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Jacob O'Connell had his fourth big INT return of the year (photo by Joyce Andersen)
Jacob O'Connell had his fourth big INT return of the year (photo by Joyce Andersen)

CMS Football Ties Program Record With Eighth Win, Closes Season With 21-6 Win at Redlands

REDLANDS, Calif. - The Claremont-Mudd-Scripps football team used three big plays, one on offense, one on defense and one on special teams, to score three touchdowns to capture a 21-6 win over Redlands in its season finale on Saturday afternoon, taking third place in the SCIAC in the league's new divisional format.

CMS finishes at 8-2, and matches the program record for wins in a season, first established by the 1970 team and then matched in 1986. The Stags finished 6-2 in league play and shared the Sun Division title with Chapman, although the Panthers advanced to the championship game due to the tiebreaker, leaving CMS and Redlands to play for third place. 

The Stags got the upper hand early with their big special teams play, as George Kruger blocked a punt that resulted in a CMS touchdown with 8:11 left in the first quarter. After CMS earned a stop, Walter Kuhlenkamp then connected with Bryce DesJardins on a 71-yard touchdown pass just 2:38 later to quickly make it 14-0. 

The Stag defense took it from there, not allowing Redlands into the end zone all afternoon, while allowing the Bulldogs just 192 yards of total offense. CMS held the 14-0 lead into halftime, before Redlands managed two third-quarter field goals to close to within 14-6.

Redlands was threatening again when Jacob O'Connell made the big defensive play of the day, intercepting a ball on the CMS 16-yard line and returning it 72 yards to the Bulldog 12. Kuhlenkamp found Quintin Craig for a nine-yard completion, and two plays later, Justin Edwards plunged in from a yard out to make it 21-6. 

It was the fourth big interception return for O'Connell this season, who had pick-sixes in back to back weeks against Cal Lutheran (46 yards) and Pomona-Pitzer (79 yards), and then set up touchdowns with big returns in both meetings with Redlands, a 38-yarder in the first meeting and a 72-yarder this afternoon. 

Edwards finished the game with 79 yards on 25 carries, giving him 850 yards and 14 rushing touchdowns on the season, extending his program record to 43 with one season still to go. Kuhlenkamp was 16-25 passing for 223 yards, while DesJardins finished with five catches for 116 yards in his final collegiate game. 

Gabe Gangi-Saroukhanioff had nine tackles to lead the CMS defense, while Kirby Baynes had seven and Jack Holden had six. Michael Houk also chipped in with a pair of sacks, while Kobey Jorgensen had one.