First year Menlo Head Coach Mark Speckman smacked an exclamation point next to his first Conner Field game as Oaks head man, watching his boys in blue roll to the tune of a 50-point victory in taming the Tigers of Occidental College (0-2). Menlo (3-1) racked up 56-points in their unprecedented 56-6 win, matching their highest point total since November 1st 2003 when the Oaks defeated the University Puget Sound 56-25, which just so happens to be Menlo's last winning season. What's even more impressive about the historical showing is that the Oaks did it all in the first half, as neither team lit up the scoreboard in the final 30 minutes.
Right from the get go it was evident that this afternoon would belong to Menlo. The Oaks scored touchdowns on four of the first five possessions of the game, and that includes two of Occidental's drives, not just their own.
First it was senior quarterback Matt Pelasasa tossing an 11-yard TD strike to junior Thomas Reynolds on the contest's opening possession. Menlo marched right down the field to jump out to the 7-0 advantage on what was a seven play, 63-yard scoring drive in the fans first true glimpse of the 2012 Oaks.
On the very next play from scrimmage, the Tigers first chance on offense, Menlo scored again. Junior defensive lineman Camyar Meshkaty forced a fumble on Oxy tailback Austin Cheadle, which was then scooped up by Menlo's Angel Jimenez who waltzed 35-yards into the end zone for the rapid 14-0 advantage with not even five minutes gone by.
On the Tigers next possession, the Oaks once again would be the ones dancing in the end zone. A lengthy Occidental drive would eventually come to a screeching halt after a Rex Hawkins sack pushed the Tigers from the Menlo 38-yard line to the Oaks 46. Oxy would be forced to punt, but freshman Cooper Harris came racing in to block Marc Kuzbari's kick, which was then picked up by Menlo's Jake Fohn who took it 60-yards the other way for the Oaks third touchdown of the first quarter.
Menlo would add a fourth first period TD with a Matt Pelasasa 23-yard heave to senior wide out Robert Adan as the Oaks made it a successful 2-for-2 in first quarter touchdown drives.
The second quarter proved to be just as favorable as the first, with Menlo striking for four more TDs and 28 more points. After Occidental punched in their only points of the afternoon with a Tommy Edwards 15-yard scoring strike to senior wide receiver Matthew Tuckness, the Oaks were at it again.
Menlo was initially stalled for the first time in their last eight possessions, dating back to last Saturday's 35-point second half in which the Oaks scored a TD on all five of their second half chances. Menlo was forced to punt, but after the Tigers' Casey Dudley muffed the attempt, the Oaks Daniel Stevenson pounced on the loose ball to give his team another offensive opportunity. Menlo would capitalize on the Oxy miscue just three plays later when Pelasasa hooked up with senior tight end Devin Young for a 24-yard score to give the Oaks a commanding 35-6 lead.
The touchdown was Pelasasa's third of the game, as the Redwood City native completed on all nine of his pass attempts, throwing for 119-yards in not even two complete quarters.
Menlo continued to excel in the rushing department with another impressive ground performance. The Oaks ran wild for 277 total yards, as they have now averaged 267 rushing yards in their three wins this year. Freshman Brandon Bell led the charge with 104 on the ground, including a video game like 57-yard touchdown run late in the second. The explosive tailback from Largo, FL appeared to be down on at least three occasions during his mad dash to the end zone, but somehow managed to keep his balance and race it in for six. Bell's strong performance makes it two straight games in which he has led the team in rushing.
The defense and special teams made their mark as well, accounting for half of Menlo's scoring output. Aside from Jimenez's and Fohn's fumble recoveries in the first quarter, junior wide receiver Michael Alexander returned a 75-yard punt to the house for his team leading fifth touchdown of the season, and senior defensive back Wade Hawkins with his 35-yard "pick-six" stamped his name into the scoring fiesta as well.
The Oaks will look to make it three straight as they match up with the University of La Verne next Saturday (Sep. 22) in Menlo's second straight home affair. Kickoff is slated for 12:00pm.