STOCKTON – Nationally top-ranked College of San Mateo's two week reign atop the USA's 136 JC/CC football, teams came to a screeching halt Saturday afternoon in Stockton as the Bulldogs self-destructed, 43-30, against a solid San Joaquin Delta team.
The host Mustangs (2-2) scored two quick touchdowns in the first five minutes, off an interception and a fumble recovery, and added a field goal for a 16-0 lead before the CSM offense finally got into gear. Despite some big plays, three more fumbles (the last turnover with 2:22remaining) and key penalties doomed San Mateo (now 3-1) -- which has been ranked No. 1 in the USA by Seattle-based jcfootball.com's JC Grid-Wire poll since mid-September. In the JC Athletic Bureau poll of California coaches, CSM is ranked No. 2 -- behind Riverside (which was idle this week).
The Bulldogs kept bouncing back. But they could not overcome the initial margin and an injury to their top running back – with big plays on both sides making a difference.
Down 33-24 in the third quarter, the Bulldogs moved 35 yards to the Mustangs' 45 before deciding to punt instead of risking giving up possession near midfield. They ended up paying dearly. Daniel Ruffin returned the kick 82 yards for a touchdown and a 40-24 advantage, equal to the largest of the game, with 51 seconds left in the third quarter.
CSM did, however, respond immediately. Ramiah Marshall returned the kickoff 98 yards -- and the Bulldogs were still in the game at 40-30. But they were unable to score again and could only make two first downs in the final period. The lone score in the last period was a 22-yard field goal by Delta's Joel Chavez, his third of the game. That was set-up by a 70-yard run from scrimmage by Evan Owens, who had 188 yards on 24 carries and scored three times. Delta quarterback Arnold Kimble completed 17 of 27 passes for 199 yards and a touchdown and also rushed for 59 yards – more than any of the Bulldogs.
San Mateo's usually potent rushing attack netted only 158 yards, led by Isiah Williams (54) and Michael Allen (46). Season rushing leader Joey Wood left the game with an injury in the first half, after gaining 37 yards on seven carries. Bulldogs quarterback Dru Brown completed 10 of 25 passes for 178 yards.
BAY 6 GOES 0-6: It may have been the worst weekend in the short two-year tenure of the Bay 6 league. Every team lost! Unbeaten City College of San Francisco fell to American River, 20-17; Diablo Valley lost in three overtimes to College of the Siskiyous, 48-43; Laney downed Santa Rosa, 31-20; Sequoias beat De Anza, 28-6; and Sierra topped Foothill, 47-13.
NEXT: CSM (3-1) winds-up non-league play Saturday (Oct. 3) hosting American River (3-1) at 1 p.m.