STEVENS POINT - The 16th ranked UW-Stevens Point Pointers began their 2010 campaign with a quick 14-0 lead over Willamette University (Oregon) but could not hold off a comeback by the 18th ranked Bearcats as they dropped their season opener 33-14 at Community Stadium at Goerke Park Saturday afternoon.
UW-Stevens Point started the game strong and gained momentum right out of the gates as they forced Willamette to go three and out on their first possession.
The Pointers took over in Bearcats' territory after the punt and put together a nine play, 43-yard drive, capped off by a one-yard Garrett Medenwald touchdown run.
Willamette was once again forced to go three and out in their next possession and the Pointers were able to take over at their own 45-yard line with 7:06 remaining in the first quarter.
Casey Barnes started the drive with a 14-yard scamper to the 41 of Willamette and a 16-yard pitch and catch to Jared Jenkins landed the Pointers inside the red zone. Three plays later, Mike Mullins made a juggling catch across the middle and slid into the end zone giving Point a 14-0 advantage after the extra point.
The Bearcats bounced back however and put together a four play, 82-yard touchdown drive in just 1:22, cutting the Pointers lead to 14-6 after the extra point was blocked.
Willamette then forced the Pointers into a three and out and was put together a 12 play, 63-yard drive and a one-yard run by Jamiere Abney put the score at 14-13 Point.
The Bearcats' defense stepped up once again and their offense kept rolling as they scored two more times in the second quarter, leaving the score at 27-14 in favor of Willamette at halftime.
Kieth Ingram looked to get the Pointers back on track, caring the ball 10 times for 48 yards to open the second half. Point advanced the ball all the way to the Bearcats' 14 yard-line; however the 12 play, 85-yard drive was stalled when Jared Fohrman missed a 30-yard field goal.
In the fourth quarter, the Bearcats forced a fumble as they had they Pointers pinned inside their own five-yard line. The Bearcats took advantage as they scored on the next play with a four-yard touchdown run by Chad Pollard to increase the lead to 33-14 after they failed to convert on the extra point once again.
UW-Stevens Point failed to put any more points on the board the rest of the way resulting in a 33-14 final.
Jenkins led the Pointers offense with 11 catches for 96 yards and Ingram was the leading rusher with 68 yards on 16 carries. Barnes finished the game 13-of-21 passing with one touchdown and two interceptions.
Brandon Stremkowski recorded nine tackles to lead Point and Joe Mleziva helping out with eight.
Matt Williams led Willamette with 68 yards on two carries and Pollard and Malley each carried the ball 10 times for 54 and 51 yards respectfully. Brian Widing completed 6-of-9 passes for 67 yards and one touchdown.
Ralph Pineda was credited with 11 tackles and also added an interception.
Willamette dominated the game on the ground, out rushing Stevens Point 277 to 155. They also pressured the Pointers into four turnovers without committing one.
UW-Stevens Point (0-1) will return to action on Saturday, September 18th as they will face Missouri S&T in the annual Spud Bowl. Game time is set for 1 p.m. at Community Stadium at Goerke Field.
Courtesy: UWSP Sports Information