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Big Plays Doom Cougars

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September 6, 2008
Gary Pine
SAN DIEGO, Calif. – Junior Seb Trujillo threw for 364 yards and 4 touchdowns, 3 of which went to John Matthews, to lead the University of San Diego to a 38-10 nonconference victory over Azusa Pacific before a partisan Torero crowd of 3,261 Saturday night.

The victory is USD’s fourth straight over Azusa Pacific and it runs the Torero’s home field winning streak to an NCAA Division I-leading 26 straight. San Diego hasn’t lost at home since Sept. 25, 2004.

On the strength of Trujillo’s arm, USD broke open a tight game midway through the second quarter, scoring 28 consecutive points to run out to a 38-7 advantage following a 52-yard touchdown strike from Trujillo to Matthews. It was Trujillo’s seventh completion of 24-or-more yards on the night. In fact, Trujillo, who finished the night 20-for-35 passing, accumulated 277 yards on those 7 completions and just 84 yards on his other 13 hook-ups.

USD assumed a 10-0 lead after the first quarter, but under the direction of sophomore Rodney Trimm, who was making his first-ever start as the Cougar quarterback, Azusa Pacific motored 70 yards on 10 plays, highlighted by a third-down, 6-yard TD toss from Trim to Michael Van Gorden with 8:44 left in the first half. On the drive, Trimm completed 3 passes of 6, 10, and 12 yards to senior WR James Burke, who enjoyed a career night, finishing with personal single-games bests of 8 catches for 69 yards.

The Toreros, though, answered with 2 more TDs before the break to take a 24-7 lead into the locker room at halftime. Trujillo connected with Matthews for the first of their 3 TDs on a 4-yard lob into the end zone, capping a 6-play, 74-yard drive that also included a 50-yard Trujillo-to-Matthews bomb to set up the score.

After the Cougars failed to convert a fourth-and-1 at their own 42-yard line with 3 minutes left in the half, USD needed just 2 plays to tack on an additional 7 points when Trujillo found Matthews again for a 33-yard score.

Late in the third quarter, following a Corey Lenahan punt, USD needed just 3 plays to jettison 80 yards for yet another TD, this time registered on Nick Coppedge’s 3-yard blast that put USD up 31-7 heading into the fourth quarter. On the 2 previous plays, Trujillo connected on a 43-yard strike to Matthews and then a 34-yard pass to Mitch Ryan to put the Toreros on the doorstep of the Cougar end zone.

Trujillo’s final pass of the night came with 13:14 left in the game. On the first play following another Lenahan punt, Trujillo went back to Matthews for the 52-yard TD pass to complete USD’s offensive onslaught.

The Cougars’ managed 3 more points on Ben Hansen’s 38-yard field goal with 7:34 left in the game. It was Hansen’s 12th consecutive made field goal, tying Mike Betencourth’s school-record set in 2005.

Azusa Pacific collected just as many first downs as the Toreros, both had 18, and the Cougars had the ball for nearly 4 minutes more than USD. Yet, the Cougars could not overcome San Diego’s big-play strikes that helped produce 459 yards worth of Torero offense.

Individually for Azusa Pacific, Trimm, who opened the game by completing 9 of his first 11 passes, finished 20-of-42 passing for 163 yards. He was picked off twice but neither pick led to a USD score. The Cougar ground game managed 95 yards, 46 of which came off 15 Chris Brown carries. Trimm added another 29 yards on 6 carries. Van Gorden, who collected his first collegiate TD, finished with 5 catches for 40 yards, while All-American Jon Davis was held to a relatively quiet night, finishing with 4 grabs for 40 yards while having his 5-game streak of catching at least 1 TD pass come to an end.

With the loss the Cougars fall to 0-2 while USD improves to 2-0. Azusa Pacific continues on the road next week at West Texas A&M, which is currently ranked No. 8 in NCAA Division II and is 2-0 on the season after a 49-18 dismantling of Central Oklahoma today.