PUYALLUP - Pacific Lutheran made lots of big plays on both sides of the football Saturday on the way to a convincing 35-21 non-conference football victory over the No. 15-ranked Cal Lutheran Kingsmen at Sparks Stadium.
One year after getting drubbed by the Kingsmen, 49-7, the Lutes took control early and never let up in winning their second game in a row to start the season. For Cal Lutheran, the loss came one week after a 47-42 upset of then No.4-ranked Linfield.
Pacific Lutheran used a balanced offense attack to rack up 489 yards of total offense. Senior running back Alec Simmons surpassed his PLU career rushing total in one game, piling up 225 yards on just 18 carries. His 67-yard touchdown run, in which he bounced off of a couple of would-be tacklers, came less than a minute in the second half. It took away any momentum the Kingsmen may have had after they cut their deficit to 14-7 on the first play of the second half, a 72-yard touchdown run by Daniel Mosier.
The PLU defense, which gave up more than 45 pounds per man on the line, used quickness and aggressiveness to wreak some havoc against Cal Lutheran. The Lutes shut out the Kingsmen in the first half and finished the game with five takeaways. Cornerback Trevor Fox recording his second consecutive two-interception game and also forced a fumble, one of two recovered by the Lutes in the game. Mike Wickens had an interception and Cameron McMillan and Erik Magnussen both had fumble recoveries.
PLU scored on its opening drive, going 88 yards on nine plays with Kyle Whitford sweeping right on a 1-yard scoring run. Wide receiver Greg Ford caught three passes on the drive, all for first downs, including taking the ball away from two defenders on a 48-yard reception to open the game.
The Lutes made it 14-0 in the second half, capping an 11-play, 80-yard drive on Jordan Rasmussen's 3-yard pass to Blake Gorle, who hung onto the ball in a crowd. The scoring play came on a fourth-and-goal situation. At the half, the Lutes had out-gained the visitors, 261-109 in total yards.
Cal Lutheran got untracked on the opening play of the second half when Mosier, who rushed for 202 yards and three touchdowns against Linfield, bulled through some arm tackles on his way to a 72-yard score. No sooner had the crowd settled back down then Simmons, on PLU's first play from scrimmage, went around the left on the way to his 67-yard score.
The Kingsmen made it 21-14 on their next possession, driving 57 yards on nine plays to score on Jake Laudenslayer's 1-yard quarterback sneak.
The next score came on a fake field goal by the Lutes, and was the result of a lucky bounce. The fake didn't fool the Kingsmen, who forced holder Tyler Bowen to put up a hopeful pass to Jordan Davison at the goal line. J.D. Austin and Broc Galbreth collided with Davison, knocking the ball away, and it floated into the arms of PLU running back Brandon James, who grabbed it on the 2-yard line and then stepped into the end zone, culminating the 14-yard scoring play.
On Cal Lutheran's next play from scrimmage, Wickens intercepted Laudenslayer's pass and returned it to the CLU 32-yard line. One play later, Rasmussen lofted a pass into the right corner where Ford leaped high to make the catch for the touchdown, their third scoring connection in two games.
The Kingsmen scored the game's final points on Lee Mondol's 8-yard pass to Eric Rogers with 2:56 left.
In compiling 225 rushing yards, Simmons became the first PLU running back to gain more than 200 yards in a game since Aaron Binger gained 212 yards on 31 carries against Whitworth on Nov. 17, 2001.
Rasmussen completed 13-of-27 passes for 189 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions, and Ford led the receivers with five catches for 116 yards. Dalton Darmody led the Lutes with eight tackles and Mychael Tuiasosopo had a pair of sacks.
Cal Lutheran finished with 380 total yards, 153 on the ground and 188 through the air. Mosier gained 118 rushing yards before leaving the game in the third quarter with an apparent foot injury. Laudenslayer threw for 171 yards but was intercepted three times and Rogers had eight catches for 91 yards. Patrick Knox led the Kingsmen with nine tackles.
PLU takes next Saturday off and opens Northwest Conference play at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 2, when it faces Puget Sound at Baker Stadium.
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