For the last time in their home careers, 11 seniors suited up today for their final go around at Cartan Field. Combine the emotions of Senior Day with the intensity of the 10th ranked team in the land in Azusa Pacific coming to town, and this afternoon had all the makings of a special day.
Unfortunately for the Oaks and their 11 seniors, they end their home careers on a bitter note as the Cougars rolled to a 49-6 victory to push their record to 8-2. Menlo has now lost three in a row to drop to 5-4 on the year, scoring just six points in each of the last three contests.
The Oaks were able to keep the game close for most of the first half, trailing only 14-6 with just over a minute to go in the second quarter. Azusa Pacific changed the script rather quickly, finding the end zone twice in the span of just 29 seconds to take a commanding 28-6 halftime advantage. Junior running back Johnell Murphy punched one in from five yards out for the first score, with senior Matt Davis hauling in a 44-yard touchdown pass for the second one, one of two on the day for the native of Acampo, CA.
The Cougars continued their ground and pound attack in the second half as they rushed for an impressive 344 yards on 45 carries when it was all said and done. Freshman running back Terrel Watson dashed his way to a game high 131 rushing yards while Azusa Pacific senior quarterback accumulated 116 yards on the ground with four total touchdowns (2 passing, 2 rushing).
In the defeat, the Oaks received another outstanding performance by sophomore running back Thomas Reynolds. The native of San Jose rushed for an Oaks high 97 yards, including a 71 yard TD scamper early to make it a game as Menlo trailed by just one at 7-6.
Defensively, the Oaks' Beau Bussani really came to play in his final Cartan Field appearance, recording a game high 11 tackles while forcing and recovering a fumble in the first half.
Menlo will go on the road for their final game of 2011, making the trip to Ashland, Oregon for a matchup against Southern Oregon. The Oaks will be looking for revenge after the Raiders spoiled Menlo's homecoming, 31-17, back on October 1st. Kickoff is slated for 1:00pm.