Football wins 20th straight home game

Dylan Brockmeyer | Assistant Sports Editor | The USD Vista

Redshirt freshman quarterback Anthony Lawrence scampers into the end zone against Marist. Ian Lituchy/The USD Vista

Redshirt freshman quarterback Anthony Lawrence scampers into the end zone against Marist. Ian Lituchy/The USD Vista

What’s sweeter than a big college homecoming win in front of thousands of fans? Defeating a team at their own homecoming game in front of thousands of their fans. Despite a slow start to their away game against the Valparaiso Crusaders on Sept. 26, the University of San Diego football team came alive in the second quarter and stayed strong to win their Pioneer Football League opener 38-6 in front of 3,183 Crusaders’ fans.

The Torero’s first half started roughly. Their first three possessions yielded a punt and back-to-back interceptions. However, the defense managed to stay strong allowing only a 38 yard field goal in the first quarter. Because they held on so strongly, the Torero offense was able to come alive midway through the second quarter.

For his second straight game, redshirt quarterback Anthony Lawrence led the offense with 4 touchdown passes and went 21-28 for 214 yards. When things were looking grim in the first half with 3:40 left to go, Lawrence found junior wide receiver Brian Riley for a 15 yard touchdown to give the Toreros their first lead of the game at 7-3. Lawrence kept the heat turned up as he threw a 29 yard touchdown pass into the hands of junior wide receiver Joseph Jakubowsky. The Riley-Lawrence duo lost no steam as the wide receiver caught a 24 yard touchdown with 4:24 left to go in the third quarter. Lawrence and the Toreros added two more touchdowns in the fourth quarter. Redshirt junior running back Jereke Armstrong punched it into the end zone from 20 yards out, and redshirt freshman offensive lineman Daniel Cooney hauled in a 9 yard touchdown for the first reception of his career.

The Torero defense put up a strong wall and only allowed 179 yards of offensive yardage. Sophomore defensive lineman Jonathan Peterson had five tackles, while redshirt junior linebacker Nic Henson and redshirt sophomore linebacker Max Michaels each made five stops of their own to keep the Crusaders at bay.

In an interview on the USD athletics website, Head Coach Dale Lindsey laid out what it takes to make a championship team.

“To win one on the road, that’s the big thing,” Lindsey said. “You’re expected to win at home, but you’ve got to win on the road if you want to be a championship team.”

After that win on the road, freshman cornerback Arrion Archie was satisfied with the team’s playing.

“Coming home after Valpo the team was satisfied with its performance,” Archie said. “We did what we planned to do and got the decisive win.”

The Toreros continued their big winning streak this past weekend against the Marist College Red Foxes. The play of the game was an exciting 30 yard interception return by redshirt senior cornerback Yogi Hale. The Toreros were trailing 20-13 to the Red Foxes with six minutes to go in the third quarter. At their own 28 yard line, the ball bounced off Marist’s receiver who was on the ground and right into the hands of Hale. He immediately turned and sprinted into the endzone to bring the score to 20-19, amping up his teammates to come through with a win.

The Toreros are now 3-1 overall and have a perfect record in the PFL at 2-0. Lawrence led the offense again in his third consecutive start as quarterback. He passed for 207 yards against Marist, going 22-35 with zero interceptions. Lawrence’s ability to overcome the 13 point deficit in the second half, coupled with Hale’s pick-six, turned the momentum of the game totally around.

Archie attributes the slow start to a slow defense, something the Toreros are going to keep working on in practice before they face off against Dayton Oct. 10.

“This weekend in the first half the defense did not play well,” Archie said. “This week corrections will focus on D. The whole game was played well by the offense and we got a good win. This upcoming week at Dayton the team is mostly anticipating Dayton’s running back, who ran for a good amount of yards last season and is a key piece in them winning games with 30+ carries a game.”

The Toreros defensive and offensive yardage fell slightly from their last big win. Our boys allowed Marist 360 total offensive yards to their 389 yards. USD also committed five penalties for a total of 60 yards.

The Toreros next face off against The University of Dayton Flyers on the road on Oct. 10 at 10 a.m.