Sept. 3, 2011
Glendora, CA - The USD Toreros came away with a thrilling 42-40 victory over the Azusa Pacific Cougars in both teams season opener. Sophomore quarterback Mason Mills completed 27-42 passes for 402 yards and 4 touchdowns to lead the Toreros to victory in a great college football game that see-sawed back and forth throughout the evening. Down 19-15 heading into the final period, the Toreros exploded for 27 points in the final 15 minutes and escaped the always tough Cougars by two points.
The 4th period began with Mills connecting with running back Kenny James for a 59-yard completion that put USD up 21-19. Azusa answered immediately with a 74-yard TD run by Johnell Murphy from their first play of their series. It was Mills again who connected with RB Sam Hoekstra for a 6-yard pass in the endzone on a key 4th and goal to put the Toreros up 28-27.
Mario Kurn made the defensive play of the game soon after as he intercepted a John van den Raadt pass and returned it for a 15 yard touchdown and 35-27 cushion with 7:14 left. The APU quarterback redeemed himself four minutes later when he connected with Matt Davis for a 49-yard score to pull within two at 35-33. Mills tossed his final TD of the night to TE Kyle Lokanc with 2:14 to go to seal the victory. Facing a 3rd and 3 from the Azusa 35-yard line, Mills used a play action roll out to the left and found a wide open Lokanc in the flat who ran untouched into the endzone. Azusa managed one more score with 22 ticks left for the final 42-40 score, but their onside kick attempt was swallowed up by Sam Hoekstra.
For the game USD finished with 489 yards of offense to Azusa's 445. Hoekstra finished with 11 receptions for 106 yards and 1 TD. His 11 receptions is the 2nd most for a single game in Torero history. First year kicker Ernie Collins was a perfect 3-for-3 in field goals (25, 26, 39) and added 3 more PAT kicks for 12 points. Defensively Loka Kanongataa led the Toreros with 11 tackles, followed by LB Zach Dunaj with 10.
The Toreros jumped out to a 12-0 lead in the game as Collins connected from 25 yards out with 10:49 left in the first quarter, and Mills connected with WR John McGough
for 59 yards. APU was paced by John van den Raadt (165 rushing yards with 2 scores; 128 passing yards with 2 TDs) and RB Johnell Murphy (135 yards rushing).
USD returns home to host Western New Mexico on Saturday, Sept. 10th at 6 pm.