28 victory over host Simon Fraser University in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference opener for both teams on Saturday afternoon at Terry Fox Field.
Each team evened its overall record at 1-1, with the Wildcats returning to the win column following a 28-point loss at Texas A&M University-Kingsville to start the season.
Sumler, a transfer from the University of Colorado, had 154 rushing yards on 22 carries and scored twice, while Fogerson, a transfer from the University of Washington, finished with 103 yards on 13 carries and four touchdowns. For Fogerson, it was his CWU debut after missing the season opener.
"We were excited to get our two running backs to be able to run well like they did," CWU head coach Blaine Bennett said. "They both ran extremely physical. Our offensive line did well, and (quarterback Ryan) Robertson did a great job managing our offense. It was an overall offensive team effort."
The game's opening score came through the air, as senior quarterback Ryan Robertson (Sammamish, Wash./Eastlake HS) engineered a 14-play, 92-yard drive that was capped by an 18-yard touchdown pass to senior Tavoy Moore (Long Beach, Calif./Gahr HS). That proved to be the lone passing score of the game for CWU, though, as their next six touchdowns came on the ground. A 41-yard return of an onside kick by junior Stan Langlow (University Place, Wash/Curtis HS) with 4:57 remaining finished the scoring and enabled the Wildcats to break the 50-point plateau on the scoreboard for the first time since Oct. 11, 2008. It was the team's highest point total since Oct. 22, 2005, when CWU defeated Western Oregon 61-33.
Central Washington's offense was so efficient on Saturday that the Wildcats did not punt the football in a game for the first time in nearly 12 years (Oct. 21, 2000 vs. Humboldt State). CWU did not attempt a field goal, either, and converted 9 of 11 third-down conversion opportunities. The only possessions on which the Wildcats did not score Saturday were because of a fumble, and interception, and on the final series of the game.
"Generally, to be in the 30 to 40 percent range (on third down) is considered successful," Bennett said. "it felt good to be able to convert so efficiently, and to not have to settle for any field goal attempts. We had players make plays in key situations -- specifically on third down -- which is something we tried to emphasize heavily this week."
As for the wildcats' effective running game, they finished with 312 net yards on the ground for their highest single-game total since the team's visit to Burnaby two seasons ago. That contest was much closer -- a 40-30 CWU win -- while the Wildcats lost to SFU 35-24 last season.
"It's tough to travel into Canada, and we haven't played particularly well here," Bennett explained after his third time leading the Wildcats onto the SFU campus. "We had some extra motivation, though, especially being 0-1 on the year. But with a fresh start (0-0 conference record) and the opportunity to compete for a GNAC championship, it was nice to be able to go on the road and score some touchdowns."
While it was a high-powered offensive performance that highlighted the CWU victory, the Wildcat defense also played well. Langlow and senior Kevin Puckett tied for team-leading honors with 13 tackles apiece, with Langlow being credited with 3 1/2 tackles for losses and a fumble recovery in addition to his onside kick return for a touchdown. It marked the second straight week that the outside linebacker led the team in tackles.
"Stan has played two excellent football games for us," Bennett proclaimed. "Last week's performance was overshadowed because of the final score. He is a vocal leader, and his production has been very good. Overall, our linebacking core is doing a nice job."
Another of the wildcats' linebackers, junior Holman Faatili (Bellingham, Wash.), had a breakout game defensively with nine tackles. Junior defensive tackle Donnie Johnson (Olympia, Wash./Capital HS) had the game's only quarterback sack.
CWU tabulated 316 rushing yards and a 7.3 yards-per-carry average on the game. They added 213 passing yards on 17 of 24, with Robertson finishing 16 of 23 for 208 yards. The Wildcats finished with a 103-yard edge in total offense for the game, holding Simon Fraser to 141 yards rushing.
The Wildcats will play their third straight away game next week, visiting Western Oregon University on Sept. 15 for a 1 p.m. Kickoff. CWU will then finally make its 2012 home debut on Sept. 22 versus GNAC newcomer Azusa Pacific University.
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