#25 Menlo put their undefeated road record on the line in Tacoma, Washington with a battle against the Lutes of Pacific Lutheran. The Oaks trailed 14-6 with only 2:30 remaining in the fourth quarter when junior quarterback Matt Pelesasa and the rest of the offense set up for a potential game tying drive.
Menlo was able to convert twice on fourth down, including a 16-yard pass to junior Robert Adan on a 4th-and-12 to keep the drive alive and their hopes still burning. Pelesasa was able to march his Oaks all the way down to the PLU 11-yard line with clutch completions of 25 yards to sophomore Michael Alexander and 15 yards to junior Daniel Stevenson.
Then after a Lutes timeout, Pelesasa's intended pass over the middle was tipped by PLU linebacker Mike Warsaw, before it was intercepted by safety Sean McFadden to put a screeching halt to Menlo's comeback bid. The Lutes held on for a 14-6 victory to push their record to 4-1 while the Oaks drop to 5-2 on the year.
The first half featured all of the game's scoring as PLU jumped out on top 6-0 on their opening drive. Freshman running back Niko Madison capped off a five play, 87-yard drive with a 10-yard rushing touchdown to put the Lutes in front. PLU could not convert on the extra point attempt.
Menlo would respond minutes later with an opening quarter drive of their own that ended in a Michael Alexander 12-yard touchdown pass from Pelesasa. Oaks kicker Kevin Kurtz missed his second extra point in as many weeks, so the score stayed knotted up at six as the game entered the second quarter.
Late in the frame Pacific Lutheran was the beneficiary of a short field after Lutes cornerback Justin Whitman intercepted a Pelesasa pass at the Menlo 33-yard line. PLU promptly marched down the field, picking up a TD with only 24 seconds left in the half on a Luke Halverson 2-yard strike to freshman wide receiver Kyle Warner to take the lead. The Lutes converted on a two point attempt to seize a 14-6 advantage into the locker room. Both teams couldn't get anything going offensively in the second half with each defense pitching a shutout.
Not to be lost in all the action was another prime time performance by Oaks wide receiver Robert Adan. The junior from Pittsburg, CA caught eight balls for 105 yards to add to his unbelievable season. Pelesasa finished the afternoon going 15-23 for 170-yards with one touchdown and two interceptions. Menlo was able to gain 146 yards on the ground led by sophomore Nick Acosta's 77.
Defensively the Oaks' James Yoder had a team high 10 tackles while Menlo's Tony Ramirez earned a sack and two tackles for loss.
The Oaks will enter a bye week next Saturday before returning home for a matchup against last season's Northwest Conference Champion Linfield University on Saturday October 29th. Kickoff is scheduled for 12:00pm.