September 29, 2012

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.

Sep. 23: All times Eastern
Final
at Bridgewater State 34, Fitchburg State 25
Box Score
Sep. 24: All times Eastern
Final
Christopher Newport 17, at TCNJ 0
Final
at Hobart 27, Union 23
Box Score Recap
Final
at Thomas More 20, Carnegie Mellon 16
Box Score Recap
Final
at Massachusetts Maritime 32, Worcester State 14
Box Score Recap
Final
at Endicott 37, Nichols 0
Box Score
Final
MIT 30, at Maine Maritime 13
Box Score
Final
at Buffalo State 40, Morrisville State 24
Box Score Recap
Final
at Salve Regina 48, Coast Guard 10
Box Score
Final
St. Lawrence 20, at RPI 14
Box Score Recap
Final
at Framingham State 23, Western Connecticut 17
Box Score
Final
at Montclair State 21, Rowan 14
Box Score
Final
at Stevenson 54, FDU-Florham 15
Box Score Recap
Final
at Trinity (Conn.) 38, Bates 7
Box Score Recap Photos
Final
at Western New England 59, Curry 28
Box Score
Final
at Utica 24, Cortland 13
Box Score Recap Recap
Final
Colby 9, at Williams 7
Box Score Photos
Final
at Middlebury 40, Bowdoin 3
Box Score
Final
at Amherst 34, Hamilton 0
Box Score
Final
Kean 24, at William Paterson 13
Box Score Recap
Final
at DePauw 66, Hiram 17
Box Score Recap
Final
Franklin and Marshall 45, at Juniata 22
Box Score
Final
at Kenyon 31, Allegheny 7
Box Score
Final
Salisbury 35, at Southern Virginia 0
Box Score
Final
Albright 20, at Delaware Valley 17
Box Score Recap
Final
Lycoming 28, at Misericordia 24
Box Score
Final
at Plymouth State 30, Mass-Dartmouth 14
Box Score
Final
at Husson 35, Alfred State 0
Box Score
Final
at Springfield 28, WPI 23
Box Score Recap
Final
at Moravian 24, Dickinson 10
Box Score Recap Photos
Final
at Denison 45, Wooster 7
Box Score Recap Photos
Final
at Wittenberg 24, Wabash 14
Box Score
Final
at St. Vincent 57, Grove City 32
Box Score Recap
Final
at Susquehanna 55, Gettysburg 40
Box Score Recap Photos
Final
at King's 21, Lebanon Valley 17
Box Score Recap
Final
at Alfred 20, Ithaca 6
Box Score Recap
Final
at Widener 25, Wilkes 23
Final
at McDaniel 30, Ursinus 27
Box Score Recap
Final
at Muskingum 28, Marietta 10
Box Score Photos
Final
at Minnesota-Morris 28, Iowa Wesleyan 27
Final
at John Carroll 42, Heidelberg 14
Box Score
Final
Ohio Northern 16, at Otterbein 10
Box Score Photos
Final
Case Western Reserve 35, at Waynesburg 7
Box Score
Final
at Franklin 44, Bluffton 38
Box Score Recap
Final
Rose-Hulman 23, at Defiance 15
Box Score
Final
at Centre 49, Chicago 27
Box Score
Final
at Mount St. Joseph 38, Manchester 19
Box Score Recap
Final
Hanover 49, at Anderson 25
Box Score
Final
at Merchant Marine 55, Rochester 7
Box Score
Final
Johns Hopkins 30, at Muhlenberg 24
Box Score Recap
Final
Concordia-Chicago 42, at Maranatha Baptist 10
Box Score Photos
Final
Washington U. 36, at Birmingham-Southern 21
Box Score Recap Photos
Final
UW-Platteville 56, at Lakeland 0
Box Score
Final
at Northwestern (Minn.) 38, Martin Luther 20
Box Score
Final
at Eureka 28, MacMurray 13
Box Score
Final
at Westminster (Mo.) 35, Greenville 14
Box Score
Final
Dubuque 30, at Luther 17
Box Score Recap
Final
Monmouth 52, at Lake Forest 6
Box Score Photos
Final
St. Thomas 33, at St. John's 21
Box Score Recap Photos
Final
at Augsburg 49, Carleton 17
Box Score Photos
Final
Bethel 44, at St. Olaf 7
Box Score
Final
at Hamline 42, Gustavus Adolphus 40
Box Score Recap
Final
at UW-Whitewater 35, Morningside 21
Box Score Recap
Final
at Hardin-Simmons 48, Texas Lutheran 38
Box Score Photos
Final
at UW-River Falls 42, Southwestern 22
Box Score
Final
Simpson 17, at Buena Vista 9
Box Score
Final
at St. Scholastica 49, Crown 13
Box Score Recap
Final
Cornell 46, at Beloit 41
Box Score
Final
at Carthage 27, Augustana 24
Final
Coe 48, at Nebraska Wesleyan 17
Box Score Recap
Final
at Wartburg 56, Finlandia 0
Box Score
Final
at Wheaton (Ill.) 10, Elmhurst 6
Final
Hendrix 42, at Millsaps 14
Box Score
Final
Illinois Wesleyan 45, at North Park 10
Final
at Macalester 34, Grinnell 0
Box Score
Final
at Ripon 33, Knox 19
Final
Illinois College 40, at Lawrence 15
Final
UW-Oshkosh 77, at Morthland College (Ill.) 0
Box Score
Final
Central 42, at Loras 34
Box Score Recap
Final
at Geneva 35, Thiel 27
Final
UW-Eau Claire 40, at Wisconsin Lutheran 14
Box Score
Final
St. John Fisher 42, at Brockport 38
Box Score Recap
Final
UW-Stevens Point 44, at Adrian 19
Box Score
Final
UW-La Crosse 41, at Carroll 7
Box Score Recap Photos
Final
at Berry 41, Sewanee 3
Box Score Recap Recap
Final
Westminster (Pa.) 38, at Bethany 9
Final
Ohio Wesleyan 29, at Oberlin 16
Box Score
Final
at Tufts 17, Wesleyan 14
Box Score Recap Photos
Final
Mount Union 49, at Baldwin Wallace 7
Box Score Recap
Final
at Capital 35, Wilmington 21
Box Score
Final
at Southwestern Assemblies 23, Austin 17
Photos
Cancelled
Langston at McMurry
Video Live Stats
Final
at North Central (Ill.) 42, Millikin 7
Box Score Recap
Final
at Chapman 19, Trinity (Texas) 17
Box Score Recap
Sep. 24: All times Eastern
Final
at Thomas More 20, Carnegie Mellon 16
Box Score Recap
Final
at Hobart 27, Union 23
Box Score Recap
Final
Christopher Newport 17, at TCNJ 0
Final
at Wittenberg 24, Wabash 14
Box Score
Final
Salisbury 35, at Southern Virginia 0
Box Score
Final
Albright 20, at Delaware Valley 17
Box Score Recap
Final
at Utica 24, Cortland 13
Box Score Recap Recap
Final
at Stevenson 54, FDU-Florham 15
Box Score Recap
Final
at Franklin 44, Bluffton 38
Box Score Recap
Final
Johns Hopkins 30, at Muhlenberg 24
Box Score Recap
Final
St. Thomas 33, at St. John's 21
Box Score Recap Photos
Final
at UW-Whitewater 35, Morningside 21
Box Score Recap
Final
at Hardin-Simmons 48, Texas Lutheran 38
Box Score Photos
Final
at Wheaton (Ill.) 10, Elmhurst 6
Final
UW-Platteville 56, at Lakeland 0
Box Score
Final
UW-Oshkosh 77, at Morthland College (Ill.) 0
Box Score
Final
Central 42, at Loras 34
Box Score Recap
Final
St. John Fisher 42, at Brockport 38
Box Score Recap
Final
Mount Union 49, at Baldwin Wallace 7
Box Score Recap
Final
at North Central (Ill.) 42, Millikin 7
Box Score Recap