SAN MATEO — Stopping opposing teams' rushing attacks has become a major problem for the Modesto Junior College Pirates.
College of San Mateo continued the trend by punishing the Pirates for 399 yards on the ground en route to a 49-32 win in non-league action Saturday afternoon.
Modesto (2-2) has allowed five running backs to gain more than 100 yards during the last three games. Two Bulldogs D.J. Peluso (16 carries, 124 yards, 3 touchdowns) and quarterback Casey Wichman (15 carries, 120 yards, TD) took turns gashing the MJC defense.
"It's part of the hardening process," MJC coach Sam Young said after the Pirates' second straight loss. "All those yards are to be expected against one of the best rushing attacks in the state."
Modesto led 10-7 during the first quarter but early opportunities produced only field goals by Adam Maisch. San Mateo (4-0), ranked ninth in California, took charge with three straight second-quarter touchdowns.
MJC quarterback TeeJay Gordon, the state leader in completion percentage (64.9 percent) going into the game, completed 25 of 40 passes for 271 yards and a touchdown and also rushed for 64 yards and two TDs.
Running back James Sams (11 carries, 54 yards), whose workload increased after an early-game shoulder injury to Anthony Cota, cut the San Mateo lead to 42-32 with his 6-yard run during the third quarter. The 2-point try, which would have pulled Modesto to within a possession, failed.
The Pirates went 3-and-out on their next possession, and San Mateo responded with a scoring march that all but decided the game. Modesto was held at the CSM 2 in the final minutes.
"The game went back and forth, but we never made that one stop at the right time," Young said. "We took one on the chin, but it might help us down the road as we get closer to league."
Wichman, a Tracy High product, orchestrated a CSM offense which built a nearly 6-minute advantage in possession time.
San Mateo defensive lineman Pio Vatuvei, a Patterson High graduate, accounted for six tackles and a sack.
Chris Souza led all Modesto receivers with eight catches for 86 yards, and tight end Jake McCreath had five receptions for 82 yards. Lineman Tyler Juncker paced the Modesto defense with nine tackles.
The Pirates return home next Saturday night against Butte.