DATE: Saturday, Oct. 9, 2010 -- 6 p.m. (PDT)
Citrus Stadium – Glendora, Calif.
Ticket Prices - $7 adult, $5 Students w/ ID, Children 12 and under free
THIS WEEK: Trying to bounce back from its first loss of the season, a gut-wrencher on the other side of the country last week, Azusa Pacific returns home for the final time this season to host a vastly improved Humboldt State on Saturday (Oct. 9) at 6 p.m. in Citrus Stadium.
SERIES NOTES: Humboldt State leads the all-time series with Azusa Pacific, 14-8, and has won the past 2 meetings and 3 of the past 4. The 2 teams have split 10 previous games on the Cougars’ home turf. The Lumberjacks took last year’s game with a 31-10 decision in Azusa. Typically a close game, 15 of the previous 22 games have been decided by 10 points or less, including 6 by a field goal or less. The 2 programs first met in 1987 and have played each other every year since 1990.
vs. NCAA DII: Since 1996, Azusa Pacific is 13-14 vs. NCAA Division II teams. Until 2008, the Cougars had taken 7 of 9 meetings and 8 of 11 vs. DII teams. However, they have now dropped 8 straight since beating Dixie State, 30-20, on the road in 2007.
AT CITRUS: Saturday’s homecoming game vs. Humboldt State will be played at Citrus Stadium, adjacent to the Azusa Pacific campus. The 10,000-seat stadium has been the site of 4 previous Cougar games, 2 this and 2 last year.
KICKOFF: Azusa Pacific is coming off its first loss of the season and therefore is facing its first “rebound” game for the 2010 season … Humboldt State is riding high after snapping Central Washington’s 28-game Great Northwest Athletic Conference (GNAC) win streak with a 25-24 victory at home last week … The game will match Azusa Pacific’s high-octane spread offense, which is averaging 38.4 points and 456.0 yards a game, against Humboldt State’s GNAC-leading defense, which is allowing just 16.2 points and 298.6 yards.
FIRST & TEN: Humboldt State is the first NCAA Division II team to take on Azusa Pacific this season, and is the first of 3 that the Cougars will play over their final 4 regular season games … The Cougars, who have won their 2 previous home games this season (59-14 vs. La Verne and 46-21 vs. Whittier) are playing their final home game of 2010 in the meeting with Humboldt State … In all of college football, only Michigan’s Denard Robinson has more rushing yards as a QB than Azusa Pacific’s John van den Raadt … Van den Raadt needs just 5 more yards to become only the fourth QB in Azusa Pacific history to throw for over 4,000 yards … In 300 minutes of football this season, Azusa Pacific has trailed 27 minutes and 41 seconds.
NATIONAL RANKING: For the first time since 2005, Azusa Pacific has made an appearance in 4 straight regular-season NAIA Coaches Polls. Azusa Pacific is ranked No. 19 this week, the highest ranking for any independent in this poll. The Cougars are ranked No. 22 in the Victory Sports Network Poll.
CONNECTIONS: Former Azusa Pacific RB Donnie Lee now plays at Humboldt State. Lee played for the Cougars in 2006 and 2007, appearing in 9 games as a kick returner and back-up running back. He sat out the 2008 campaign before transferring to HSU where he redshirted last season … Cougar defenders Darrell Wilson and Mike Willis were 2008 teammates of Lumberjack WR Tommy Darcy at Mt. San Antonio College.
PROTECTION DOGS: The Azusa Pacific offensive line, with 3 underclassman starters, is not only opening holes that have produced the fifth-best running game in the NAIA this year, but the Cougar quintet has allowed just 4 QB sacks in 5 games and 135 pass plays this season.
THE SACKMASTERS: While the Azusa Pacific o-line is doing a fine job protecting the quarterback, the Cougar defensive line is wreaking havoc on opposing QBs. Led by junior Jake Jones, the Cougars have already registered 14 sacks, 2 of which led to fumbles recovered by Azusa Pacific. Jones leads the team with 5.5 sacks per game and is fourth in the NAIA, averaging 1.1 sack a game.
TURNOVER TALLIES: Though 5 games Azusa Pacific is a plus-4 in the turnover margin. The Cougars have 13 takeaways, and they have turned 9 of them into points. Of the 192 points the Cougars have scored this season, 66 have come off turnovers.
ON THIS DATE (Oct. 9): Sophomore QB John Tully put together the finest game of his career to date by rushing for 1 TD and throwing for another to lead Azusa Pacific to a 26-14 victory over St. Mary’s College in Moraga Park, Calif., Saturday, Oct. 9, 1971.
The Cougars had lost 2 of their first 3 games to start the season and were coming off a 39-8 pounding at the hands of San Francisco State the week before.
Tully, who had struggled against S.F. State and in fact was injured and had to come out for part of the game, was at full strength and at his best against the Gaels. He completed 8-of-18 passes for 137 yards which included a 23-yard TD strike to Don Aris late in the first quarter.
With St. Mary’s still lingering in the Cougars’ rearview mirror, Tully clinched the victory with a 25-yard TD run late in the game for the final margin of victory. He finished with 51 rushing yards on 4 carries. All totaled, Tully accounted for 188 of Azusa Pacific’s 362 yards of total offense.
Senior RB Paul Hontz rushed for 129 yards on 31 carries (4.5 avg.) and scored 1 TD, a 2-yard blast that gave Azusa Pacific a 13-7 lead at halftime.
After former Damien High standout Julio Lopez put the Gaels back up 14-13 with his second TD of the game early in the fourth quarter, Azusa Pacific came right back and to re-assume the lead at 19-14 on HB Lance Redman’s 2-yard run.
The victory over St. Mary’s propelled Azusa Pacific into a stretch in which the Cougars won 3 of 4 games and were a victory away from only the second winning season in program history. However, they lost their last 2 games, including a 41-31 verdict to San Diego in which the Toreros scored 4 TDs in a 10-minute stretch of the fourth quarter, to finish 4-5. Yet many felt that the 1971 team was the best yet in the brief history of Cougar football.
Tully went on to start 2 more MVP seasons at Azusa Pacific and graduated as the Cougars’ all-time leader in passing (4,436 yards), TD passes (32) and total offense (4,531), records all since broken. Now in his 16th season as the head coach of NCAA Division III Whitworth College in Spokane, Wash., Tully was inducted into the Azusa Pacific Sports Hall of Fame in 1991.
Hontz, who was an NAIA All-District 3 honoree, went on to again lead the Cougars in rushing for the season with 702 yards and finished his 2-year Cougar career as the program’s all-time leading rusher with 1,357 yards (now 12th on the Cougars’ career chart).
Today Hontz is in his 33rd year as the senior pastor of Central Wesleyan Church in Holland, Mich. In 1996 he was named Azusa Pacific’s Distinguished Alum of the Year.