Occidental Swings Momentum, Wins Battle For Drum

Occidental Swings Momentum, Wins Battle For Drum

Los Angeles, Calif. - The Occidental Football team returned a fumble for a touchdown in the final minute of the first half to take a 20-17 lead and used that momentum to go on to a 41-17 win over Pomona-Pitzer on Saturday evening. 

The loss spoiled another huge day for freshman running back Aseal Birir (pictured), who carried 28 times for 217 yards on the day, becoming only the second running back in school history to run for 200 yards in a game twice (after also running for 208 at Cal Lutheran), joining all-time record holder Luke Sweeney, who rushed for 220 yards against Occidental as a sophomore and a school-record 265 as a junior. 

With the loss, Pomona-Pitzer falls to 1-6 on the season and 1-4 in the SCIAC. Occidental improves to 5-2 overall and 4-1 in the SCIAC with the win.

The Sagehens led 17-14 in the final minute of the half after a Kevin Masini field goal broke a 14-14 tie with 3:05 left. However, with just 22 seconds until the break, Shay Mueller scooped up a fumble and ran it in 27 yards for a score to give Occidental a 20-17 lead at the half after the extra point was missed. 

The Tigers then had the ball to start the second half, and Bryan Scott threw a 59-yard touchdown pass to Kaleb Mitchell to quickly push the lead up to 27-17. Scott threw two more touchdown tosses, both to Devin Bullock (three touchdowns on the day), in the third quarter to help Occidental pull away. 

The Sagehens struck first as a 51-yard run from Birir brought the ball down to the Occidental 15-yard line on the opening drive. On second-and-goal, sophomore quarterback Alex Bresler snuck in to give Pomona-Pitzer a 7-0 lead. Occidental scored the next two touchdowns to take a 14-7 lead into the second quarter, but Birir tied it with a one-yard run, completing a 52-yard drive in which he ran for 43 yards. 

Scott finished 20-25 for 296 yards and four touchdowns for Occidental, while Kwame Do ran for 131 yards and a touchdown on 25 carries. Freshman linebacker Evan Lloyd had nine tackles to lead the defense, while senior safety Don Swan had eight. Senior defensive end Brian Friel added a sack, giving him 4.5 on the year. 

Pomona-Pitzer returns to action on Saturday for a 1 p.m. road contest at La Verne.