The seats filled up quickly at Ted Runner Stadium on Saturday as students and alumni came to celebrate Rah Rah Redlands at the University of Redlands. A night full of festivities, great food and tailgating was capped off by an impressive win by the Bulldogs as they beat the George Fox Bruins 31-22.
About 3,000 people came through the opening gates for the game but were let down early when Bruins’ kicker Uriel Gonzalez chipped a 20-yard field goal to give George Fox the first three points of the game. The Bulldog offense was slow out of the gates as two of their first three drives were three-and-outs. However, Redlands was able to put a drive together towards the end of the first quarter. It only took them three plays to march 49 yards down the field and score the first touchdown of the night when redshirt junior Christian Guzman hauled in a 39-yard pass in the endzone to give the Bulldogs a 7-3 lead.
The Bulldogs took the momentum they gained at the end of the first quarter and came out strong in the second quarter. Within a few minutes, sophomore Conner Kennedy pushed his way into the endzone from a yard out bringing the Bulldogs up by 11 points. The Bruins countered with a drive of their own, going 59 yards before ultimately settling for another field goal to bring the score to 14-6.
The coaches of George Fox must have inspired their players because the Bruins came out strong after halftime. The Bruins got the ball at the beginning of the second half and went on a 90-yard drive that culminated with quarterback Grant Schroeder scoring a touchdown, bringing George Fox and Redlands within a point. They then blocked Redlands’ punt to give them prime positioning on the field, starting their drive from the Bulldogs’ 15-yard line. But the Bulldog defense did a tremendous job in limiting George Fox’s success, forcing them yet again to settle for a field goal. However, this one gave the Bruins the lead, bringing the score to 16-14.
The Bulldogs did not falter and put together a run-heavy 73-yard drive. With both teams lined up at George Fox’s three-yard line, the Bulldogs prevailed when junior running back Alex Andrighetto pushed his way into the endzone for the touchdown. After the extra point, the Bulldogs were up 21-16.
The Bruins responded with a swift and powerful counter-attack, scoring an 84-yard touchdown on the first play of the next drive. The Redlands defense had to get back to work immediately because George Fox tactically went for the two-point conversion to potentially get a lead over Redlands with a field goal.
Schroeder, who had already scored a rushing touchdown earlier in the game, tried to sneak past the Redlands defense one more time, but to no avail. A big stop denied the Bruins’ quest for two points.
The Bulldogs got the ball back down 22-21, with the momentum and the crowd on their side. Junior defensive back Danny Gonzales returned the subsequent kickoff to George Fox’s 15-yard line. The Bulldogs could not get into the endzone but freshman Alex Raya hit a 26-yarder, giving the Bulldogs a 24-22 point lead. The score held up as the third quarter ended.
The strong Bulldog defense, lifted from its two-point conversion stop, led the team in the fourth quarter. They were able to effectively shut down the Bruin offense, recovering a fumble and forcing them to punt twice in the quarter. The Bulldog offense was able to put together one last touchdown drive to gain insurance points, as junior quarterback Mitch Kidd gained 40 of his 72 passing yards of the night by throwing a touchdown pass to junior wide receiver Kyle Kabeary to make the score 31-22.
George Fox turned the ball over in its final possession, handing the Bulldogs’ offense the ball with a little over two and a half minutes to play. Redlands was able to run the clock out, finishing the game with the first win of the season.
The win puts Redlands at 1-1 before they take on the other teams of the SCIAC conference. The Bulldogs have a bye week to reflect on this game and focus on the next one on Oct. 1, when they take on Occidental College at Ted Runner Stadium.
[photo courtesy of Sky Ung, graduated photographer]