/seasons/2012/contrib/201209298j7764

Shaffer, Wildcats spoil Lutes' upset bid

More news about: Linfield

PUYALLUP, Wash. – Freshman John Shaffer ran 32 yards for the winning touchdown with 7:03 remaining and Colin Forman snatched a game-sealing interception with under two minutes to play, lifting third-ranked Linfield to a come-from-behind 31-24 victory over Northwest Conference rival Pacific Lutheran Saturday at jam-packed Sparks Stadium.

Linfield (4-0, 1-0 NWC) twice overcame two-touchdown deficits in the first half and outscored PLU 10-3 in the second half, taking its first critical step toward a fourth-straight NWC titles.

Pacific Lutheran (1-2, 0-1 NWC), once considered Linfield's fiercest Northwest rival, lost to the Wildcats for the 11th consecutive time but had their best shot in recent seasons at knocking off the perennial champions.

Shaffer, a redshirt freshman from Aloha, Ore., wove his way through the PLU defense for 83 yards while backfield mate Stephen Nasca picked up 67 more. The two tailbacks collectively filled the void created by the loss all-star Josh Hill, sidelined for the remainder of the season with an injury. Hill had been the Wildcats' workhorse back, running for at least 100 yards in each of the team's first three games.

The Linfield defense, playing without injured all-star Tyler Steele, weathered an early storm to finish with a season-high seven sacks, including two from end Michael MacClanathan. Counting lost yards for sacks, the 'Cats held the Lutes to 19 net yards rushing. Forman totaled a team-high six tackles and his interception of a Dalton Ritchey pass at midfield touched off a wild celebration on the Wildcats sideline.

Taking full advantage of its opportunities, PLU twice opened up 14-point leads in the first half only to watch Linfield rally for a 21-all tie by intermission. PLU stuck quickly to open the contest, needing just four plays to reach the end zone, as Kellen Westering took a Ritchey pass, slipped a tackle on the sideline then raced 71 yards for a touchdown with the game less than three minutes old.

Linfield looked shaky at best on its opening drive, as quarterback Mickey Inns was nearly intercepted on first down and then picked off by Greg Hibbard on third down, who returned the ball 28 yards to the Linfield 17-yard line. Dalton hooked up with Kyle Warner four plays later for a 6-yard scoring strike and the Lutes led 14-0 following Nick Kaylor's extra point.

Linfield's next drive produced just 11 yards but a 50-yard punt by Josh Repp pinned the Lutes at their own 14. A bad exchange caused Ritchey to fumble and end KeAlii Poomaihealani recovered at the PLU 6. Inns then guided the Wildcats into the end zone, passing 3 yards to tight end Westly Meng with 4:01 left in the opening quarter.

PLU pushed its lead back to 14 points, scoring on a 32-yard catch-and-run by Westering. Linfield answered back, marching 67 yards in 12 plays to paydirt. Inns spotted Zach Young at the PLU 5, and Young took the ball the rest of the way to close the gap to 21-14.

Inns threw for his third touchdown of the half three minutes later, hitting Aaron Hire at the goal line to knot the game at 21.

The Lutes went three-and-out on their next drive and the Wildcats took over at their own 42. Linfield appeared to take the lead when Josh Kay split the uprights from 42 yards out, but Linfield was whistled for an illegal kicking penalty. Kay's subsequent attempt from 47 yards was wide right and the game remained deadlocked.

Linfield took its first lead of the game on the opening drive of the third quarter, highlighted by a 22-yard bomb to Lucas Jepson down the right sideline. Inns moved the 'Cats to the PLU 28 where Kay hit a 45-yard field goal.

PLU matched Linfield's points early in the fourth quarter as Kaylor booted a 37-yarder to knot the score at 24. The Wildcats responded with two key rushes by Nasca that moved the ball into PLU territory, setting up Shaffer's winding 32-yard run that took most of the air out of the Lutes' sails.

Needing a touchdown to tie, PLU continued to apply pressure to the Linfield defense, moving to the Linfield 49 but the Lutes failed to convert a 4th-and-1 play with just over four minutes to go. Halfback Niko Madison was stuffed at the line for a 1-yard loss by Forman.

Inns finished 17-of-31 for 208 yards and three touchdowns, but the senior pivot was sacked three times and threw two interceptions.

Nine different Wildcats caught passes in the game, including four from David Sigler and three by Poppen.

Dalton passed for 296 yards in a losing cause, completing 18-of-33. Westering, son of PLU coach Scott Westering, caught five passes for 146 yards and two touchdowns.

Lutes linebacker Jordan Patterson piled up a game-high 11 tackles. Ben Kaestner had eight stops, including a sack.

'CAT SCRATCH: Saturday's estimated attendance was 3,500. . . Nasca, a senior from nearby Sammamish, made his first career start in place of Hill. . . the Wildcats extended their NWC winning streak to 21 games while spoiling the Lutes' Homecoming . . . Inns was 2-for-8 passing in the first quarter, including two interceptions. . . PLU won the turnover battle, 3-2, and had five fewer penalties. . . the Wildcats outgained the Lutes 341-315. . . with its 11th straight series win over PLU, Linfield leads the all-time ledger with 37 wins, 21 losses, and four ties.

AHEAD: Linfield enjoys its second open date on the schedule this coming Saturday before returning to action Oct. 13 at home against Whitworth. Kickoff for the annual Homecoming game is 1 p.m.

Oct. 13: All times Eastern
Final
Bridgewater State 24, at Mass-Dartmouth 22
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at UW-Whitewater 21, UW-La Crosse 14
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Oct. 14: All times Eastern
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Salve Regina 45, at Nichols 10
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Mount Ida 14, at Dean 7
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at Thomas More 59, Waynesburg 7
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at Maine Maritime 34, Coast Guard 16
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at Finlandia 27, Trinity Bible 21
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Hamilton 28, at Bowdoin 7
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at Delaware Valley 49, King's 14
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at Olivet 47, Albion 26
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at Wesleyan 41, Bates 23
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Union 27, at Rochester 0
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Amherst 40, at Colby 7
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at Western New England 41, Endicott 14
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at Brockport 48, Morrisville State 7
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at Plymouth State 16, Framingham State 13
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at RPI 27, Ithaca 14
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Hobart 49, at Hartwick 27
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at Ferrum 34, LaGrange 20
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at Carnegie Mellon 42, Geneva 27
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Ohio Wesleyan 16, at Wabash 13
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DePauw 26, at Denison 17
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at Trine 42, Kalamazoo 7
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at Washington and Lee 47, Guilford 26
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at Husson 49, Castleton 0
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Gallaudet 35, at Alfred State 19
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at Wittenberg 49, Allegheny 15
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Brevard 41, at Methodist 17
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at Lebanon Valley 31, Stevenson 24
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Buffalo State 24, at St. Lawrence 21
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at Cortland 20, Alfred 17
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at Randolph-Macon 52, Emory and Henry 29
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at Wesley 29, Kean 9
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at Hampden-Sydney 58, Apprentice 28
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Frostburg State 59, at William Paterson 7
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at N.C. Wesleyan 45, Greensboro 0
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at Westminster (Pa.) 49, Grove City 27
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Washington and Jefferson 49, at Bethany 14
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at Westminster (Mo.) 56, Crown 15
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at Northwestern (Minn.) 29, Iowa Wesleyan 7
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at Knox 56, Grinnell 14
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at Widener 31, Lycoming 17
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Trinity (Conn.) 23, at Tufts 16
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at Mount St. Joseph 66, Earlham 7
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Ohio Northern 27, at John Carroll 20
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Baldwin Wallace 23, at Muskingum 20
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at Mount Union 72, Capital 14
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Rose-Hulman 44, at Manchester 13
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at Hanover 31, Bluffton 28
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Defiance 45, at Anderson 0
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at Wartburg 42, Loras 11
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Hiram 62, at Kenyon 56
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Springfield 35, at Merchant Marine 13
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Williams 27, at Middlebury 26
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at Westfield State 33, Fitchburg State 21
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Marietta 43, at Wilmington 33
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at Berry 34, Hendrix 10
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Curry 40, at Becker 0
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TCNJ 20, at Rowan 14
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at SUNY-Maritime 51, Anna Maria 15
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Salisbury 28, at Montclair State 10
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at Huntingdon 28, Maryville (Tenn.) 16
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at Austin 33, Millsaps 19
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at Mary Hardin-Baylor 65, Howard Payne 0
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at Washington U. 55, Buena Vista 20
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Alma 27, at Aurora 19
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at Rockford 29, Concordia-Chicago 14
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Wisconsin Lutheran 22, at Concordia (Wis.) 19
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at Lakeland 57, Benedictine 21
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at St. Norbert 10, Chicago 0
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Concordia-Moorhead 45, at Hamline 0
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St. Olaf 22, at Augsburg 20
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Bethel 24, at Gustavus Adolphus 3
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St. John's 35, at Carleton 0
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at Eureka 30, Greenville 19
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Centre 27, at Trinity (Texas) 21
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Dubuque 42, at Nebraska Wesleyan 27
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Central 30, at Coe 19
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Lake Forest 56, at Cornell 28
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at Carthage 31, Elmhurst 8
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at Illinois Wesleyan 30, Carroll 0
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Millikin 28, at Augustana 27
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Ripon 52, at Beloit 28
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MacMurray 49, at Minnesota-Morris 13
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Macalester 21, at Lawrence 18
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at Monmouth 59, Illinois College 14
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at UW-Stevens Point 26, UW-Eau Claire 3
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Case Western Reserve 63, at Thiel 28
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at Wooster 38, Oberlin 28
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Texas Lutheran 41, at East Texas Baptist 34
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at UW-Stout 21, UW-River Falls 16
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UW-Oshkosh 28, at UW-Platteville 14
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Sewanee 34, at Birmingham-Southern 13
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at Hope 22, Adrian 3
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Linfield 49, at Lewis and Clark 14
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Cancelled
La Verne at Occidental
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Whitworth 17, at Pacific Lutheran 14
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at Cal Lutheran 42, Claremont-Mudd-Scripps 20
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at George Fox 58, Willamette 12
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at Pacific 35, Puget Sound 27
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Pomona-Pitzer 45, at Whittier 23
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at Western Connecticut 28, Massachusetts Maritime 21
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at St. Scholastica 56, Martin Luther 21
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Final - 5OT
at St. John Fisher 39, Utica 36
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Final - OT
at Heidelberg 48, Otterbein 45
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at Shenandoah 38, Bridgewater 20
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Southwestern 60, at Belhaven 31
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Hardin-Simmons 35, at Sul Ross State 10
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at Louisiana College 52, McMurry 34
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at Simpson 38, Luther 17
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at Chapman 45, Redlands 26
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Oct. 16: All times Eastern
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at Wheaton (Ill.) 42, North Central (Ill.) 20
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Oct. 14: All times Eastern
Final
at Delaware Valley 49, King's 14
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Final - OT
at Cortland 20, Alfred 17
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Final
at Wesley 29, Kean 9
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Final
Frostburg State 59, at William Paterson 7
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Final
at Wittenberg 49, Allegheny 15
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Final
at Brockport 48, Morrisville State 7
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Final
Washington and Jefferson 49, at Bethany 14
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Final
Ohio Wesleyan 16, at Wabash 13
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Final
at Mount Union 72, Capital 14
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Final
at Wartburg 42, Loras 11
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Final
at Berry 34, Hendrix 10
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Final
Springfield 35, at Merchant Marine 13
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Final
at Mary Hardin-Baylor 65, Howard Payne 0
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Final
St. John's 35, at Carleton 0
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at Illinois Wesleyan 30, Carroll 0
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Concordia-Moorhead 45, at Hamline 0
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Final
Case Western Reserve 63, at Thiel 28
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Final
UW-Oshkosh 28, at UW-Platteville 14
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Final
Linfield 49, at Lewis and Clark 14
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at George Fox 58, Willamette 12
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Final
Hardin-Simmons 35, at Sul Ross State 10
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Oct. 16: All times Eastern
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at Wheaton (Ill.) 42, North Central (Ill.) 20
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