September 02, 2001 11:00 pm

By Pat Perkins

Observer Staff Writer

The Eastern Oregon football coaches will evaluate film from Saturdays 21-14 loss to Willamette and see a lot of correctable mistakes.

Eleven penalties for 96 yards brought back several gains.

Dropped passes shortened drives.

And two of three turnovers led to Willamette touchdowns.

Well be there. We were three mistakes away from winning, first-year quarterback Mark Hanrahan said. I learned a lot today.

Hanrahan made his share of mistakes Eastern had three delay of game penalties in the first half, although coach Rob Cushman didnt seem too worried about those at the time. But the junior ran the triple option offense well, gaining a game-high 146 yards on the ground.

Hanrahan was super, Cushman said. He made some mistakes, but he rushed for 146 yards. I liked us on offense, but we just shot ourselves in the foot.

The defense limited Willamette to 238 yards, had two interceptions, recovered two fumbles and had nine tackles for losses.

I cant say enough about our defense. We responded really well to tough situations, Cushman said. Everybody did their job.

The biggest defensive play was Ollie Vans 26-yard fumble return for a touchdown with 4:46 to go. That cut Willamettes lead to 21-14, but when Eastern got the ball again, it had to start at its own 7-yard line with 1:33 left. Four plays later, Carmelo Flores intercepted Hanrahan.

Hanrahan directed a 65-yard drive in the fourth quarter that ended with sophomore Matt Hamlins 4-yard touchdown run.

He also led two drives of 50 and 55 yards in the first half, but both ended on failed fourth-down attempts. The first drive started with a 12-yard run by junior Kris Davidson and an 18-yarder by Hanrahan. Two delay of game penalties and a false start miscue helped stall the drive at Willamettes 36.

The second long drive included a fourth-down conversion run by sophomore Matt Hamlin, but a dropped pass and a sack stopped Eastern at Willamettes 18.

Easterns first big break came in the second quarter when Leon McDaniels intercepted a Bucky Rivera and returned it 4 yards to Willamettes 42-yard line. Hanrahan fumbled two plays later, and that set up a Willamette touchdown drive. Greg Reed had the 1-yard run for the Bearcats 7-0 lead.

Another fumble by Hanrahan in the third quarter, at Easterns 29-yard line, set up Willamette for its next score. Rivera tossed a 29-yard pass to Brett Meyer for a touchdown, but Sven Wilson blocked the extra-point kick.

Willamette went up 21-0 after Phil Nybys punt was blocked and recovered at Easterns 19. Rivera had two runs that put his team into the end zone, and he tossed the two-point conversion to Meyer for a 21-0 lead.

Justin Peterson led Willamette with 72 yards rushing. Davidson had 77 yards for Eastern, which averaged 4.9 yards per run.

Hanrahan was 5-for-18 from the air for 60 yards.

Defensively, senior Cam Christensen was the player of the game. He had two tackles for losses, including a quarterback sack, plus a fumble recovery and an interception.

Our defense stepped up and did well, Christensen said. Theres definitely room for improvement. Well just keep working on it next week.

Willamette 0 7 14 0 21

Eastern Oregon 0 0 0 14 14

Second quarter

W Greg Reed 1 run (Kyle Hughes kick), 7:37

Third quarter

W Brett Meyer 29 pass from Bucky Rivera (kick blocked), 12:47

W Rivera 8 run (Meyer pass from Rivera), 5:15

Fourth quarter

EO Matt Hamlin 4 run (kick failed), 5:02

EO Ollie Van 26 fumble return (Phil Nyby pass from Mark Hanrahan), 4:46

A 1,200


First downs 13 17

Rushes-yards 50-192 59-287

Passing yards 46 60

Comp-att-int 3-8-2 5-18-1

Punts 6-40.3 5-22.0

Fumbles-lost 2-2 2-2

Punt returns-yards 2-4 2-15

Kickoff returns-yards 3-44 3-75

Penalties-yards 5-40 11-96

Third-down conversions 3 of 12 2 of 13

Fourth-down conversions 1 of 1 1 of 5

Sacks byyards lost 2-12 2-17

Time of possession 29:22 30:38

Individual statistics

RUSHING Willamette, Peterson 8-72, Ecklund 7-35, Rivera 11-33, Hughes 3-19, Reed 8-17, Matthews 7-14, Foreman 1-2, Van Ronzelen 1-1, Wilmot 1-(minus 1). Eastern Oregon, Hanrahan 30-146, Davidson 15-77, Hamlin 8-41, Geske 3-17, Pritchett 2-6, Naeole 1-0.

PASSING Willamette, Rivera 3-8-2-46. Eastern Oregon, Hanrahan 5-18-1-60.

RECEIVING Willamette, Meyer 2-44, Matthews 1-2. Eastern Oregon, Nyby 2-15, Hamlin 1-18, Geske 1-16, Galpin 1-11.

TACKLES FOR LOSSES Willamette, Benjamin 1-10, Flores 1-9, Shanks 1-3, Gonzales 1-1, Matlock 1-0. Eastern Oregon, Christensen 2-9, Storm 2-5, Rice 1-6, Liepold 1-4, Ekart 1-4, Van 1-3, Young 1-2.

INTERCEPTIONS Willamette, Flores 1-10. Eastern Oregon, McDaniels 1-4, Christensen 1-0.

MISSED FIELD GOALS Willamette, Marriage 42.