Senior running back Payton Bell rushed for a career-high 189 yards and scored three touchdowns as the Menlo College football team opened its season with a 42-25 victory over host Occidental on Saturday night.
Bell, who led the Oaks in rushing with 364 yards last year, scored three times overall in 2009.
Menlo is well on its way to building on last year's taste of success. The Oaks averaged 13.9 points in finishing 4-6. The Oaks won their opener for the first time in four years.
Menlo hosts Chapman in its home opener next Saturday at noon.
Sophomore quarterback Cruz Castillo, who split time with Nick Ruhl last year, threw for 162 yards on 13-of-26 passing, including a pair of scoring tosses of 13 yards to sophomore receiver Kenny Cavness and 32 yards to junior receiver Dimitri Vigil.
Junior Boo Molinary returned an interception 40 yards for a touchdown during a 28-point fourth quarter that turned a tight game into a scoring spectacular.
Cavness, Menlo's top receiver last year with 43 receptions, caught three passes for 26 yards. Freshman tight end Devin Young had four receptions for 52 yards.
Cavness also handled a pair of punt returns and four kickoff returns. He recorded one kickoff return of 53 yards.
Freshman Kevin Kurtz was kept busy. He was 6-of-6 on PATs, kicked off seven times and punted six times.
Molinary also had six tackles and was credited with half a sack. Junior Chris Tosello had seven tackles and 1 1/2 sacks. Junior defensive back Steven Lopes and senior linebacker Shawn Winters shared the team with Tosello, each with seven tackles. Palo Alto grad Brandon Boyd was credited with a quarterback hurry.
Gunn High grad Mark Reid, a freshman running back, saw limited action for Occidental.
The Tigers took a 17-14 lead into the fourth quarter but it didn't take long before Bell's 3-yard run capped a 67-yard, 8-play drive that put the Oaks ahead to stay less than a minute into the final frame.
The Oaks scored three touchdowns in the final 6:27 of play to secure the victory.
Menlo lost twice Saturday, the opening day of the Whitman College Tournament.
The Oaks (0-4) dropped a match to Pacific Lutheran, 25-21, 25-22, 25-18, and then lost to Whitman, 25-18, 25-23, 22-25, 25-16.
Against the Lutes, setter Jessica Atthowe recorded 20 assists and 10 digs while Shelby Goldman added 18 digs.
Against the Missionary, Stephanie Monderine had 17 kills and nine digs. Menlo also got 19 digs from Goldman and 43 assists from Atthowe.
The Oaks play Puget Sound twice on Sunday, once in a preliminary match and again for third place.
Menlo dropped a 4-0 decision to visiting Hope International on Saturday.
The Oaks (0-1-1) are at San Francisco State on Monday.