CWU to face Azusa in rivalry game

Senior+Austin+Pernell+hangs+on+to+the+ball+as+he+tries+to+break+free+of+two+defenders+during+the+Oct.+21+game+vs.+UNA.
Senior Austin Pernell hangs on to the ball as he tries to break free of two defenders during the Oct. 21 game vs. UNA.

Senior Austin Pernell hangs on to the ball as he tries to break free of two defenders during the Oct. 21 game vs. UNA.

Xander Fu

Xander Fu

Senior Austin Pernell hangs on to the ball as he tries to break free of two defenders during the Oct. 21 game vs. UNA.

Anna Eyears, Staff Reporter

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Xander Fu
Senior Austin Pernell hangs on to the ball as he tries to break free of two defenders during the Oct. 21 game vs. UNA.

The CWU football team will face Azusa Pacific University on Oct. 28 for the second time this season. The Wildcats are heading into the week undefeated, with a current standing of 8-0 and 5-0 GNAC. They will be looking to claim their ninth win for the season.

CWU Quarterback and team captain, Reilly Hennessey, said the team was constantly working on improving themselves.

“We never want to plateau in the sense that we always want to be getting better at something,” Hennessey said. “Being undefeated feels good, but it doesn’t really feel like we’re undefeated. We’ve just been trying to take everything week by week and be as focused as we can. That’s how we can play better.”

In their last game against Azusa on Sept. 16, the Wildcats defeated the Cougars 17-16.

This close final score will set the tone for the game this Saturday. The team needs to be at their best throughout the entirety of the game.

“It took us until the last play of the game to beat them,” Hennessey said. “If we can play better from the beginning and not turn the ball over, then I think we’ll have a better chance at beating them.”

The Cougars feature a strong defensive unit that will prove a force to be reckoned with in Saturday’s game. Hennessey said Azusa played with a lot of athleticism in their last game against the team.

“They’re big, they’re fast and they play physically,” Hennessey said. “I can only speak to their defense, but they tend to always be in the right places. They force you to make decisions, otherwise they’ll make you pay for it.”

Azusa began 2017 ranked No. 13 in NCAA Division II in the preseason coaches poll and were picked as favorites for the GNAC championship.  

In 2016 Azusa achieved a perfect 8-0 in conference play and earned selection into the NCAA Division II playoffs for the first time in three years of active NCAA membership.  

This season, the Cougars have performed well against their opponents. On Sept. 30 Azusa played against Western Oregon University (WOU) and finished with a final score of 48-17. Comparably, the Wildcats played WOU on Oct. 14 and came away with a 42-0 victory.

In addition to this matchup, the teams have also both played Humboldt State University. The Cougars lost both of their games to Humboldt, 30-19 on Sept. 9 and 52-49 on Oct. 14, while the Wildcats beat Humboldt 55-27 on Oct. 7.

Saturday’s game will prove to be a close matchup, as two strong teams face up against each other. CWU’s eight-game winning streak is the longest of any college team in the Pacific Northwest, making the Wildcats a serious threat.

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CWU to face Azusa in rivalry game