With tailback Cassidy O'Sullivan leading the way, Cal Lutheran swept past Whittier College on Saturday. Literally.
When CLU found the middle of the Whittier defense impenetrable, O'Sullivan stepped outside to gain 168 yards in 26 carries, pacing the Kingsmen to a 28-9 victory at CLU.
"The sweep was the only running play we were able to run with consistency," CLU Coach Joe Harper said. But that one play proved to be enough as O'Sullivan scored three touchdowns and the Kingsmen won their third consecutive game, the first such streak for CLU (4-5) since 1984.
"The win was extremely meaningful for the team and for the program," Harper said.
Whittier (2-6) scored first on a 42-yard field goal from Berto Cerasi late in the first quarter. But it was all CLU thereafter.
O'Sullivan, who moved into fourth place on CLU's single-season rushing list with 854 yards and into eighth on the career list with 1,168, got the Kingsmen started with a darting 16-yard run. The play started as a sweep to the left, but O'Sullivan dodged back inside before turning upfield and plowing ahead to the Whittier eight-yard line. Adam Hacker took over from there, throwing a scoring pass to Len Bradley to give CLU a 6-3 lead with 29 seconds left in the first quarter.
Cal Lutheran added two more scores in the first half, both on runs by O'Sullivan. With seven minutes remaining, O'Sullivan bolted 18 yards for a touchdown.
Hacker, who finished nine of 22 for 93 yards, then hit Tom Leogrande for a two-point conversion to make it 14-3 Cal Lutheran.
Then, 54 seconds before intermission, O'Sullivan rambled 31 yards into the end zone. After the point-after kick, CLU led 21-3.
O'Sullivan's final score, on a one-yard run, came early in the fourth period after an interception by Mike Sylvester.
Whittier was led offensively by freshman quarterback Kevin Jamero, who was 12 of 26 for 150 yards. But Jamero also threw two interceptions and was sacked four times.
Nonetheless, he made an impression on the CLU defense.
"He surprised the heck out of me," linebacker Sal Jimenez said.
The Poets didn't find the end zone until just 30 seconds remained, when Dan Kilgras scored on a three-yard run. Kilgras, a tailback, led Whittier runners with 47 yards in 17 carries.